Business Technology

PwC boards IncuBus Ventures to develop startups in three digital sectors

4 min read

28 October 2015

Former deputy editor

IncuBus Ventures has launched a new Future of Work Incubator in partnership with PwC, which will see the two firms work together to support startups in cyber security, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart offices.

The quirky business incubator is immediately recognisable as it’s based on a double-decker bus and this new 12-week programme comes after IncuBus’ retail-centric project at Camden Market, which took place during the summer.

At the time, Real Business interviewed IncuBus co-founder Rishi Chowdhury, who said: “We decided to do a retail-focused incubator to play on strength of Camden Market. There’s a lot of grassroot retail stuff in the market and there’s been more development locally with malls, cinemas and retail outlets.”

He added there was a mission to help transform the North London town into a startup hub, while the portability of the bus makes it ideal when the incubator needs to travel for events and activities.

With PwC, however, IncuBus has turned its attention to the “Future of Work” and the pair are seeking digital startups that are developing solutions in cyber security, AI and smart offices.

The new 12-week programme is designed in recognition of the changing workplace with developments such as co-working spaces like Second Home, and in anticipation that more changes are yet to come.

Interestingly, the launch follows the highly publicised TalkTalk hacking scandal and also that of dating site for cheaters, which will have been a wake-up call for many of the UK’s businesses to secure their data.

Smart offices, meanwhile, will revolve around solutions such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and how those developments can reduce costs and aid a healthy working experience.

Elsewhere, AI projects will be observed to determine what the truly practical applications of using the tech are.

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“Disruptive innovation in the workplace is creating new challenges and opportunities for every business. Traditional industry and business models are rapidly evolving and new technologies, enhanced data analytics and changing demographics are reshaping the world of work,” explained Stephanie Hyde, partner, PwC.

“Areas such as cyber security, artificial intelligence and smart offices are at the forefront of this change and the influence of startup companies defining this shift is ever increasing. We are working alongside our clients to embrace and drive innovation and are excited to be teaming up with IncuBus to host the Future of Work incubator.”

The programme itself will begin on 11 January 2016 and will support early stage companies through product development and the tools required to access accelerators and funding. It comprises nine hours of sessions, including mentoring, workshops and office hours, each week, as well as other developmental activities.

Why Camden Market partnered with a business incubator based on a double-decker bus

Applications are now open and they run in three stages: phase one accepts ten candidates, phase two accepts five and phase three just three. IncuBus entry costs £3,000, which covers the programme, working space and networking, while the bus can be used for marketing opportunities.

George Johnston, co-founder, IncuBus, added: “Technology is transforming our homes like we’ve never seen before. Yet the workspace, where we spend 30 per cent of our lives, is being left behind. It is time for the next disruption to take place.

“As business models and industries are destroyed by innovation, the only way to survive is to be at the forefront of creating new ones. This initiative will ensure the next generation of entrepreneurs have access to market and the support they need to realise the Future of Work.”