/ Speakers / Nicholas Russell

Nicholas Russell

Nicholas Russell

Entrepreneur-In-Residence, UCL Engineering/ConceptionX.org, England



Nicholas Russell is currently Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Conception X, a University of College London Engineering department programme that creates new science and technology companies. Russell also advises Gyana, an artificial intelligence company spun out of the University of Oxford.

Russell has advised multinationals and start-ups across sectors including energy, finance, FMCG, manufacturing, media, real estate, and transport. From $1M seed capital raises to $100M projects with multinationals like Barclays, Louis Vuitton, Shell, and Unilever, Russell believes the transformative story of digital technology in business and society has just begun.

Russell’s thesis is that the foundations for digital innovation have now been laid in China, Europe, and the US. The challenges are climate change, demographics, sustainability, and urbanisation. The opportunities are artificial intelligence, capital investment, data, and entrepreneurship.

Russell holds an MBA from University of Oxford. Russell’s work has been covered by the BBC, CCTV, the Financial Times, and the global technology press. He has lectured on technology at the European Parliament, Houses of Parliament, Imperial Colleague, University of Oxford, and University College London.


This talk covers a new taxonomy for the bicycle industry, how technology and urban transport policy drive new product categories, and what this means for today’s deep and entrenched supply chains.

The old model of bicycle manufacturing offered overlapping products to transportation, fitness, and leisure markets. In the new model, those are three distinct product categories. As bicycles become cornerstones of urban mobility and policy, markets expand and new competitors and substitutes enter.

In the old taxonomy, bicycles were human-powered machines people owned. The new taxonomy is based on use-cases. Shared bicycles. Electric bicycles. Shared electric scooters. While bike sharing exhibits super-linear growth, bicycle sales in major markets show incremental growth. As cities shift away from cars to multi-modal public transport, bicycle sharing dominants new ridership.

Venture capital is investing billions of dollars into “last-mile” urban mobility products. While miles travelled by bicycle continues to grow, bicycle shops close and the distribution channels consolidate.

Can existing solutions / supply chains serve coming demand?

The existing supply chain competes on mostly on low-cost production and somewhat on innovation. Now, companies like Uber and Ford buy into scooter and other electric urban mobility companies.

Where does it leave existing incumbents as consumers increasingly buy last-mile urban transport from new entrants from the automotive and software industries?

In markets where the known bicycle has strong footholds, technology increases its footprint. Whether robotic production of bespoke frames, or data capture in usage, how is technology going to reshape supply chains?