Mobility-as-a-service startup RideTandem has raised £2.3 million in new funding. 

The company  works with local taxi, minicab and coach companies to provide shared commuter services for employers whose staff would otherwise be unable to work because of the cost, inconvenience or complete absence of existing public transport options. 

RideTandem, 14th on our TransportTech 50 ranking late last year, says its services have enabled passengers to earn more than £40 million in wages since the company launched in Q4 2019 by unlocking otherwise inaccessible jobs.

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RideTandem operates outside of cities and large towns, in areas across the UK where the problem of transport poverty has the strongest economic and social effects. Recently-acquired customers include DPD – already seeing a 50% reduction in per-passenger transportation costs and a 38% reduction in the total cost of its employee transport provision despite a 28% increase in uptake – Lidl and Next, with long-term partners including  Royal Mail, Direct Table Foods, and staffing agencies First Call Contract Services, and Everest People Solutions.

The round was led by Blackfinch Ventures and included participation from other new investors FirstMonday VC and Rainmaking Impact, as well as additional backers through Seedrs. Existing investors 1818 Venture Capital, Ascension, and Low Carbon Innovation Fund also followed on. 

“Even before the cost-of-living crisis hit, public transport outside of big cities was broken – expensive, unreliable, or simply not there for people who need it,” said co-founder and CEO Alex Shapland-Howes. 

“Almost 5,000 bus services – more than one in four – were axed between 2012 and 2022. Many that remain, especially outside cities and large towns, are under threat from the recent end of the Bus Recovery Grant. 

“Too many people are left with a stark choice – car ownership, which is itself increasingly prohibitively expensive, or simply not working. That’s not right – it’s not good for individuals and their families, and their social mobility and mental health, or for communities more broadly, and it’s not good for the economy.”

The new investment – which follows the seed round raised in May 2022 and brings the total raised by RideTandem to date to £5m – follows 3.5x year-on-year growth in 2022, with the company on course to both achieve £1m ARR and launch its first services outside the UK later this year.

“It’s been an incredible year of growth for us, serving new customers, putting on routes in a wider range of regions across the UK, and moving into white-collar use cases alongside our core blue-collar business,” added Shapland-Howes. 

“We’re proud of the impact we’re making for our passengers and partners.”

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RideTandem’s proprietary dispatch system includes driver and fleet management features and a driver app, and the company also works flexibly with transport partners to integrate with their existing systems. 

It also provides fully-managed customer service with 24/7 availability, and support for digital ticketing, which many transport partners are using for the first time. Employers benefit from a dashboard showing – among other data – attendance, allowing them to adjust shifts accordingly.

Passengers use a mobile app offering live location for vehicle tracking, easy block-booking, and flexibility about when payments are taken – the latter two being features missing from most ride-hailing and mobility apps but critical for low-income workers.

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