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OneTech Stories

Meet Ashik Repon

Meet Ashik Repon 2560 2560 OneTech

Meet Ashik Repon, who took part in our Talent and Employability programme. In this OneTech Story, Ashik shares how the incubator unlocked the world of tech start-ups, sharpened his employability skills and empowered his career.

Why did you apply to the Talent and Employability Incubator?

Mainly because these guys were doing something that no one else was doing in a time of pandemic. A lot of the free internship programmes got cancelled, but I didn’t want to stay at home doing nothing.  So, this was a great opportunity.  It wasn’t just because it was free. Everything OneTech talked about and its values were appealing. What these guys were exposing to students was exactly what I was looking for.

I knew that a knowledge of entrepreneurship, learning directly from people in the industry, was something I couldn’t miss out on. It benefits me now and in the future.  If something comes up, and you want to change path, it’s better to be informed at this stage.

 

What did you get out of the Incubator? 

The main takeaways for me were business skills and life skills. 

We got to use professional tools in terms of project management. We learnt how to handle accounting, tax, invoicing and transactions. They taught us how to do all of this stuff from scratch and for free to show you don’t have to spend a lot of money on it. How to get around free trials and all that, which is important when you are starting up a business without a lot of money.

They taught us a lot about mindset. We talked about how failing is OK. That is very important, and it isn’t just something to incorporate in the future in a possible career, and as a future entrepreneur, it’s something that I can literally incorporate every single day of my life.  Even in my academic journey being organised, working systematically, thinking how I could do this better, is already making me work more effectively.

I feel very fortunate I’ve taken part in this because I learnt stuff that doesn’t get taught in school. And it’s better to learn these things at my age.

How has it impacted your employability?

Before University I attended the National College for Digital Skills in London and was part of the first cohort. They already impressed on us a lot about employability, and I was attracted to that and mindfulness stuff. I think these are definitely skills that employers look for on top of your technical skillset.

The Talent Incubator was a continuation of that journey.  University does not have that on the curriculum, but I was keen to continue the process of practising soft skills.  The incubator programme allowed me to do some more group work which isn’t really a large part of University life. Doing work that matters in groups and then get graded for it was fun.

We had a great lesson on how CVs work and get processed. What are the keywords, what are they looking for, what to include to increase your visibility and opportunities. I still check out those slides from time to time.

How did it improve your understanding of tech?

In terms of the business side. At University we learn a lot of theory. But you don’t get people from the industry coming in talking about their life as a person involved in tech.  I enjoyed that a lot, hearing about the ups and downs. The programme has given me more knowledge about how the tech environment works.

I’ve done internships in the past at Vodafone and Snowflake (part of Amazon services) but I’m the kind of person that always wants to know more. Too much is never enough!

Has it changed your aspirations about where you see yourself in tech?

Rather than changing, it has given me more information about where I want to be. I plan to do a Masters in Data Science. The Talent Incubator has added how much I know about the industry and future trends, so it has given me a more mature understanding about what is coming next.  

How has your background influenced your journey?

I was born in Rome and moved to London in Year 9. It was 2 different worlds. Here the secondary schools are massive and have more funding. Until the age of 13, I had no exposure to Computer Science, but I took to it immediately and always knew that was the right path for me.  I’ve not experienced many challenges. I am good at keeping people on the same length around me and am distancing myself from bad vibes.

I feel like there is a common misconception that everything in tech is hard and challenging with maths, statistics and so on. But I guarantee to anyone with an interest in tech that there are so many different branches and so many opportunities. There’s such an expansion of roles that you can always find your place to fit in. It’s such a huge industry and it’s booming.

Ashik Repon

What are your dreams and plans?

I’ll graduate this year and I’m really looking forward to doing a Masters, most likely at Kings College London. 

I would like to use all my networks and the people from this Incubator and my LinkedIn as best I can. Because of the Incubator, I know where my starting point is. I want to get into industry first.  I’ve also got this this this thing about teaching, so who knows?  In the future if it comes to play I might be teaching young kids about computer science. There is definitely a lot of demand. 

Do you want to go into a particular sector within tech?

I would like to try out for a junior data analyst role.  I’m not the hardcore 24/7 programmer type. I like the idea of a sales engineer. These guys know about the technical stuff, but they accompany the sales team to their meetings and explain the technical parts of a specific product. I feel like I want to build relationships with people.  I want to talk to companies, to people who want to buy something. I want to highlight the different technical aspects to them. It’s something that I personally enjoy and am good at.

