We meet… Rishi from IncuBus
Three years ago, Rishi Chowdhury and George Johnston decided to form their own incubator. But unlike their competitors, they wouldn’t be hosting their start-ups in an office. Instead, they transformed a double-decker bus into an unforgettable mobile business place.
On the bottom deck, Rishi and George added a kitchen and a demonstration space, allowing people to set up screens and show off their ideas and products. Upstairs, they took out all of the original bus seating and added wraparound desks and an area for talks.
“We started it to help entrepreneurs be more mobile,” says Rishi. “Our programme is helping them grow their businesses and get customers.
“When we developed our proposition to run a larger programme, the bus became more of an events space. The events side is there to showcase companies that are helping entrepreneurs, or that are start-ups themselves, then providing activities and events which can help with the tech and entrepreneurial side.”
One such event is taking place at Paddington Central this summer. The double decker bus will provide the setting for coding workshops, demonstrations from start-ups and an evening of talks and networking.
Talented coders from UK universities will run the workshops. “Some of them are self-taught and some have been through courses,” says Rishi. “They like to teach what they are doing to others because it’s really good practise for them. We think that being able to speak and present to people is a really valuable skill.”
Spreading knowledge of coding is also good for tech start-ups. “We want professionals to understand more about the technology they’re playing with every day,” says Rishi. “The more they understand, the more we’ll see better adoption.”
During the afternoon, the upper deck of the bus will host ChewyMoon, a food start-up with tech roots. In the evening another start-up, MishiPay, will lead talks about how technology is disrupting traditional industries.
MishiPay’s technology allows consumers to go into a store, pick up the goods they want, scan them with an app, then walk out and the payments will be done via their phone.
“Mustafa, the co-founder of MishiPay, is going to be talking about how the way we shop will change going forward and how technology is helping us universally do that,” says Rishi.
Rishi will be taking the bus to other British Land sites across the capital as part of our summer of Life Meets Tech events and says that London is a great place for start-ups to be.
“London is one of the best places in Europe, if not the best,” says Rishi. “You’ve got a large customer base, the opportunities to raise finance and the support around it as well – there are just so many people who have been there and done it.”