The operator of Midlands-based travel demand management platform You. Smart. Thing. (YST) has secured £1.2 million in funding from the West Midlands Co-Investment Fund (WMCO).

Used to encourage more sustainable travel at a wide variety of events including Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022, Rugby League World Cup and the Event Production Show, You. Smart. Thing. provides audience members with personalised low carbon travel plans via a virtual travel assistant interface. YST’s creators claim that venues that use the platform have seen an average 30% decrease in CO2 emissions.

The WMCO fund is managed by Midven, part of Future Planet Capital, which has invested alongside angel investors including Giles Fearnley, ex-MD at First Bus, Will Phillipson ex-COO Citymapper, Venture Innovators’ Jeremy Acklam, and green energy company Ecotricity. Its new investors will act as YST’s advisory board.

YST said visitor travel accounts for 73% of the total carbon footprint for live events globally, and that by capturing data on travel demand, modal choice, routes, and third-party emissions, the platform enables venues to enhance logistics and security management, deliver contextually relevant marketing communications, and reduce the carbon footprint of visitor travel.

It said the investment in YST will enable the company to enhance its proprietary “eco-algorithm” – helping local authorities reduce region-wide carbon emissions in line with socio-economic objectives. The funding is also expected to aid the company’s growth with key hires in marketing and finance, product management, and software engineering. The sales and marketing team will also be expanded to facilitate international growth and provide 24/7 customer support.

You. Smart. Thing. CEO Chris Thompson said, “This investment will propel our mission to revolutionise sustainable travel solutions whilst achieving positive environmental and economic impact. We look forward to leveraging Midven’s expertise and support as we continue to scale our operations.”

West Midlands Combined Authority head of structuring Aanisah Begg said, “I led on the establishment of West Midlands Co-Investment Fund because SMEs are the lifeblood of our regional economy and it’s clear we must improve their access to finance to support their growth journey.

“These local businesses will help continue our region’s recovery and I cannot wait to see them succeed. I’m delighted that ‘You. Smart. Thing.’ has become yet another business to benefit from this new fund, and I’m confident this investment will help the business reach more clients and build on the success it has already achieved.”