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An Inspirational Story. Enabling Wages & Work Travel: RideTandem

Imagine the all-too-familiar Monday morning scenario: you embark on a daily one-hour drive to work, spending money on petrol and parking, only to arrive exhausted. The workday drains your energy, and the thought of the return drive home looms over you, consuming more fuel and leaving you even more fatigued. Sadly, this reality is a common experience for many, especially those lacking access to efficient public transportation.

In the midst of rising living costs and environmental crises, the need to unclog our roads and facilitate seamless travel to work becomes paramount. Enter RideTandem, a revolutionary idea backed by two powerhouses, 1818 Ventures and Ascension VC.

RideTandem is not just a solution; it's a game-changer. It streamlines organizational use of work shuttles, providing employers with a practical means to offer efficient transportation to employees, simultaneously cutting down on their carbon footprint.

This isn't merely about shared rides; it's about transforming the very fabric of commuting, making cities and communities more livable for everyone. RideTandem isn't just a ride; it's a pathway to a sustainable, stress-free, and interconnected future. As we navigate the challenges of our modern world, RideTandem stands as a beacon of change, driving us toward cities and communities that work better for us all.

Written by: Tanay Sonawane, Varshith Uppalapati and Jonathan Ouyang



In 2019, Alex Shapland-Howes identified a significant but often overlooked problem – transport poverty. This challenge affected people in various regions, limiting their essential journeys due to expensive and scarce transportation options. Recognizing the severity of the issue, Shapland-Howes founded Ride Tandem, aiming to transform local services into shared shuttles using technology. This creative approach addresses transport poverty, especially in areas with limited public transportation. With a global cost of living crisis raging, RideTandem really provides a solution which directly reduces significant costs on individuals travelling to and from work.

Ride Tandem's mission goes beyond rural areas, extending to major cities. The company is committed to finding innovative solutions to bridge the transportation gap. Recently honoured as the "Most Innovative Ground Passenger Transportation Software Company 2023 - UK," Ride Tandem's dedication to pioneering smart solutions is evident. This award acknowledges their efforts in combating transport poverty through innovative means.

Since its establishment in 2019, Ride Tandem has facilitated over a million journeys and contributed £50 million in wages. This showcases the company's substantial impact on both transportation and economic empowerment. Beyond catering to commuters, Ride Tandem has expanded its services to students, exemplifying its commitment to reshaping commuting norms and fostering fairness for everyone, particularly those grappling with transport poverty in the UK.


Leading the charge is Alex Shapland-Howes, the Co-Founder and CEO at Ride Tandem with a mission to eliminate transportation as a hindrance to employment, healthcare, education, and social connections.

Before embarking on his academic journey at Oxford, Alex played a pivotal role in expanding the reach of the UK education charity Future First. Transitioning from a London-based organisation with 14 partner schools, he steered its growth to encompass 10% of all secondary schools nationwide. Prior to his leadership role at Future First, Alex dedicated several years to teaching Maths and Politics in London schools, where he held positions as Head of Department and Head of Year.

Post-MBA, Alex assumed the role of Director of Operations at Place2Be, a leading children's mental health charity in the UK. His commitment to social impact extends beyond this role, evident in his service as a trustee of Teach First, a school governor in Newham, and a board member of the social enterprise, the Skills Builder Partnership. Armed with a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE) from Warwick, Alex Shapland-Howes brings a wealth of experience and dedication to the transformative mission of Tandem.

Tatseng Chiam is another co-founder and COO of the firm. He has had a phenomenal educational background, taking him from Sevenoaks, to Oxford where he read PPE, Wharton and then the Kennedy School at Harvard where he read his MPA. He has worked for Monitor Group, The Global Innovation Fund and was a M2 founder at Zinc VC. His experience and education has meant he has been gifted with strong operational knowledge and an ability to tackle the challenges that RideTandem might be facing.

Huw Mcleod also co-founded the company and is the CTO. He has had experience as a developer at Commonwealth bank and as an M2 founder at Zinc VC. His development experience and experience as CTO of Hireup really means that he has the skillset to lead the firms technological growth and the refining of its product.


RideTandem’s primary objective is to transform transportation services such as taxis, minibuses, and coach fleets into smart, shared shuttles. They are aiming to become a leading provider of shared transportation services that caters to the needs of small cities and communities where traditional methods of transportation may be limited.

To achieve this, RideTandem offers an easy-to-use application that enables individuals to book and pay for their seats, helping passengers to travel to work and to school, as well as other destinations.

Lets say you are an employer who wishes to ease the transport of your employees to your workplace. Through the RideTandem app you are able to book, and organise a full route for individuals needing such transport. This allows you to effortlessly track where your transport is going, how many need transport, and effectively allows you to monitor the costs of transporting your employees. This not just reduces your cost of using multiple monitoring services, but also reduces your firms carbon footprint by streamlining your employee transport procedures.

RideTandem is mainly aiming their service at the following target markets:

  1. Agencies

  2. Employers

  3. Local Authorities

  4. Educational Institutions


RideTandem faces a small pool of competitors. Accoridng to analytics RideTadem ranks 2nd in a pool among 7 competitors, 4 of whom are active competitors. LVCN’s further research demonstrates that out of the 4 active competitors, only 2 pose significant competition against RideTandem.

Zeelo was founded in 2016, and is a UK-based travel company that offers pop-up services, using AI to predict demand and identify routes. In short, it is a company that developed a smart bus platform which provides bus operators, employers and schools access to private buses and shuttle transport programs.

The company is currently in its Series A stage and has raised a total of $33.85M, with $14M being raised in the latest round in August 2023. In comparison, RideTandem raised $2.83M in its latest round in July 2023, and has raised around $5.7M in total. In comparing the two start-ups, we observe Zeelo holding an advantage in take up & utilisation, while RideTandem enjoys better staff retention.

BusUp was also founded in 2016, based in Barcelona, Spain. Albeit originating from a different country, we should not exclude the possibility of its services penetrating into the UK market. In short, the start-up provides bus commuter management solutions for a corporate target market. Since founding in 2016, the company has raised a total of $6M, all of it being raised in November 2021.

To sum up, it is evident that RideTandem faces a relatively small pool of competitors. Out of the 2 key competitors, Zeelo is a comparatively stronger competitor, with BusUp being a similar size to RideTandem, albeit originating from a different location. Analytics has given RideTandem an excellent growth score of 88/100. As such, if RideTandem is able to leverage its resources well, it holds a promising and exciting prospect.


RideTandem isn't just a service; it's a transformative force poised to address transport poverty and confront our pressing environmental challenges, particularly in the bustling landscapes of urban areas. Our ground-breaking idea, when executed on a large scale, has the power to revolutionize the daily commute for countless individuals.

Envision a future where RideTandem isn't merely an option but the go-to solution, fundamentally altering the way people travel. We anticipate that RideTandem will emerge as a vital service, playing a pivotal role in eradicating congestion from our roads and significantly slashing carbon emissions.

This isn't just about shared rides; it's a vision for a more sustainable and connected world. RideTandem aspires to be a key player in reshaping urban transportation, providing a genuinely beneficial service that transcends individual commuting hassles, ultimately contributing to a cleaner, more efficient, and environmentally conscious society. Get ready for a paradigm shift in the way we move, with RideTandem leading the charge towards a future of smarter, greener commuting.

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