On-demand coach service Zeelo raises £1.2m seed – backed by Tlf board member

The travel start-up already works with the likes of Aston Villa, Man City and Wolves, giving fans a more convenient and direct route to away games

Zeelo, an on-demand AI-infused coach service, has raised £1.2m seed funding in an investment round led by InMotion Ventures – Jaguar Land Rover’s mobility venture arm.

While other backers included Travel Republic founder Kane Pirie, Yo! Sushi co-founder Simon Woodroffe, and TfL board member Michael Leibreich.

Founded in London in early 2017, Zeelo uses big data and machine learning to understand where surges in travel demand aren’t met by existing transport options.

This intelligence allows the company to provide direct coach routes, which it claims, cuts travel times by up to 40%.

Integrating with over 20,000 executive coaches across the UK, Zeelo also claims to have carried over 20,000 customers since launch with a focus on large events.

It plans to use the latest injection of cash to roll out its technology across different markets in the UK and Europe – including city-to-city travel and airports.

Alongside young entrepreneur and Startups blogger James Gupta, Zeelo co-founders Barney Williams, Sam Ryan and Dani Ruiz sold their previous start up JumpIn, a taxi booking and sharing app for students, to Addison Lee in 2014 while still at university.

Since February 2017, Zeelo has been working with numerous major football clubs such as Aston Villa, Man City and Wolves to give fans a more convenient and direct route to the games.

The start-up had previously raised pre-seed funding back in July 2017, as well as beating competition from over 200 other applicants to join InMotion Ventures's six-month accelerator programme alongside Miles, Dovu and Wluper.

Launched in April 2017, the London-based accelerator invests in seed to Series B stage firms developing mobility products and services.

Williams said:

“People want new, more convenient ways to travel between cities, to events and to work.

“Zeelo’s whole model is built around the needs of the customer: using data to understand their painful journeys.

“We’ve made a good start with major events, but now it’s about giving more people access to the Zeelo experience and replicating our technology across different markets.”

Ryan said:

“Now it’s about scaling up fast and showing exactly what Zeelo technology can do.

“Our platform allows specific communities to book seats on our data driven routes, whilst we’ll also cater for groups who want to go from A to B in a cost effective and hassle free manner. We need to remodel an £1.8bn industry that’s remained unchanged for far too long.”

Sebastian Peck, managing director of InMotion Ventures, said:

“An innovative concept, a talented team and a quickly growing business: Zeelo has everything we look for in a portfolio company. We're excited to continue working with them on building a best-in-class mobility service.”