Getting lost in Kilburn sparked inventor’s idea for new cycling gadget

Mark Jenner's idea for a navigation device has raised �60,000 since it launched on Kickstarter last

Mark Jenner's idea for a navigation device has raised �60,000 since it launched on Kickstarter last week - Credit: Archant

An inventor and cycling enthusiast has explained how getting lost in Kilburn sparked the idea for a ‘cycling compass’ which raised more than £60,000 of start-up backing when it launched on a crowd funding website last week.

Mr Jenner first had the idea for the BeeLine device when he found himself getting lost on the street

Mr Jenner first had the idea for the BeeLine device when he found himself getting lost on the streets of Kilburn - Credit: Archant

Mark Jenner, 30, came up with the idea for the BeeLine- a navigation device which helps cyclists get safely and flexibly around the city- while living in Kylemore Road two years ago.

Last week, following a six-month design and development project, BeeLine launched its bid for funding on crowd-funding site Kickstarter, raising its target of £60,000 in just three days with the help of more than 1,000 backers.

Mr Jenner, a former secondary school teacher and management consultant founded BeeLine with his business partner Tom Putnam in April this year.

He told the Times how cycling around Kilburn and West Hampstead inspired the idea for a device that allows cyclists to choose their own route and explore new places while still arriving safely and on time- a concept they have called ‘fuzzy navigation’.

Mr Jenner and his business partner Tom are now hoping to hit their next funding pledge of �100,000 t

Mr Jenner and his business partner Tom are now hoping to hit their next funding pledge of �100,000 to roll out BeeLine across the UK - Credit: Archant

The device is synced and controlled using a mobile phone app in the cyclist’s bag or pocket and has four week’s battery life before it needs to be recharged.

He said: “One of the things I love about north west London and Kilburn is how the old streets are windy, interconnected and unpredictable. The only problem is, this can lead you to easily lose your bearings.

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“When I first lived around the area, I liked to spend Sundays cycling around to find the hidden parks, churches as well as cafes sprouting up but often found I missed out on this when I was stopping and starting using conventional maps or GPS device to get somewhere.

“So I started developing a device that would efficiently get me from A to B while allowing me to adapt my own route. There was also a safety element to it, as it means you can travel fluidly and concentrate on the road rather than constantly looking for the next turning on your screen or a map.”

Mr Jenner is hoping his Kickstarter page, which is live until November 26, will raise enough pledges from investors and cycling enthusiasts to allow him to roll the gadget out to riders across the UK.

To keep up with the BeeLine kickstarter pledge tally or pledge your support click here.

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