Competitions, awards and Kickstarters - momentum building around See.Sense

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  • Newtownards-based startup See.Sense is riding high at the moment.

    Ten days ago the team successfully completed a Kickstarter which saw almost 4,000 people pledge £183,291 to get See.Sense’s new connected ACE bike light, making it the most backed bike light on kickstarter ever.A few days later co-founder Irene McAleese won the Best Small Business award at Women in Business whilst last week saw the team spread across events in Belfast, London, Barcelona and LA.

    Launched in 2013, See.Sense is a cycling technology and data company that develops connected cycling technology products to improve the safety of urban cycling.

    The company’s products - ICON and ACE - provide crowdsourced data for cities that includes road surface monitoring, accident and near-miss events, helping both cyclists and cities make better decisions.

    When we catch up with Irene she’s travelling home from Dublin after a meeting with the Smart Dublin team regarding their smart city pilot in the city.

    The See.Sense team is excited about making the finals of the LA New Mobility Challenge - a global startup competition organised by the NewCities Foundation and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI). The competition aims to identify “the most innovative zero-emissions transportation technologies, smart infrastructure, and shared mobility solutions” within urban transportation.

    Irene McAleese said they were “really proud to make it onto a predominantly US shortlist”.

    “When you look at the tech that the other teams are producing and the level of advancement of these companies, we're really flattered to be listed,” she says.

    “The calibre of people and companies in the finalists is extremely high, so it’s a really nice buzz to be included in that.”

    Whittled down from more than 100 entries, See.Sense is among 15 finalists hailing from the US, Canada, Spain and the UK. The company is in the Smart Infrastructure category alongside a San Francisco-based software provider which measures transit system performance, and an AI system from Pittsburgh which collects data on roads infrastructure.

    According to Irene: “I think the thing that appealed to the NewCities Foundation is the potential for See.Sense to scale an idea and grow it. See.Sense has demonstrated real traction and we have active data collection trials in Belfast, Dublin and Manchester. So they will see our ambition and our appetite for working with data that can be used for smart cities.”

    John Rossant, Chairman of the NewCities Foundation and Chief Curator at LA CoMotion says the success of the world’s greatest cities “will be measured by how well people and goods move from one place to another”.

    “The finalists of the LA New Mobility Challenge represent some of the brightest leaders at the cutting edge of new mobility,” he says.

    Husband and co-founder Philip is travelling to LA for the finals competition where he will deliver two five-minute pitches to a high-level jury and an audience comprising senior executives, Smart City planners and elected officials from around the globe.

    “As a Northern Irish company, LA CoMotion gives us a platform to talk to the rest of the world about what we’re doing,” she says. “We are planning to expand into US markets so this awards program has been very useful for us.”

    The winner - which will be revealed on Friday - receives $15,000 prize money and the opportunity to receive mentorship, skills development, and market entry assistance from LACI’s Executives-in-Residence (EIR) team.

    Irene also appeared at the Smart Cities Expo World Congress on Wednesday of this week and talked about how to encourage more cyclists in the city by having better data for design of safe infrastructure. See.Sense Data Scientist, Dr Michael Taylor presented at Lux Live on the same day, about the company's innovative IoT bike light trial in Manchester, and Smart City Project Lead, Fearghal Campbell presented at the AGI (Association for Geographic Information) in Belfast on Thursday. 

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