In 2010 Hermann Hauser, co-founder of Amadeus Capital Partners, wrote a report calling for the UK Government to set up a network of technology and innovation centres. Hermann’s vision was for these centres to support high value areas of industry and deliver a step change in the UK’s ability to commercialise its research.
There are now nine Catapult Centres in the UK ranging from Cell and Gene Therapy to Satellite Applications. The Transport Systems Catapult, now part of the Connected Places Catapult, was started in Milton Keynes, the city of 130 roundabouts. This is where the four founders of Immense Simulations met and worked on transport modelling before spinning out the company in 2016. Through our investment in Improbable we were aware of Immense in the early days, as they were the first non-gaming users of Improbable’s SpatialOS platform. We’re now excited to have co-led their recent $4.6m Series A round alongside Japan’s Global Brain.
Immense is riding the wave of mobility and transportation disruption. We live in a world where cities are thinking hard about the long-term needs of their citizens. Planners are grappling with population growth, congestion, air quality, the shift to electric and autonomous vehicles and shared transport services. They’re seeking tools to gain insights from the data collected in their smart cities.
Immense’s simulations build a digital twin of a city starting from census data at the base and then layering in other sources including mapping, telecoms and growth statistics. City planners, national governments and service operators can then quickly run different scenarios to plan infrastructure developments or simulate services in a new geography. Planning and forecasting is only one side of the equation – the operational aspects of running a live service, such as controlling traffic flow following a car accident or allocating vehicles in a taxi service to particular Immense Simulations/ pick-ups, will be a key part of the company’s long-term success.
The team at Immense has a deep understanding of the transport modelling market and the pain points their simulations address. The founders Robin North, Eifion Jenkins, Carl Goves and Didac Busquets have all worked in the space for many years, ranging from Robin who was a Lecturer in Transport and Environment Systems at Imperial College London to Eifion who project managed the Olympic Route Network for the London 2012 Games. They have experienced the limitations of the incumbent tools in the market which are slow to build, cumbersome to operate and restricted in the level of output information.
Immense’s product is coming to a market at a time when there is real need for a better modelling solution. As data sources become more freely available the winners in this market will be those with the killer product that can run multiple simulations at once and allow any user, regardless of their level of professional training, to quickly get results. We believe Immense can be this winning company and deliver their solutions at scale to transit authorities, planners, mobility companies and fleet operators.