Northern Irish startup, See.Sense is a connected cycling technology company at the heart of the rise of both the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities, as well as a growth in commuter cycling. The company’s products focus on reducing the barriers to cycling such as helping to make cyclists more visible on the road, as well as empowering cyclists to become part of the solution by collecting crowdsourced data to help create smart cities.
Their current product, developed by electronic and software engineer, Philip McAleese, is the ICON intelligent and connected cycle light. The light reacts to its environment, improving cyclist visibility at times of higher risk. Pairing with a smartphone, it provides additional features for the cyclist, including theft and crash alerts. It also collects highly accurate sensor data, over a wide range of environmental and behavioural variables, making it of substantial use to city planners.
The development of See.Sense initially came about in response to a problem See.Sense founder Philip McAleese faced daily as a cycle commuter. He was living in Singapore at the time with his wife and family, working as a Director for a large multinational investment bank. He had taken up cycling to work to keep fit, but found that cycling through the busy traffic in Singapore could be quite scary at times. Having previously been hospitalised following one collision on his bike, he started to think deeply about what he could do to improve his safety. Looking into the stats he discovered that nearly 80% of accidents involving cyclists actually occur in urban areas, in daylight, at road junctions and roundabouts. He realised that most cycle lights are simply not bright to be seen at these times, and the ones that are have a very poor battery life, or require a heavy external battery pack that is not suitable for the regular commuter. He knew he needed something to give him road presence during the commuting peak times of dawn and dusk, when most bike lights are not effective.
It was really from there that he looked at the sensor technology that was in smartphones and integrated it into See.Sense to create the first intelligent bike light. Philip said, “I wanted to create a light that was really attention-grabbing, even in daylight. Light performance is usually a trade-off between high brightness, long runtime and compactness. See.Sense uses power intelligently, enabling it to be bright when you need it and still have a long runtime in a small package”.
Philip was able to draw on his background in electronic and software engineering to come up with his idea. Prior to working banking, Philip had graduated from the Queen’s University of Belfast with a Bachelor of Engineering (Electronic and Software Engineering). Following University, Philip had spent two years designing air traffic control simulators for National Air Traffic Services (the UK equivalent of the Federal Aviation Administration).
What started off as a personal quest to make something that was more convenient for him as a commuter, has ended up with both Philip and his wife Irene leaving their successful corporate careers to focus on the development of the business. After two successful kickstarter campaigns to launch the idea, See.Sense has gone on to receive rave reviews from both customers and the media, be stocked with leading retailers and shipped to over 50 countries around the world, and recently picking up a distribution deal with Raleigh in the UK.
See.Sense has also now begun work with Milton Keynes as a result of winning a global competition run in conjunction with MK:Smart, Tech Hub and the Cabinet Office, to find the small to medium sized enterprise (SME) with best idea to make a difference to cities of the future. It was judged not only the overall winner of the BT Infinity Lab SME Awards for ‘Connected Cities’ competition but also the winner of the ‘Smart Cities’ category.
As the company prepares for further high growth, they are now raising equity funding via the crowdfunding platform, Crowdcube. The campaign is currently live at www.crowdcube.com/seesense.