What is your message to inspire other under-represented workers or founders in tech?

I feel like there is a common misconception that everything in tech is hard and challenging with maths, statistics and so on.  But I guarantee to anyone with an interest in tech that there are so many different branches and so many different opportunities. There’s such an expansion of roles that you can always find your place to fit in. It’s such a huge industry and it’s booming. 

The Talent Incubator is a great initiative, doing an absolutely amazing job to raise awareness.  I would recommend it to anyone.

My message is also to challenge yourself to do something different. See if it works out for you.  The Talent Incubator is a great place to get started.

Discover more stories from people we have empowered through our programmes:

OneTech Stories

OneTech is committed to challenging inequity and the lack of diversity in the Tech Start-Up ecosystem. We offer a range of free programmes and activities to empower underserved tech talent and entrepreneurs. We are on a mission to Change the Face of Start-Ups! Come, join us:

Meet Maya Lingam, Founder of EcoSpot

Meet Maya Lingam, Founder of EcoSpot 2048 2560 OneTech

Maya is the Founder and CEO of EcoSpot, a community platform for climate action. The platform helps young people and their families develop lasting sustainable behaviours, at school and at home. 

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

There have been a few challenges.  One is being a non-technical founder, although it makes you more resourceful and careful with what you build. For instance, I built a lot with no-code tools.  

The second challenge would be bootstrapping. But, in fact, it was a good move not to rush into fundraising, and the focus on sales is paying off. We’re recently backed by Bethnal Green Ventures, which I’m super happy about. This will be a real game-changer for EcoSpot and it’s amazing to have value-aligned investors.

Then of course Covid has been a challenge. We had lined up pilots, then the pandemic hit and there were lots of delays due to changing guidance for schools and lockdowns of course. 

 

Do you feel that anything in your background has been an advantage or disadvantage in your journey?

Obviously, there is a clear disadvantage to being a black female founder. Looking at the data, the numbers regarding access to venture capital are so astoundingly bad they are almost funny. And my parents don’t have the cash to offer a few thousand pounds to fund my startup. But, actually, in the early days, whatever background you are from, I don’t think fundraising should be the priority or your top marker of success. Know your customers first and focus on them.

Another disadvantage is the micro-aggressions. On my first day at the co-working space, a man approached me and asked me to clean up, assuming I was staff.  People don’t expect you to be the owner of a business, they definitely don’t expect you to be working in the climate space. Or they expect there to be a male CEO who’s in charge and you are Robin to his Batman.

But these disadvantages can be advantages – I think they make you scrappier, more of a hustler.

 

Where did your business idea come from?

There are 2.2 billion children on earth today who are the least responsible for climate change but are going to be the worst affected. It’s critical that future generations are equipped with both the knowledge and behaviour to live sustainably and protect their futures.

A recent study showed that 1 in 5 children have nightmares about climate change. We need resources that are positive about the things that you can actually do to protect the planet and that aren’t terrifying for children.

I went along to a climate strike and was very taken aback by the numbers and the passion. I started to think about all the co-benefits of climate action for your home, your well-being, for saving money and being more connected to your community. This is where the concept of EcoSpot was born. It changes the narrative to show the impact people can have when they act together as a collective. We have the opportunity to teach young people sustainable behaviours at school that are modelled back to their families at home and the wider local community. We’re using tech as a bridge between these environments, so far we’ve launched an iOS and a web app.

 

What’s your business model and what stage are you at?

We sell to schools on an annual licence who then distribute the platform to students and staff. Local authorities are also a key market as they have net-zero by 2030 or 2050 targets which nearly all involve public behaviour change.

I work on the business full time. After bootstrapping for a while, EcoSpot was selected for Bethnal Green Ventures’ accelerator. We will be raising a pre-seed round later this year.

 

How has OneTech supported you?

I saw the FoundersDoor Pre-Accelerator programme on Twitter and decided to go along, not knowing what to expect. 

I hadn’t thought of myself as an entrepreneur. I definitely wasn’t one of those kids who sold sweets in the school playground! But the programme took us from scratch to the first version of MVP.  It gave us a grounding, time to test ideas out, make mistakes and figure out what we should do differently. That was over a year ago and my mentor from the programme still supports me on a monthly basis today.

Having free office space through OneTech was amazing, I was there seven days a week. It was the same space as the OneTech team so there were always friendly faces checking on how we were getting on, rooting for us.

Through OneTech I also got a hardware grant so I was able to buy a laptop and an iPad which has been crucial to building and testing the product.

