A 17-year old young entrepreneur from Tonyrefail has debuted his mobile app which he designed to help prevent London Underground users missing their designated stop.
Dafydd Jones launched the ‘Doze’ app at an event at the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden on 10 October, which saw other entrepreneurs in attendance from the likes of online takeaway service Just Eat, equity crowdfunding platform Seedrs, mattress specialists, Simba, as well as representatives from Transport for London (TfL).
Doze works by notifying users that they need to get off, just before they reach their designated stops. Doze taps into existing Tube station Wi-Fi hotspots in order to accurately pin point its location underground. The free app is available to download on the iOS App Store now, with an Android version coming in 2018.
At the launch event, Dafydd explained that the inspiration for Doze came from his older brother who once fell asleep on the Tube and ended up at the end of the line, resulting in a £60 taxi fare home. In the wake of his brother’s experience, Dafydd utilised his technical ambition and entrepreneurial flare to create Doze, which upon activation is triggered just before it arrives at the users’ destination station, setting off an alarm advising users to get off.
During the development of the app, Dafydd tackled challenges such as limited GPS network access in the Underground, opting instead for the app to utilise existing Wi-Fi hotspots located in every Tube station. Dafydd has even worked closely with TfL to carefully locate each hotspot to ensure the app will run smoothly for users once they’re in transit.
Speaking at the launch, Dafydd said:
“Having always had a passion for tech, it’s been a dream of mine to create my own app for some time. I’ve really enjoyed the process of building the app and I’m so excited it’s now ready to be launched.
“I genuinely believe Doze could help thousands of commuters and tourists who want to relax on their journey, without the stress of potentially missing their stop.”
In the run up to the launch, Dafydd has been speaking with potential investors to help expand the Doze concept overseas with New York and Paris identified as key markets for Doze in the future.
However as Dafydd is only 17 years old, he isn’t yet old enough to access a business loan himself, so he has looked to other services to support his business development, and help discover future routes to finance.
While studying at The College Merthyr Tydfil, Dafydd met Entrepreneurship Champion, Christine Bissex, who has mentored Dafydd in developing his idea as part of Welsh Government’s commitment to encouraging entrepreneurship with students in Further Education and subsequently put him in touch with Big Ideas Wales.
Big Ideas Wales is part of the Welsh Government’s Business Wales Service to encourage youth entrepreneurship, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
The service has been instrumental in developing Dafydd’s commercial skills and acumen, with Dafydd regularly attending the various events they hold throughout the year. In fact, Dafydd will return to Big Ideas Wales’ Bootcamp to Business event next month, a three day residential boot camp at Margam Discovery Centre, which plays host to fifty young entrepreneurs with the aim of equipping them with the essential skills they need to help get business ready and grow their network of connections.
Dafydd attended the event in 2016 when he was in the process of developing the concept of Doze, gaining useful business advice from likeminded entrepreneurs in a series of challenging workshops over the course of the event.
Mark Adams at Big Ideas Wales has supported Dafydd since his attendance at the intensive Big Ideas Wales Bootcamp weekend. Dafydd has received support for the development of his business alongside the support he has received from Chris Bissex at Merthyr College.
He will attend in the role of a Young Ambassador, offering guidance to his peers who are in the same position as he was just one year ago.
Dafydd has also become a member of the Entrepreneurial Spark, the business accelerator for early stage and growing ventures powered by NatWest, which provides free support, mentoring, networking, and office accommodation. Dafydd is now located at NatWest’s 10th Entrepreneurial Spark hub at 1 Central Square in Cardiff.
“Now the app has officially launched, I’ll continue discussions with potential investors and work to expand Doze into overseas markets that I believe would benefit from its concept and to ensure that Doze provides the best public transport experience for its users.
“While the success of Doze is my main priority, I’m also using my experiences up to this point to help other young entrepreneurs, speaking at events focused on the tech sector and also engaging with other entrepreneurs to spread the message that anyone can follow their passion and fulfil their potential, even if you’re only 17!”
Applications for Bootcamp to Business at Margam Discovery Centre on 24-26 November close on 17th October. To apply go to: https://businesswales.gov.wales/bigideas/bootcamptobusiness
The Welsh Government’s Big Ideas Wales programme encourages and supports young people aged between 5 and 25 to develop entrepreneurial skills and start a business. Part of the Business Wales Service, it is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For more information, and to access support, visit – www.bigideas.wales