MARKED Wayfinding System | Our first 6 months in the Geovation Scotland accelerator

Members of MARKED Wayfinding System


One of our startups on our current cohort, MARKED Wayfinding System, tells us how they’ve found their first six months in the Geovation Scotland accelerator programme.

Who we are

At Orchy, we’re driven by a mission to bring innovative, socially, and environmentally impactful products to market. 

We used to go by Architect’s Hand, a great name when you have the 10 minutes to explain it, but decided to switch things up to something less confusing for a company that doesn’t do Architecture… and change to something more obscure, Orchy (named after Bridge of Orchy the halfway point on the West Highland Way were we decided to work together). 

As you’ll have read in our meet the founder blog, our flagship product, The MARKED Wayfinding System, is a holistic and intuitive cycling navigation tool that we hope will transform urban cycling perceptions, fostering behavioural change for its wider adoption.  

Our innovative wayfinding approach: 

  • Optimises the use of cycling infrastructure, highlighting protected and quiet routes. 
  • Encourages behavioural change by shifting the perception of cycling from dangerous to accessible and inviting for everyone. 
  • Clearly conveys the Local Authority’s cycling network and vision to residents, empowering more people to live sustainably. 
  • Boosts safety by minimising conflicts between transport modes 

Our founding journey

I, Mark, have a degree in Civil Engineering and bring a background in developing walking and cycling infrastructure, as well as sustainable transport strategies.  

My co-founder Garance Locatelli has invaluable experience and expertise in sustainability-focused projects, particularly in the realm of user-centric innovation and MSc in Social Entrepreneurship from Strathclyde Business School.  

One early challenge we faced was Garance’s decision to move back to France post-degree, meaning we had to operate as remote founders for the first couple of months until she returned to the UK, drawn back by the sunny weather and excellent cuisine.  

Jokes aside, this period highlighted the power of working in the same room compared to remotely – if you have a co-founder, don’t let them leave your side. 

Our path to Geovation Scotland

Joining the Geovation Scotland accelerator programme in June 2023 was a pivotal moment for both myself and the project. As I neared the end of my master’s early in 2023, I realised I had an intriguing idea worth pursuing, however, I was broke. To support myself while developing the idea, I relocated to Cairngorm Youth Hostel in Aviemore. With an MEng in Civil Engineering and an MSc in Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Technology, I found myself scrubbing toilets, and making beds, not what I imagined I’d be doing at 26.  

Thankfully, we were accepted into the Geovation Scotland programme (although, admittedly, I did love my time in the Highlands). Still, this transition was dramatic: one week I was hoovering at the hostel, the next, I was being interviewed in a TV-grade studio and networking with founders of cutting-edge tech startups. 

However, the Geovation Scotland team and programme were incredible, offering a range of invaluable sessions, from traditional accelerator workshops on pitching and value proposition to comprehensive lessons on pricing strategies, marketing, and sales pipelines.  

A highlight was an afternoon we spent with Amy Kelly, the programme’s Marketing expert, at her Edinburgh office, where we brainstormed and refined our marketing strategy, an opportunity we as a company would never have been able to afford as an early-stage start-up.

What I cherished most about the programme was the cohort and the non-hierarchical atmosphere that Geovation Scotland fostered. It didn’t matter whether participants were at the ideation stage, like us, or on the verge of closing an investment round – every opinion was valued and respected, irrespective of experience. 

What we’ve achieved

During the programme, I was honoured to receive the Strathclyde Entrepreneur Summer Fellowship award, enabling me to commit full-time to the project.  

Our journey progressed to the Transport for Wales Labs 10-week accelerator, where we not only clinched the ‘Best Pitch’ award but also secured match funding for a pilot study of our system in summer 2024.  

To cap off the year, we won the Scottish Young Edge Category, a feat I couldn’t have imagined a year earlier while sitting in the audience.  

None of these achievements would have been possible without the support of Geovation Scotland. 

Looking ahead | The MARKED future

As we look to the next few months, our focus is on prototyping and preparing for the pilot study in Cardiff during the summer of 2024. This phase will be critical in testing and demonstrating MARKED’s potential to reduce emissions and increase the adoption of cycling. 

We hope our journey with MARKED and Orchy is just beginning. Whether you’re interested in sustainable urban mobility or a potential founder teetering on the edge of making a life-changing decision, remember this: The path less travelled might involve scrubbing toilets in Aviemore, but it can lead to extraordinary places. I found more fulfilment in pursuing a dream I believed in, rather than settling for the conventional path of consultancy engineer. 

So, if you’re standing at a crossroads, wondering if your idea could be the next big thing or Geovation Scotland is the right program for you, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Team Orchy.  

Applications for Geovation Scotland’s next accelerator programme launch in Spring, register your interest.