Bicycle Startup Blaze Pulls In Investment From Index Ventures And Sir Richard Branson

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London-based Blaze has officially launched it’s innovative front bike light with a laser projection, and starts shipping worldwide at the end of this month. The Laserlight is the first of its kind, and was a finalist at the TechCrunch Hardware Battlefield at CES earlier this year. Blaze has also announced that it has raised $500,000 in seed funding from Index Ventures and the Branson family – as in Sir Richard Branson. Founder Emily Brooke says she is planning to develop Blaze as a full-blown cycling brand, built around what she calls the “urban cycling” market. I must say it’s been a fascinating journey watching this genuinely original product come to market.

Designed to tackle the primary cause of cycling accidents – vehicles turning into the path of an unseen bicycle – the Blaze Laserlight projects the image of a bike 5-6 metres onto the road ahead. It’s available to order worldwide today on the Blaze website, shipping starts on February 26.

Brooke worked with cyclists, statisticians, the Brighton & Hove Council and Bus Company and driving psychologist Dr. Graham Hole to understand the threat to cyclists, before coming up with the Laserlight, which was backed via a Kickstarter campaign .

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“Cycling is booming – over half a million journeys are made by bike in London every day,” says Brooke,”But this year in London alone, there have already been a 14 fatalities.” She hopes her invention can help prevent at least some future fatalities from ever happening.

Holly and Sam Branson – the daughter and son of Sir Richard – were quoted in a statement saying “We see a huge amount of potential in Blaze as an urban cycling brand and so we wanted to get involved.”

The Blaze Laserlight has a powerful laser diode robust enough to withstand road vibrations and is waterproof.

Hardware Battlefield presentation