Scottish start-up to connect green travellers with electric charge points and nature destinations

A new Scottish start-up is aiming to help tackle the climate crisis through a special digital atlas promoting low-carbon travel, eco-friendly accommodation and wildlife tourism.

Electrek Explorer has created an interactive navigation tool to help people explore Scotland’s nature reserves and scenic routes, while also providing information on charging points and hotels with provision for electric vehicles.

The atlas is currently being developed into an app called NatNav.

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Entrepreneur Elaine Ford has set up the new firm, with support from the Geovation Scotland Accelerator programme – a joint initiative between Registers of Scotland, Ordnance Survey and HM Land Registry.

Edinburgh-based entrepreneur Elaine Ford, who founded Electrek Explorer, says her novel navigation system can help travellers "recharge and reconnect in nature"

Earlier this year, Edinburgh-based Elaine was named as AccelerateHER’s Rising Star for 2021, which recognises a female company founder with a great early-stage business idea.

Her web-mapping platform brings together Scottish nature reserves guiding users who want to explore nature sites and find out what parts of Scotland’s land and sea are designated as protected areas.

They can also toggle information on electric charging points to help plan their “electrip”.

The new NatNav mobile app will also reveal hidden sites, scenic drives and cycle routes.

Scottish start-up Electrek Explorer has created an interactive navigation tool to help people explore Scotland’s nature reserves and scenic routes, while also providing information on charging points and hotels with provision for electric vehicles

The firm’s motto is: adventure that supports wildlife restoration is our passion.

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Its mission statement says: “We share a vision of a world with restored, biodiverse landscapes, but which integrate human activity as a part of nature.

“In this vision, to reduce impact, people are using low-carbon vehicles and supporting a dynamic rural economy growing on the basis of restored natural capital.”

Electrek Explorer is one of three companies that have recently completed the year-long Geovation Scotland scheme, which has now reopened for applications.

Kenny Crawford, business development director at Registers of Scotland, said: “Geovation Scotland supports some of our country’s brightest innovators in finding new ways for our data to be used to deliver economic and social benefits.

“This includes helping to tackle the climate emergency.

“We are delighted to see this latest cohort of entrepreneurs having thrived over the past year and hope that being part of Geovation Scotland has provided them with the support they need to continue to grow their businesses, and ultimately play their part in supporting the wider Scottish economy.”

You don’t even need to own an electric vehicle to make use of the nature atlas.

Electrek Explorer also shares EV and bike hire locations and, for those explorers who like to go off-grid, solar-power adventure solutions, including tips for eco van travel and camping.

It aims “to connect carbon-conscious explorers with nature sites through road trips, trails and activities”.

Commenting on the support she has received from the business scheme, Electrek Explorer’s Elaine Ford said: “Financial modelling, pitching, and policy have all been super-useful.

“As well as valuable UX and UI support throughout the accelerator.

“The support from the full team along the journey has been fantastic.”

Geovation Scotland, was launched in 2019, and supports Scottish-based location and property technology start-ups.

It offers the companies involved access to a wealth of data, mentoring and resources as well as grant funding to develop their businesses.

The programme also supports the Scottish economy with year one having seen the companies involved raising more than £400,000 of additional funding, £100,000 of investment and creating 15 full-time jobs.

The two other entrepreneurs having completed the programme in the past year are: Zishan Ashraf, founder of Homey – a pre-sale property renovation company allowing homeowners to renovate, sell their property for more money and then pay for the renovations when the sale completes; and James Cooper, founder of Impactful – a guide to local food scenes with a focus on sustainability, connecting independent producers and grocers to make it easy to shop local with one payment and checkout.

Applications for new start-ups looking to join the programme are open until 30 August 2021.

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