Through OneTech I met a black female founder for the first time. Even though I'd been working in tech for over 2 years, I'd never met a black woman or man in management.  I clearly remember that day thinking "Oh yes, I can do this". You cannot underestimate the power of seeing someone who looks like you in a position that you aspire to be in.

Maya Lingam

 

What are your plans for the business?

I want to build a mission-driven business that scales. I’m really passionate about creating something purposeful that is also for profit, and working towards an amazing exit. We want to strengthen communities and reach those who are least engaged with the climate conversation but will be the most affected by it.

 

What is your message to inspire other underrepresented founders?

Meet people and let them know what you are working on and how committed you are to it. In the past, if I had a question, I wouldn’t know where to go. Now it’s the opposite.  

Through OneTech I met a black female founder for the first time. Even though I’d been working in tech for over 2 years, I’d never met a black woman or man in management.  I clearly remember that day thinking “Oh yes, I can do this”. You cannot underestimate the power of seeing someone who looks like you in a position that you aspire to be in. That mindset grows quickly once you have access to a diverse community of founders, like YSYS, Colour in Tech.  It’s just flipped my network entirely.

Before OneTech I wasn’t part of any of those communities at all.  After OneTech, it was like the doors opened to an interconnected world with lots of amazing support.

Follow EcoSpot:

Discover the stories of other great entrepreneurs we have supported through our programmes:

OneTech Stories

OneTech is committed to challenging inequity and the lack of diversity in the Tech Start-Up ecosystem. We offer a range of free programmes and activities to empower underserved tech talent and entrepreneurs. We are on a mission to Change the Face of Start-Ups! Come, join us:

Meet Mohammad and Vamsi, Founders of Edicat Learning

Meet Mohammad and Vamsi, Founders of Edicat Learning 2560 2048 OneTech

Edicat Learning is an AI-driven platform that designs personal plans for students to identify and address their individual learning needs.

Where did the business idea come from?

As experienced tutors, we have collectively delivered over 6,000 hours of one-to-one teaching to students and we saw the immense impact that it can have on student performance.

Unfortunately, at a cost of £900-1000 a year, a private tutor is a luxury most parents cannot afford. 

Currently, students are being taught in large classrooms at the same pace and in the same order which does not meet their individual needs. When a student misunderstands a topic early on, the class simply forges ahead, progressing to more advanced concepts that demand a robust understanding of the previous topic.

We realised that we could leverage the latest advancements in psychometrics and machine learning to enable access to high-quality personalised learning for all students, irrespective of their socioeconomic background. 

How does Edicat Learning work?

Firstly, students can use our adaptive assessments that intelligently selects’ questions to ask students based on previous responses to identify their individual knowledge gaps. 

Thereafter, students, parents and teachers will be provided with live performance reports that highlight which learning outcomes in the national curriculum are holding them back.

Finally, our platform uses machine learning to design personalised learning plans for each student that tells them precisely which concepts they need to work on, starting from the most fundamental concepts, to maximise their performance.

Have you raised funding?

We are grateful to have been selected by Queen Mary, the University of London for the Build It Award, where a £10,000 grant was provided to develop the product. 

We are also humbled to be part of the AWS EdStart Accelerator, where we received $10,000 worth of credits. We also received a £1,500 special grant from Santander Universities for being a socially-oriented venture.

How has OneTech supported you?

The OneTech ecosystem has been extremely helpful. FoundersDoor gave us a community to share and refine our idea as well as develop our ability to communicate it to the stakeholders. 

Yes, we benefited a lot from OneTech. An important part was understanding how start-ups operate at the early stage. One of the most important mindset shifts that we had in product development was taking an agile approach, where you build a product with a minimum feature set, test it in the market, get feedback from customers and then continue to iterate until you have a product that customers love.

We also took part in accountability circles. It was great to be part of a group where sharing failures was celebrated as a learning opportunity. This allowed us to pool our knowledge together and support each other on our entrepreneurial journeys by ensuring that everyone learns from each other’s experiences. 

Above all, OneTech has given us access to a powerful network of experts who have an understanding of the industry that we’re operating in and that was monumental in gaining validation and traction.

How have your backgrounds have influenced your journey so far?

We are both really passionate about learning and teaching. We want to democratise access to personalised learning.

What challenges have you faced?

While we’ve had our challenges, as all startups do, we’ve managed our challenges strategically. One example is the struggle we had with recruiting technical experts to implement our vision. We’ve thankfully managed to recruit an experienced and passionate tech team. 

