CitySwifter leveraged new technologies to fill a gap in the public transport sector. Here, Brian O’Rourke, Founder, outlines the company’s journey from early-stage start-up to HPSU, and how the Competitive Start Fund helped them take their product to market.

Brian O'Rourke and Alan Farrelly, Founders, CitySwifter
What we do

CitySwifter provides business intelligence tools to major public transportation companies, which enables them to optimise their urban bus networks by increasing the reliability, efficiency and demand for their services.


How we got started

Myself and my co-founder, Alan Farrelly identified a significant opportunity in the public transport space with the arrival of new technology services in the taxi industry that had gained massive traction worldwide.

With our unique skill sets in data and technology, and Alan’s domain knowledge, we knew that we could develop a product for public transport companies to take advantage of the new advances in technology and data science to improve the services they offered to passengers while increasing efficiencies. This market opportunity and our unique insight is what started CitySwifter.



The first of year of business is full of challenges, but for us, the key challenge was getting to a scalable product/market fit within the industry and pivoting to the correct strategy of B2B rather than B2C. The greatest challenge was achieving this with limited resources and funding.


Applying for CSF – why and how 

CSF was the boost we needed to help us become investor ready. Technically, we had functional and working prototypes, but we needed to develop to an ‘enterprise ready’ product, and we needed the resources to deliver for several major PLC reference customers in the UK who had expressed their desire to trial it or buy it.
With this in mind, CSF was instrumental in growing out early stage development team of software engineers and data scientists.


What advice would you give someone considering applying for the CSF?

CSF is a valuable resource if you have the potential to take your product global. In your application, reference your customers or potential customers outside of Ireland to illustrate this; it’s all about showing that you have, or will be able to get real, tangible and significant reference customers (and enough of them) that will allow your company to make sales. Once you start making sales and getting key contracts over the line, it will become much easier for your company to attract follow-on institutional funding and build a bigger client base.


Next steps for CitySwifter

Our short-term plans are to scale and grow in the UK with our existing and new PLC clients, which will require a doubling of our headcount in Galway over the next 12 months. We also intend to expand to the USA, European and Asian markets. 

Interested in applying for the Competitive Start Fund - All Sectors? Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply here.