Student team Vennle wins business ideas competition for idea to improve public transport

A team of engineering students and recent graduates have won the University’s Business Ideas Competition for Engineering Students and Graduates with their idea to improve public transport using a ‘big data’ analytics platform.  

The Business Ideas Competition for Engineering Students and Graduates is run annually by the University’s commercialisation service, Edinburgh Innovations, and invites student to pitch their business ideas and win up to £1,000 to launch them. There are three divisions of the Business Ideas competition - general, engineering and social enterprise.

Student-led team Vennle is working on a ‘big data’ analytics platform aimed both at transport operators and users, which is designed to optimise public transport and help cities run more smoothly.

The team, which consists of Managing Director Jack Noble (fourth year MEng Electrical and Mechanical Engineering), Technical Director Daniel Carbonell (BEng Electrical and Mechanical Engineering, 2019) and Machine Learning Engineer Kornelija Sukyte (fourth year Cognitive Science BSc), have been working on the technology since they formed in 2018.

By analysing factors such as real-time traveller demand and vehicle availability, and nudging travellers towards less congested routes or vehicles, Vennle’s data platform seeks to optimise resources and connect travellers with more sustainable and socially beneficial forms of transport.  

Using Mobility as a Service (MaaS) software, Vennle proposes to address the current ‘supply and demand’ problem in a vast and highly complex transport system characterised by the under-use of public transport and inefficient private car use, which lead to congested roads, air pollution and health problems.

Ultimately the team is working on software tools which will allow operators to optimise their resources, ridership and margins to offer a better service for travellers. The service would also provide more accurate data and analytics to transport operators, city planners and governments, enabling improved transport decision and policy making.

Jack Noble commented: “We are delighted to have won the Business Ideas Competition and to share our progress with the University. This award will help towards development of our minimum viable product (MVP) for an exciting pilot Vennle is doing in 2020.”

The competition was funded by Engineers in Business Fellowship (EIBF) supported by Sainsbury Management Fellows.

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