Lightfoot has received a £1 million Innovation Loan from Innovate UK, the Government’s innovation agency, to develop its technology and driver rewards platform towards a consumer launch later this year.
The Lightfoot device helps users maintain a smoother driving style, enabling them to stay within the engine’s efficiency sweet spot. It also incentivises drivers by offering them access to a rewards platform which provides a range of discounts, perks and giveaways via its mobile app.
By warning drivers in real-time when they stray outside of this sweet spot, the device increases fuel efficiency, reduces fuel costs and mitigates environmental impact, says Lightfoot.
The funding, from Innovate UK’s two-year Innovation Loans programme pilot, enables companies to apply for low interest loans on a competitive basis to scale up their proven new technologies and business models. Up to £50m is available through the scheme.
The loan will be used by Lightfoot to further develop its connected car technology before being launched to consumers in Autumn 2018.
The consumer launch will see Lightfoot users offered a wider range of functionality. This will include superior intelligence about the car including tax records, service alerts, vehicle valuations, mileage reporting and vehicle health alerts.
Lightfoot CEO Mark Roberts (picttured), said: “We’re proud to be the first recipient of an Innovate UK Innovation Loan and it comes at a hugely exciting period of growth and expansion for the company.
“Lightfoot has already proven to be a huge success in the UK fleet market and this loan will help us launch the consumer proposition, scale the business and enter new countries.
“This new loan helps Lightfoot build on grants it has recently won from Innovate UK for R&D projects on car-to-car communication and its potential to be the link between autonomous and manually-driven vehicles. These developments will help to smooth the UK’s transition to self-driving cars.
“In the meantime, Lightfoot will continue to enable drivers to save money, save lives and save the planet through enabling and rewarding smoother driving.”
Innovate UK’s executive chairman, Dr Ruth McKernan, said: “Getting the right funding at the right time can be game changing for a business, to scale up its productivity and growth.
“Patient, flexible loans help innovations that are near to market, where there is less risk involved and we look forward to rolling out this scheme further. It is fantastic that Lightfoot has won one of these first loans.
“Now, innovative, ambitious businesses across the UK can see Lightfoot’s trailblazing work in Exeter and the opportunities that Innovation Loans offer and follow in its footsteps.”
Lightfoot is already a well-known name in the fleet sector where its technology and driver rewards platform has helped fleets reduce fuel consumption, improve accident rates and reduce environmental impact.
Insurance companies are also recording substantial reductions in accident rates and claims value among drivers that use Lightfoot.
Lightfoot’s discrete dashboard connects to the vehicle’s engine via its on-board diagnostics (OBD) port, constantly monitoring engine stress, driver input and mechanical input using Formula 1-style analytics.
It then provides drivers with feedback based on driver performance, which is visible on the mobile app.
The company will move to new purpose-built premises in Exeter later this year after its workforce recently doubled. Revenues have also doubled in the past twelve months, with 100% growth also expected next year.