Omar Quraishi - Co-founder and CEO of HUB 85
Each year the LBS Incubator programme provides selected entrepreneurial students and recent alumni with an extensive support programme of workshops, 1-2-1 advisory sessions and free resources equivalent to over £200k in kind per business, in order to help them set up their own business and get it off the ground.
One of the recent beneficiaries of this support was EMBA graduate Omar Quraishi, who co-founded his company Hub 85. Let's meet Omar!
Briefly describe how you came to LBS?
I spent eight years working across several financial services companies. My career had taken me into a specialism, and I wanted to broaden my experience and future growth opportunities. Throughout my career, I had also either operated or had been involved with several small businesses.
I have always had a passion for creating products and value, but I wasn’t sure whether I should focus on doing so within a traditional career, or whether I should follow my entrepreneurial spirit.
I knew that LBS would provide the ideal environment to expand my knowledge and figure out what my next step would be. Having gone through the LBS journey, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made at the time.
What was the highlight of your time at LBS?
The international assignments are one of the stand-out memories of my time during my time at LBS. I was lucky enough to complete two international assignments, back-to-back.
I started with a week in Russia and went straight to Argentina. It was fascinating to see such a high standard of work, yet such a contrast in variety and culture. It was great to travel with classmates and the assignments provided the classic work-hard, play-hard experience.
Tell us a little bit more about your startup, HUB 85?
Hub 85 is an intelligence and analytics solutions company. Our first product, Spreadsheet Business Intelligence, helps organisations govern and analyse spreadsheet usage across their organisation.
I was always astounded at the scale and over-dependence on spreadsheets as a business tool. Many of the business processes they support are manual and repetitive, and some of these tasks can create different types of enterprise risk.
My business, Hub 85, helps firms de-risk, simplify and optimise the spreadsheet environment. We provide analytics and insights that help firms understand the people and processes behind the spreadsheets that support their business operations. Our analysis helps firms to understand why they rely on spreadsheets, whilst also ensuring they preserve and protect themselves against both known and unknown risks.
I think there is a huge opportunity for large businesses to operate more efficiently and with less risk. Hub 85 is aims to capitalise on this opportunity.
How has the LBS Incubator Programme supported you in your venture?
The incubator was the ideal environment to help my co-founder and I get our business off the ground.
Aside from an amazing office location, the well-structured programme split over 10 months helped us shape the business plan. The staff and faculty organised a diverse schedule of events that got us out of our comfort zone. They provided great support and helped us focus on developing the value proposition.
Being part of the incubator really helped our business establish credibility with potential corporate clients.
Who are your biggest influences in the world of entrepreneurship?
I have always admired Michael Bloomberg and Larry Ellison.
A lot of the lessons and knowledge they developed while building their businesses have become the foundation for entrepreneurs of today.
They both have a common sense approach to problem-solving and seem to both have a constant “high energy” level. They were both using “Agile” and “Cloud” decades before they became a buzz-words.
Outside of your studies, and running the company, what do you like to do in your leisure time? Any favourite places in London?
I have been heavily influenced by music and after an earlier career as a DJ, I now spend a lot of my time improving my music production skills. I am also a keen triathlete and golfer.
The British Library is one of my favourite places. It is a great resource and was my weekend office in my early days as an entrepreneur.
Tell us something surprising about yourself…
I completed a full Ironman several years ago. Due to my additional role as a Strategic Advisor to a specialist immigration law firm, I am also qualified to provide immigration legal advice!