A capable team with a diverse skill set is critical to the success of a startup. We also place a high priority on the culture we create in our team, especially given the disproportionate impact a new member has on a small startup. It was challenging to foster the right culture, to be open and critical, relentlessly passionate yet flexible, but we have been lucky to create that.

What are your dreams for the business?

We are driven fundamentally by the vision that one day every child will have equal access to high-quality, personalised education irrespective of their socio-economic background. We have high-minded ambitions on democratising personalising learning based on prior knowledge, ability and preferences to meet individual student needs by intelligently bringing together the strengths of psychometrics, machine learning and cognitive science. Every decision we make as a business is evaluated on whether it takes us closer to achieving this goal.

Further, we are very excited about eventually delivering a blended learning model where our technology can empower teachers in their classrooms to pivot their pedagogy and achieve improved student learning outcomes. We also aim to prepare our students with 21st-century skills to ensure they face real-world challenges with great confidence.

What’s your message to inspire other founders?

The first is to persevere. The second is to connect. Talk with as many people as you can because everybody has something insightful to share. The third is, it may sound cliche, but it is of paramount importance to understand your user. Understand what their needs are and develop your strategy around addressing those needs.

My advice is to regularly and critically reflect on everything that you do. Is this the best way of achieving our objectives? Are there alternative methods that incur fewer costs? What value are we actually delivering to students? Since when we started this project, critical reflection allowed us to pivot in the right direction

Discover the stories of other great entrepreneurs we have supported through our programmes:

OneTech Stories

OneTech is committed to challenging inequity and the lack of diversity in the Tech Start-Up ecosystem. We offer a range of free programmes and activities to empower underserved tech talent and entrepreneurs. We are on a mission to Change the Face of Start-Ups! Come, join us:

Meet Samson Oguntayo

Meet Samson Oguntayo 800 800 OneTech

Samson Oguntayo is co-founder of Thribe, a platform to access beauty hair care and products for multicultural women. He lives in the Greenwich/ Lewisham border.

Tell us about your business

We aim to be the Treatwell providing home service hairstyling for multicultural women. We offer a trusted platform to connect customers with hair care and products and take a percentage for every transaction.

Where did that business idea come from?

I have three daughters with Afro hair. Can you imagine the time it takes for me to get my daughters’ hair done? You’re talking something like 5 hours for each person so we can spend a whole day in a salon. Just doing hair. This is not something that you do once every three to six months. It’s something you have to do at least once a month, minimum. You have to buy the products from one place and go to another place to get the hair done. I know people who travel from Manchester to London to get their done. Ridiculous.

We’re in the age where you can order your food and hail a cab from the comfort of your home.
So we are developing Thribe as a tech platform that connects customers to stylists and products.

What is the market you’re addressing?

Over £5 billion is spent on hair care in the UK alone. The African community accounts for about 80% of that. So you’re talking over 4 billion. It’s a huge market.

The biggest players in the market at the moment are the cosmetic stores that are predominantly owned by Asians, who don’t really know much about the products. They don’t understand the different types of Afro hair textures. Hairstylists are the experts. They are the mini influencers of the community. They are the ones to be giving advice.

How did you launch the business?

I have 2 co-founders. Two of us have been working on the idea since 2016. We were looking for a long time for tech expertise and recruited the third founder in 2017.

We actually launched in Nigeria first. We released a mobile app on Android with different categories for several industries, not just hair and beauty products. We wanted to know what the market wanted. We narrowed it down to hair and beauty. The market found us.

It took a lot of time but we wanted to be sure about what we’re doing. It gave us confidence that this is definitely the industry to focus on. Back in London, we didn’t want to go through the whole costly process of building an app again so we used a basic website. We’re now trying to validate the MVP and get traction. We’d done over 200 transactions since October 2019, then COVID hit.

The next stage is to get the funding we need to go all out and take it to the next level with web and mobile apps, and to work on the business full time.

How has COVID affected you?

It has affected growth. But believe it or not, we still have customers because black people can’t just leave their hair in its natural state. It will get really difficult to manage afterwards. So our stylists take precautions with PPE kit. We’re doing that because we understand what they are going through. Not everybody can watch a video on YouTube to do their own hair. There are people who genuinely need help, for instance, people with disability, they need that personal service.

We are generating leads. When the lockdown is over we’ll probably get a surge. There are waiting lists for hairdressers.

We stumbled upon the OneTech FounderVine pre-accelerator in the process of trying to find out about investment just before lockdown. We have become more active in trying to create a network around investment. I’ve probably contacted over 50 investors. The time is now unfortunate- it does have an impact on fundraising.

