Sustainable travel platform secures funding in race to net zero

Sustainable travel platform secures funding in race to net zero

Cash injection will help YST enhance its eco-algorithm and help reduce carbon emissions

Midlands-based travel demand management platform ‘You.Smart.Thing.’ (YST) has secured £1.2 million in funding, cementing its vision in the race to net zero.

The sizable investment will enable the company that addresses sustainable travel solutions for destinations, venues and live events, to enhance its proprietary ‘eco-algorithm’ and in doing so help local authorities reduce region-wide carbon emissions.

West Midland Co-Investment Fund (WMCO), which is managed by Midven, part of Future Planet Capital, was among the investors alongside business angels Giles Fearnley, ex-MD at First Bus, Will Phillipson ex-COO Citymapper, Jeremy Acklam of Venture Innovators; and Ecotricity, the renewable energy company and cornerstone of Green Britain Group, founded by climate change activist turned green-tech entrepreneur, Dale Vince. 

According to a recent State of Sustainability report, visitor travel accounts for ~73% of the total carbon footprint for live events globally. YST says that by capturing data on travel demand, modal choice, routes, and third-party emissions, it can enable venues to enhance logistics and security management, deliver contextually relevant marketing communications, and reduce the carbon footprint of visitor travel. 

The reporting gives venues clarity of both their travel demand and their third-party ‘scope 3’ emissions.

For visitors, the service can be tailored to offer bespoke routes and lower carbon modes of transport to specific destinations, venues, events, and performances. 

The company says this feature is a key aspect of its ability to ‘nudge’ visitors towards net-zero travel.

Empowering guests and venues to make greener decisions around event attendance will help address the UK live events industry’s ambitions to reach net zero by 2050. Venues that use YST has seen an average 30% decrease in CO 2 emissions.

“I led on the establishment of West Midlands Co-Investment Fund because SMEs are the lifeblood of our regional economy and it’s clear we must improve their access to finance to support their growth journey,” said Aanisah Begg, Head of Structuring at West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA).

“These local businesses will help continue our region’s recovery and I cannot wait to see them succeed. I’m delighted that ‘You. Smart. Thing.’ has become yet another business to benefit from this new fund, and I’m confident this investment will help the business reach more clients and build on the success it has already achieved.”

‘You. Smart. Thing.’ CEO Chris Thompson said the investment will assist the company in ‘revolutionising sustainable travel solutions whilst achieving positive environmental and economic impact’. 

“We look forward to leveraging Midven’s expertise and support as we continue to scale our operations,” he said.

In addition to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, ‘You. Smart. Thing.’ has worked with clients such as the Coventry City of Culture Trust, Transport for Greater Manchester, and the Rugby League World Cup.

Its new investors will act as YST’s advisory board.