We’re finding out more about the founder behind BioCap – one of the startups to join our Accelerator Programme in cohort 11.
Q: Who are the founders of your startup, and what are your backgrounds?
A: I, Ed Cooper, founded BioCap. I originally trained as an engineer working in agriculture and contracts/project management before retraining in conservation management. I set up and ran countryside projects and managed the restoration of the former USAF Greenham Common airbase from cold war military site back to open countryside. I then cofounded a consultancy and worked on publicly funded contracts to support high growth early stage businesses culminating in the operation of an accelerator and business angle network at Henley Business School. I then decided to move back to the conservation/environmental sector and in April 2020 set up BioCap. I also manage the Thames Valley Artificial Intelligence Meetup with approx. 800 followers.
Q: Tell us the story behind your startup – why did you start your company?
A:Upon the closure of VitalSix Ltd in September 2019 I read a report from the Crowther Institute calling for the planting of trees across the globe to capture carbon. I began to wonder what our local response to such a call for tree planting should be and started to research what was going on in the UK. I then realised that the UK was busily writing strategies and calling for action but that nobody was providing any leadership or vision for how we should manage our countryside to deal with the climate and biodiversity emergencies that we are in.
I set up BioCap to create a mapped vision for a region that would enable and facilitate action on the ground.
Q: What does success look like for you?
A: Success would be a well-established local organisation offsetting carbon emissions and enhancing biodiversity through community action and ownership. This would then be triggering other localities to use the technology and methodology to map the UK and quantify carbon capture and Biodiversity gains through Nature based interventions in our countryside.
Q: What’s your biggest achievement so far, and why?
A: My biggest achievement with BioCap is quickly building credibility and getting a strong partnership together. My biggest achievement personally was the opening the restored Greenham Common to the public and protecting the site in perpetuity through a Local Act of parliament.
Q: What are your plans for your startup over the next six months?
A: My plans for the next six months are:
- Prove the Opportunity Map concept can work
- Gain traction at a National Level
- Raise a further 2 years of funding and/or have a sustainable business model
- Establish West Berkshire BioCap in such a way that it does not require my day to day involvement
- Have identified a route to national roll out
Q: Tell us something interesting about yourself!
A: I Cycle and Sea Kayak. Kayaked across to Lundy island. I have helped draft an Act of Parliament, have attended the Court of Appeal, given evidence to a Gov committee, built Newbury Canoe Club, and managed large teams on Oil refinery shutdowns. I have milked cows, lambed sheep and helped to raise approx. £30m of external investment and funding into a variety of businesses.