Businesses will be really important in how we recover and what kind of businesses do well. I think there’s a lot to be done about that in terms of government support. Get that money back on stream. Get investing again.

Tell us about your own background and how it has influenced your business.

Marketing is my thing. I am a director of a small marketing agency that I founded in 2013 when I finished university and couldn’t get a job. That’s how I started in the business world. It was a way for me to be able to feed my family.

I always felt like there was something bigger than I was going to be doing at some point. My partner Blessing has about 20 years of experience in the hair industry, so that was a good way in. We’ve always wondered why that industry has stayed the same for decades. Nothing’s happening. No real innovation going on. I travel back and forth to Nigeria for business purposes and during my travels, I started noticing issues back in Africa that we could solve.

It’s often a combination of your professional background and something you’ve noticed in your life that helps you spot a problem. I’m a bit of a problem solver I guess.

Do you envisage the business taking off in Nigeria and elsewhere?

Yes absolutely. We’ve validated the concept in two different continents. I mean you’re talking about Africa where the spending power is nothing compared to the west and we were able to makeover a couple of hundred sales in Nigeria too. We think this could be a global business.

What challenges have you faced and how you have you overcome them?

Challenges! So many of them! Where do I start?!

One of the main challenges is trying to convince people that you could do something so huge. I mean this is huge. It’s a big deal. And trying to raise funds is no joke, especially coming from my community. You don’t have family and friends that can give you £100k. You have to bootstrap. You just keep scraping and trying to make it work.

Do you feel there’s anything in your background that’s been either an advantage or disadvantage in your startup journey?

I come from a background that teaches you to have grit. You have to develop a thick skin and get that hustle on. Just don’t stop. So I don’t know maybe it is an advantage but I’d prefer it if it was a little bit easier. I don’t think anybody wants it this way.

The advantage is your culture. You’ve seen the problems that others haven’t seen. You’re identifying a business opportunity that others haven’t spotted or exploited.

Tell me a bit about the experience of the South London Innovation Corridor OneTech pre-accelerator. What support has it given you?

I learned quite a bit from it. It opened my eyes to see what it takes. You think you have learnt and done a lot already. And then you get to the programme and they disrupt that. It was an eye-opener.

I’m a bit of an introvert but I’m starting to find out about the support that’s out there that I never knew about before. You should be able to have access to it and you know that other people do and then you realize there’s just no room for you. You know the door is not going to open.

With SLIC OneTech you see that there are some people who are focused on opening those doors or at least trying to open some of them and point you in the right direction. I was quite amazed at the work that they do. I never knew about them before.

Do you think it gave you any new skills?

It takes time to develop skills. I don’t think it’s something that you can do in such a short time. What it did was introduce new skills and made me realize the gaps that need to be filled. For instance, you need somebody in finance, you need somebody in law. That being said, I definitely know a thing or two about how to pitch now – thanks to Foundervine

What are your dreams and plans for the future?

We want to be the Amazon for everything hair and beauty related. We’ve got big plans.

Are there any entrepreneurs or businesses that you admire or who’ve been a source of inspiration for you?

Beautystack is definitely one that came up on my radar. It’s pretty impressive that Sharmadean Reed was able to make that happen. It gives you hope.

Afrocenchix would be my number one. I read the story and it was crazy inspirational.

Is there anything that you wished you had known before you set off on your enterprise journey?

I wish I knew a little bit more about the support that is available. What I’ve picked up on is that there is so much information out there but it’s all over the place. It needs to be more streamlined and simplified, more focused. With clear advice: This is what you do- step 1, step 2, step 3.
It’s quite confusing and you can still feel lost even when you have all this information in front of you.

What would be your message and advice to other underrepresented founders?

I read somewhere that this is a marathon, not a sprint. The Silicon Valley stories are not reality. That’s a different world. It’s not going to happen like that.

Just put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to reach out. With the technology that we have today, you could probably reach out to Bill Gates. With so many people we’re talking to right now it was just from reaching out to them. What’s the worst that’s going to happen?

Samson is a speaker at London Tech Week’s “How I Started: Meet the South London Founders Scaling New Ideas” on Thursday 10th September at 2 pm. Register now – https://londontechweek.com/event/how-i-started-meet-the-south-london-founders-scaling-new-ideas-diversity-and-inclusivity

Meet Bella Ngo

Meet Bella Ngo 800 800 OneTech

 

Bella Ngo is the Co-founder and CEO of Brarista. She first immigrated from Vietnam to the UK as a teenager. Brarista is a deep tech and femtech business that makes professional bra fitting more accessible and accurate.

