Meet The Founder | EMMA 

By Geovation Scotland

With a background in Environmental Engineering, Rural Planning and Community Development, Cindy Regalado joins our 2023 Geovation Scotland Cohort with her new venture, EMMA. 

EMMA is an early-stage start-up, with the ambition to create a digital marketplace where organisations and businesses can access public assets to aid innovation in decarbonisation, mobility, and connectivity. 

The current process can be confusing, with layers of information and different public sector bodies responsible for separate assets. This is where EMMA comes in, to make the complex easy.   

We spoke with Cindy about EMMA and her ambitions for the Geovation Scotland accelerator programme.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and give us a brief overview of EMMA?

We are surrounded by underutilised publicly owned assets (such as street furniture, pavement, buildings, etc.) that have tremendous potential to contribute to solutions for decarbonisation and connectivity. However, there is no simple mechanism for innovators to access these assets in less than 10 months to deploy their solutions due to the complexity of the process and the various local authority departments involved in granting access.

I worked with entrepreneurs in the Environmental Tech and Smart Cities sectors for many years. My work on strategic partnership building enabled me to evaluate the gaps, the needs and some of the pain points they were experiencing and that they stemmed from the same source: limited access to key resources, specifically, physical infrastructure – or public assets.

Drawing upon my background in planning, engineering, GIS as well as my knowledge of innovation ecosystems and knowledge exchange, I founded EMMA, a digital marketplace with an innovative access agreement that creates value for all involved. Through EMMA local authorities can list and lease their assets, gain income and provide solutions for communities, while businesses can gain access to the data and the assets they need to develop and deploy services and solutions that contribute to decarbonisation and connectivity. 

Based on the organisations and business I have spoken to, assets can be used in a wide variety of ways. For example, for EV-charging with stations fitted onto street lamps, e-bike charging lockers and last-mile delivery storage on pavements, spaces for vertical farming and hosting renewables, hosting 5G cells and IoT devices on streetlamps and on buildings.

What makes you excited about the problem you are solving?  

All 32 local authorities in Scotland have declared a climate emergency.  

Many solutions and technologies to address decarbonisation and connectivity are already here, so why wait to get them deployed?  

It is exciting to be a part of the process of getting solutions to our communities, homes, schools and workplaces faster – easing the pressure off councils and businesses.  

I am also motivated by the tremendous potential of using a marketplace to match local needs/challenges with targeted solutions. Equally, I’m excited about the potential that EMMA can have to level the playing field supporting small businesses and organisations to break into key sectors and deliver on decarbonisation, mobility, and connectivity.

Why did you choose the Geovation Scotland accelerator programme and what does it mean to be part of the Scottish tech start-up community?  

I was attracted to Geovation because it is a unique accelerator programme dedicated exclusively to companies using geolocation to solve pressing problems.  

The programme has developed a wide network of alumni, professionals and practitioners with concentrated knowledge at the heart of the UK geospatial ecosystem – ideal for burgeoning entrepreneurs to network, gain valuable input and insights, and technical advice and support.  

I was specifically interested in Geovation Scotland because Scotland is uniquely placed with many progressive local authorities and public sector organisations committed to decarbonisation and reducing barriers to achieving net zero.  

As an entrepreneur within the geolocation sector, it is extremely valuable to have access to this ecosystem and tremendous network, especially when you can receive targeted support, feedback, and when you get asked the difficult questions that help you and your business stay on track and remain true to your business goals. 

What are your main goals for the accelerator programme?  

During the first few weeks of the programme, I will be seeking to validate the value proposition for EMMA, refining it and narrowing the market segmentation to identify the most promising and viable end users.  

Then, I aim to conduct very targeted market research to inform the design of the first MVP (minimum viable product) and iterate it to refine it and gain paying customers.  

As EMMA is a marketplace and marketplaces have both a supply and demand side that need to be satisfied, I will look to use the second part of the programme to gather interest and momentum when addressing the challenges of the network in a way that creates value for all involved.  

In the meantime, I will be on the lookout for a co-founder who is equally passionate about what EMMA aims to achieve within the shared economy in the public sector. 

Learn more 

If you are interested in finding out more about EMMA, connect with Cindy and make sure to sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with this year’s cohort.