1 August 2022
Please tell us about your entrepreneurial journey before starting Climax Community
After 20 years of a successful corporate career in global blue chip organisations, I turned my ambitions towards growing small and medium sized technology companies. Having succeeded in a variety of roles in companies within different industries, I have a rare understanding of a range of business environments. I am extremely thankful for the knowledge and networks that I have gained through my career and I am proud to bring them to Climax Community.
Climax Community started from the critical need to fight climate change. What gave you the idea?
Everyone has a different trigger or tipping point. For my co-founder it was during a trip to Iceland, seeing the remembrance plaque of the Okjokull glacier. For me, the idea of “spring” not arriving and living in barren lands beset by water shortages, has been a fear since I was very young. Why it took me so long to embark upon a project to help tackle the greatest issue facing our planet (and humanity), is a question I often ponder upon. There are many environmental issues, but regardless of technological developments, we won’t be able to turn the clock back on global warming. I know that ‘climate guilt’ is not uncommon among people of my generation – we need to transform those emotions into action. That’s why Climax Community plans to become a global community of change-makers, bringing together all stakeholders to work collectively to reduce global warming.
How is Climax Community empowering individuals, households and small businesses to create a global community?
The UK as a country has committed to be net zero by 2050, which is a good step. Let’s hope that these commitments are strengthened rather than watered down, by whoever our next Prime Minister will be. Many local authorities have also declared a climate emergency and committed to net zero targets by 2030 for themselves and by 2050 for regional emissions. As we all know, pledging such commitments is one thing, achieving them is quite another. That is where Climax Community comes in.
Our carbon management platform, Climate Essentials, helps different stakeholders, such as organisations with large supply chains, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and local authorities to embark on their net zero journeys in a very affordable and easy to understand way, without belittling the science and with collaboration and community at its core. That is why Climate Essentials is an integrated and multi-stakeholder platform which creates unique data insights across business ecosystems, enabling pro-active, targeted and successful climate action.
It’s a bit like climbing a mountain, once you’ve committed to it, the hard work begins. So, our platform creates tailor-made carbon reduction plans for businesses, making that journey more accessible and attainable. In the future, we will offer the same service to individuals and households.
Where would you like Climax Community to be in five years?
Given our current uptake rate and the momentum we’re already gaining in regions across the UK, we will grow into a big data company over the next three years. The more data we have, the more it will create deeper insights into regional and industry emissions, on the back of which we’ll be able to drive really great and impactful campaigns.
That is not just true here in the UK but also in other geographies. Europe and the USA are obvious expansion targets and we are already in talks with selected Asian countries for market entry. International growth will be a key objective over the coming years and we will have an extensive network of offices by 2027, taking our approach and collaboration over data to the global community to accelerate impact.
You are also a Director of Waterbridge Capital, a VC firm. How do you manage to combine both roles?
Yes, I’ve been a Director at Waterbridge Capital for almost ten years now. It’s a small private venture firm that very selectively starts and builds technology companies. Climax Community is itself a technology start-up, so there’s no conflict between the goals and mentalities of the two companies. In fact, my experience at Waterbridge Capital is very complementary. The expertise and networks that Waterbridge has enabled me to develop, opens up opportunities for Climax Community that would not otherwise be accessible.
What piece of advice would you offer a founder looking for investment?
Sometimes I think that public perceptions of what it is like to be an entrepreneur are a bit unrealistic. While founding a business is exciting, it is also extremely hard work. I could talk about this forever, but if I had to highlight just three personal insights, they would be:
Do not embark on this journey alone. Surround yourself with competent and trustworthy co-founders and advisors whose skills and experience are complementary to yours. Secondly, funding! Keeping a company financially afloat is oftentimes harder than anticipated. Fundraising is an art and massively time consuming. Factoring that in is of utmost importance. Thirdly, building a network of supporters early on and surrounding yourself with people who have networks that you can access is crucial. Entrepreneurs have to be incredibly creative in how they draw in support from all kinds of sources, a good network forms the foundation for that.
What has been the most challenging and enjoyable part of your career to date?
Something I still find challenging is the need to constantly ‘sell’ yourself, to succeed in the world of business. Sometimes this feels counterintuitive to me – I’d rather just get on with the job at hand! Of course, you have to believe in yourself and your team if you’re going to be successful. Demonstrating that self-belief to others is important. However, there are these moments of doubt when pushing ahead with confidence and conviction is challenging.
The most enjoyable part of my career is not just building great companies, but more so, building amazing teams of people who make up the company. Being surrounded by highly talented and passionate people who work well together and propel themselves and the company forward is just the best part of what I do.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?
Personally, I don’t tend to single out individuals for their entrepreneurial genius, as I think the sort of personality cults that have emerged around ‘super-hero’ entrepreneurs are misplaced. The entrepreneurs that I admire the most are the unsung business owners that have quietly built well-run, quality businesses that provide a genuinely beneficial product or service. These are the businesses that form the base of our economy, and I know that founding, growing and maintaining a resilient business is no easy task.
People tend to focus on large, multinational corporations, and this is also the case when it comes to tackling climate change. However, there are around 6 million SMEs in the UK, and they are vital players when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. The problem is that small businesses often lack the resources, time and money to take climate action. With support, SMEs can contribute to a 50% reduction of UK carbon emissions by 2030. That’s why, at Climax Community, we believe it is essential to provide the tools to make net-zero an achievable target for businesses of all sizes.