Ipswich-based start-up Conga aims to be the Uber of inter-city coach travel

Members of the team at Conga, which aims to be to coaches what Uber is to taxis.

Members of the team at Conga, which aims to be to coaches what Uber is to taxis. - Credit: Gregg Brown

A Suffolk start-up business is aiming to have the same impact on inter-city coach travel as online ride-hailing service Uber has had on the taxi sector.

Conga founders Graham Kill, right, and Peter Miller.

Conga founders Graham Kill, right, and Peter Miller. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Conga, which is based in Grimwade Stret, Ipswich, has been created by Graham Kill, who has previously run an international technology business, and Peter Miller, formerly head of transport information specialist ITO World, also based in Ipswich.

Although Conga is still in its pre-launch phase, it has just recruited three University of Suffolk students to join two other employees already working on the development of the digital infrastructure which will underpin the service.

It plans to operate small vehicles of 12 to 20 seats, with chaufferur-standard drivers and internet connectivity, and to combine data from open and private sources with its own visualation expertise to determine the most attractive routes liking major towns and cities.

Mr Kill said that, with a high enough frequency of service, Conga could have a disruptive impact on existing operators such as National Express and MegaBus, although the overall aim was to grow the market by attracting people who currently travel by car.

Graham Kill and Peter Miller of Conga, with their team of current and former computer game design a

Graham Kill and Peter Miller of Conga, with their team of current and former computer game design and programming students from the University of Suffolk. - Credit: Gregg Brown

This could benefit both the environment and productivity levels, and break the cycle of investing in new road capacity which was quickly filled by more new cars.

Although it took time to persuade people to change behaviour, there were signs that younger people are becoming less likely to buy a car of their own or even to obtain a licence and they could be particularly attracted to the new service, he said.

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The new recruits are Matthew Allum and Dalton Kirk, both final year students on the University of Suffolk’s computer games design course, and Daniel Jamieson, a second year student on its computer games programming course.

They will be working part-time alongside their studies, together with John Dorman, another second

year computer games programming student, and Chris Filip, a graduate of the computer games design course.

Mr Kill said: “Our relationship with, and proximity to, the various departments of the University of Suffolk is key to access great local talent.

“Matt, Dalton and Daniel are our latest recruits, who together with John and Chris all go to prove our local

university is nurturing valuable, high-skilled graduates and students.”

Peter Miller, chief technology officer at Conga, added: “Chris and John have proved extremely valuable for Conga, and I can’t wait to see how Dalton, Matthew and Daniel’s technical skills will grow over the next few months.

“Conga offers the team solid technical and business experiences that contributes to their studies; it’s a real partnership and I am sure the money is appreciated too!”

Richard Lister, vice-chancellor at the University of Suffolk, said: “We focus on preparing graduates

with the skills, critical knowledge and confidence to succeed in the contemporary employment

market.

“The five students and a graduate from University of Suffolk at Conga are a great example

of the mutually beneficial partnerships we are creating with business.”