Where did the business idea come from?

Whilst doing my Master’s in Entrepreneurship at University College London (UCL) I was actually working as a professional bra fitter at a high street shop and that opened me up to the industry and how broken it is.  

The industry is not providing accurate bra services. Most of the time women get fitted with a measuring tape and that method has been proven to be only 30 % accurate because it does not take into account breast shape, physical condition and fit reference. It doesn’t translate into accurate sizing for bras or other products. I wanted to create something that women were telling me that they wanted.

I really want to help the industry to do a better job and create happier customers. Our vision is for women to find out their bra size using their phone cameras.  What’s also quite exciting is we’re leading to provide almost real-time analytics of how customers actually look in the breast area so that brands and retailers can make a better fit and get the product range more suited to their customers. 

How has OneTech supported you?

I was referred to OneTech by my adviser at the European Enterprise Network. I was the team-building/MVP-research stage. We had a co-founding team, had the concept validated, and were very eager to accept that early investment and to build the MVP. We had workshops every week coaching us on different aspects of the business in order to get the message ready.

The funding adviser that we were matched with through OneTech Pioneer Programme was very, very hands-on and helpful. In every discussion we had, she was able to point us in very useful directions. She never shied away from being there for us and regularly checks in to see how we are, which is really incredible. Her support has resulted in real trust and a sense of mutual interest and engagement.

I am very grateful to OneTech and Capital Enterprise. They didn’t hesitate to make introductions to different organizations that I would have taken months to get in contact with cold. 

What challenges have you faced?

There have been several challenges.

One of the things that I discovered as a founder especially during a fundraising journey is that you just have to be extremely resilient and not take anything personally. The OneTech advisors talked about fundraising rounds for other startups and it equipped me with that awareness. My product is female, bra related, a female problem to solve. If I’m pitching for an investment I need to know who is in the audience. If I am in a room with a majority of women, my pitch will be slightly different. Whereas if the majority is of males I have to adjust it as well. But I see that as a part of the job. It can be hard but I thrive in a challenge. 

The main challenge has been around the expected timescales of funding a deep-tech startup that starts ours from scratch. There is an expectation from both mentors and potential investors, including within the Pioneer programme, to ‘prove the concept’ before seeking to raise funding – when in fact the product requires investment to undertake the R&D needed to prove the concept. This is why lots of deep tech startups are university spin-outs. 

What is your experience as an immigrant women founder?

Starting a start-up in London, where I have nobody but myself, I quickly observed a pattern where successful founders tend to come from positions where their network determines greatly their chance of success in funding, partnerships acquisition, and PR. My head is filled with questions of whether the merits-based progression will happen for me in this country, as a founder.

I entered a number of business competitions and experienced challenges that may be attributed to (subtle) discrimination. I often tell myself to brush it off and not get caught up in the victim mentality because it will not get myself anywhere useful for the start-up. 

Immigrant founders are a distinctive subset within minority founders in my opinion. We hold very unique challenges including our language, network and visa – to name a few. I would love to see more support like OneTech throughout the startup ecosystem when it comes to immigrant founders. 

How is COVID 19 affecting your business?

With the lockdown, it means that we couldn’t really continue doing our in-person data collection, which is an important component of R&D. But it has pushed us to be flexible with our timeline. In a start-up, there are always lots to be done, so shuffling our task list has been rather fun. 

Oh, but there has been something quite positive and we’ve been so grateful for it. Under the funding of InnovateUK COVID Response Call, Brairsta is working with our first client at Boost (wewearboost.com) to apply our technology to build a virtual fitting software for breast prosthesis. This way, breast cancer survivors (among the high risks group) can stay safely at home to get their breast prosthesis fitted, instead of travelling to clinic settings to have it done (e.g. hospitals). 

At the same time, we also won the prestigious Enterprise Fellowship at the Royal Academy of Engineering. This means that we’re now a part of a hyper-dynamic group of innovators who are also pushing for their ideas to come to life – just like Brarista. 

What are your plans for the future?

There are lots- but one thing for sure is whatever that we do, we want to make sure that women get access to the best professional bra-fitting tools and knowledge possible. If you’re interested in what we’re building and want to be a part of it, join our co-creators community at www.brarista.co or brarista.fitting on Instagram. 

For the immediate months, we’re looking forward to continuing working on our prototype and kick start our pre-seed fundraising round. 

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