Guest blog by startup SafeRails:

"Writing a business plan forces you to rethink your entire concept"

Startup SafeRails won the student prize in ImpactCity’s 2017 The Hague Innovators Challenge. With their innovative concept, students Roderick Buijs and Ward Kuiters aim to keep Dutch cyclists from getting stuck in the tram tracks while making their way through town. To this end, they are developing a unique fitted profile. In this guest contribution, they reflect on their journey towards a proof-of-concept.

Earlier this year, we won the student prize in the The Hague Innovators Challenge of 2017. With our concept to improve the safety of cyclists, the jury was convinced that we deserve a shot at working towards a proof-of-concept. In a city with a busy tram network, a solution would be very welcome. We are glad to check in with you and share our news.

Recent developments

We’re doing well, still focusing on our technical development and working towards a proof-of-concept. The technical development brought us many challenges and we are looking for options that lead to a lasting and sustainable solution. Very recently, we have come up with a new design that should be better capable of handling loads, regardless of the position of the tram wheel in the rails. Although we both have limited time, we try to get a step ahead every week.

The Hague Innovators Challenge

Directly after the contest, SafeRails had some interesting meetings with both infrastructure experts and railing companies. Receiving feedback and input from experts in the railing industry helps us to maximize the potential of the concept and adjust our design in the interest of end-users.

Options for possible pilot tests have already been discussed, although the product will not be ready for testing in the nearby future. Nonetheless, it’s been nice to share the commitment to improve the safety of cyclists and taste the enthusiasm of a possibly successful innovation.

New chapter

During the innovator contest, our time was mainly consumed by the deliverables for the contest. Writing a business plan that is clear, complete and convincing forces you to rethink the entire concept. This helped us a lot.

Nowadays, we focus on the development, which is our number one priority for the moment. Whilst we are both engineering students, the R&D track within SafeRails is a nice experience in which we learn a lot.

Interested to stay up-to-date on SafeRails’ journey? Keep an eye on their website and check back here for their latest.