London is a big city, filled with restaurants, museums, theatres and events – but the problem is often just not knowing where to start when it comes to finding these places and things to do – especially when you are in a particular area at the time, looking for something to do! Enter Daniel Botcherby who saw this need for being in the know, and so he created an app offering this information – real time. We spoke to him to find out more.

Can you briefly describe what it is that your business offers?

Tubenav is the first London tube map of its kind to allow you to find places, events and businesses all on top of the tube map. We offer real-time information on great restaurants, live events and even a live photo stream of an area – all based from the tube map.

Daniel Tubenav

And what makes your business unique compared to your competitors?

Tubenav is unique because it’s not just a navigation or discovery tool. We’re a real-time engagement view of London using the tube map as our primary reference point.

How long have you been working on this project?

Tubenav has taken two years to get to this stage. It literally feels like only  a few months have passed since my fellow co-founders – Michael Boham (CEO) and Jon Holt (CTO) – and I first got together to develop Tubenav. We’re fast approaching our two year anniversary for the project so we’re incredibly excited about what we have planned next.

What makes you so passionate about this business? How did it all come about originally? 

I’m passionate because I love London so much. I’ve lived here all my life and I never get tired of discovering new places and getting lost in the city. But the most frustrating thing I found was, with so much to do, I didn’t really know where to start, so I thought that Tubenav was a really exciting idea when Michael brought it to me. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve asked “What’s the nearest station?” or been at a station and not known what’s around the area. So that was how Tubenav began – tying all places to a nearest station and being able to provide a station view of all different places.

And your personal background? How did you come from university or working to running your own business?

Well I started off as an Accounting and Finance graduate and fell into music management. I really got a taste for taking ownership over the business side of music because while it’s so creative it is still just a product that needs to be sold. With that passion I really wanted to take it to another realm of business. Fortunately Michael and I have been fast friends ever since university and we both developed a great working partnership, so we tried a number of little ideas and start-ups before Tubenav.

What about your childhood or family background? Do you have any entrepreneurial inspirations from your childhood, family members or partner?

Oh great question, I can’t say that I ever did have any motivations to start a business from childhood unlike so many entrepreneurs I’ve read about (laughs). What I would say is that there probably was a little spark in terms of being creative; I love to draw and paint which was something my parents fully supported. When it came to trying to create Tubenav I soon discovered my Mother’s previous entrepreneurial pursuits years ago in various fashion import export businesses. I guess my parents let me discover what I wanted to do all by myself. One of my cousins in fact has been a great influence on my life – he runs his own valuations company and I lived with him for a few weeks whilst on university break and he really lit the fire in terms of setting up a venture, not in terms of just doing one business process but the whole idea of scalability. The idea of being a business with a number of horizontals and developing the supply chain. It was a real eye opener.

tubenav homepage

Can you remember any event that happened in the past that inspired you to start this venture?

I honestly remember it like it was yesterday! One of our previous ventures was failing miserably due to various delays and I had been on a mission to meet some developers. I came back from one event and wanted to have a follow up meeting with one guy I met. When I discussed his experience with Michael, his eyes lit up like lightening had just struck him and he brought up this dusted old idea of an interactive tube map he came up with years ago which we both had dismissed previously a couple years back due to the technicality involved in building it. We developed the idea a little further and then pitched it to the developer. That developer was our CTO Jon and we’ve been three of the four ninja turtles ever since!

What’s the most exciting or inspirational moment to date running this business, or in life in general?

One of our most inspirational moments, almost a moment of recognition for us, was when we sat down with Transport For London and told them all about Tubenav. It felt like we had been working so hard for this moment and when we left we just had the biggest smiles on our faces!

And the toughest moment? 
I’d say we’re still going through it. We’re raising funding at the moment and really cutting our teeth with the business. We’re out every day trying to pitch Tubenav to new users with a very grass roots budget. It’s exhilarating, but incredibly demanding. However we’re in this for the long haul, so I think we’ve definitely got a little stubbornness and undeniable faith in us when it comes to Tubenav.

Was there ever a weird moment in your life, for example something that happened that you felt like you are destined to do this?

I think hindsight is a great tool. Looking back at all the people in my life that I’ve worked for, and the influencers that I am inspired by, I think proving myself as a businessman with my business partners and venture is definitely the thing I’m meant to be doing. I wake up every day literally loving the fact that I’m doing Tubenav, irrespective of the challenges we face. I think that’s weird, so we’re definitely onto something.

Where do you want your business or company to be in three years’ time?

Well we would like to take Tubenav into a number of different territories. We’ve got some really exciting things lined up so the next three years are going to be very promising.

And finally, what would be the one bit of advice that you would give to someone who’s starting a business?

I’d say it always comes from a combination of a great idea with the first customer. If someone is willing to put money into it, then you have yourself a business. Michael actually wrote a great article on finding the right business idea I’d love to share with you: http://thewall.nacue.csom/wall/how-to-find-the-right-business-idea/