- Google Analytics’ of physical spaces tracks anonymous movement data in real time
- New technical recruits will double the team, accelerating the development of the AI platform
- Development Bank of Wales leads pre-seed round for trio of Cardiff United alumni
A £780,000 ($1m) pre-seed capital investment in Cardiff-based AI software company Route Konnect is set to revolutionize the way the world understands the movements of people and vehicles, abolishing the need controversial facial recognition technology.
Led by the Development Bank of Wales, the investment round will support Route Konnect’s growth ambitions by doubling the team with key technical and commercial hires to bring the platform to market.
Described as the “Google Analytics” of physical spaces, Route Konnect is the first video analytics company to anonymously capture connected, multi-camera, vehicle and people movement information in any space, city or city defined. Highly accurate real-time data provides true end-to-end journey understanding, enabling more efficient traffic management, place creation and urban planning for smart cities and place management.
Based at The Tramshed, the company was founded by chief executive Mohamed Binesmael, software engineer Matteo De Rosa and chief technology officer Daniel Harborne, a software engineer who previously worked for Amazon.
The founders met while studying at Cardiff University in 2016 and have now secured their first pre-seed capital investment led by the Development Bank of Wales Technology Seed Fund with an investment additional from proptech VC Pi Labs, startup investors SFC Capital and a private angel. investors with the support of Plug and Play, which were the first investors in Dropbox and PayPal.
Co-founder and Managing Director Mohamed Binesmael said: “Our platform captures accurate, intelligent, real-time information about the movement of people and vehicles – without infringing on individual privacy – to enable management of the better and more efficient traffic, placemaking and urban management. planning across the cities and towns of the world. Whether it’s reducing wait times at traffic lights and easing congestion for access to emergency services, or improving the customer experience at stadiums and retail outlets, l he application of accurate and anonymous movement information has universal potential.
“We are delighted to gain the support of this incredible range of investors, which allows us to double the size of our team with new technical and operational recruits, including specialists in machine learning and analysis. With so much research and development already under our belt, we are ready to accelerate our ambitions to change the way the world understands the behavior of people and vehicles and to use smart data to save time, resources and reduce traffic. impact on the planet.
Matthew Wilde of the Development Bank of Wales’ Technology Business Team said: “Route Konnect has built on recently published techniques to break new ground by eliminating the need for facial recognition for multi-motion analysis. cameras. This capability unlocks powerful movement information across an entire location, without compromising privacy.
“It is an ethical solution that fills a large gap in the market with growing concerns over public safety, growing traffic congestion issues, supportive government initiatives for efficient traffic management, increasing adoption of environmentally friendly automotive technologies environment and the development of smart cities around the world. Better yet, it is being developed right here in Cardiff by a young and ambitious team, so this was a compelling opportunity for us as technology investors in the early stages of startup.
Hugo Silva, Senior Investment Manager at Pi Labs, said: “The future of transport and mobility is intrinsically linked to the evolution of the built environment, with AI solutions becoming an essential tool to meet regulations on emissions and congestion problems.
Additionally, Route Konnect’s platform goes even further than just transportation and can better inform developers, contractors and asset managers about the flow of people around their properties. Our investment in the company is in line with our belief in supporting the most innovative start-ups that are accelerating the trend towards smart cities and urban sustainability.
After inviting them to be part of our 2022 growth program, we are beyond excited to support Mohamed, Daniel and Matteo and our team is committed to helping them scale further and see Route Konnect’s solution widely deployed in the cities of the world.
The solution developed by Route Konnect uses a number of heuristics that allow robust matching of paths traveled by the same person or vehicle across multiple camera views. All the heuristics used are free of identifiable features and are therefore, on their own, much less powerful than facial recognition technology. However, when combined, these heuristics each provide clues to the path seen in one camera that may be associated with a path from another camera. The tests showed an accuracy rate of 98%.
Binesmael comments: “There is growing legal pushback in the UK and EU against the use of facial recognition technology, and GDPR adds to the challenges. Existing vehicle and transportation analytics platforms either use facial recognition technology or process data from cameras in individual locations in isolation, providing oversimplified vehicle counts or data that has been aggregated.
Route Konnect delivers the precision of a holistic approach, making critical data available to traffic managers, property owners and investors, and city planners to address the entire end-to-end customer journey to improve societal, environmental and economic impacts. .”
Since its launch, Route Konnect has devoted over a year to research and development, including participating in the Dubai Future Accelerators program, where the team was able to help Dubai Police explore options to improve traffic times. emergency intervention with smarty city solutions.
Meanwhile, a trial is currently underway with Cardiff City Council on the introduction of smart corridors to reduce traffic congestion, and as a result Route Konnect has been selected as one of 11 Welsh companies to take part in cohort two of Transport for Wales’ Lab Accelerator programme. A pilot test will begin soon to help identify opportunities to reduce wait times at platforms and better manage crowd control at special events.
Route Konnect also secured a £100,000 grant from Zenzic and was selected for its CAM scaling program which gives unique access to leading UK testbeds. Over the next few months, Route Konnect will develop its technology at the Midlands Future Mobility test environment for autonomous vehicles and the Smart Mobility Living Lab in London, as well as at Horiba Mira, an engineering and consulting test and consultancy site. automotive development in Nuneaton.
GS Verde advised the deal.