23rd November 2021

Net Zero Start-up Showcase

Millie Smith

In our previous blog, Meeting NetZero through Geospatial Innovation, we shared some news with you about the first half of a two-hour event that we ran, in collaboration with the Knowledge Transfer Network, for COP26 recently. We now wanted to share the second half with you – which involved a showcase of awesome companies who Geovation have supported. 

We heard from ten start-ups who have received support from Geovation and who make helping our planet and supporting sustainable living on it, their priority. Our role is to help start-ups develop, launch and grow their start-ups for positive impact. So we invited each start-up to pitch for 3 minutes, sharing how they’re delivering positive outcomes that ultimately will help us achieve our national Net Zero targets.  

KTN Net Zero Event

 

The start-ups we heard from were LandTech, BioCap, BKWai, Folarity, The Land App, Skyroom, Terrafirma, Topolytics, Travel AI and Urban Intelligence, and below is a summary of each companies pitch: 

 

LandTech – Grace Manning Marsh  

LandTech was born out of a recognition around the significant impact the real-estate industry has on the planet. The sector is responsible for 40% of the worlds energy consumption and more than 30% of global annual greenhouse gas emissions. LandTech’s mission is to empower real estate developers with the tools to make the right decisions throughout the development process that are sustainable. They’re 140 people strong and growing and believe with the right data we can make the right sustainable decisions. 

At LandTech, they’re on a mission to shine a light on issues across the sector by advocating a more open data landscape globally. Finding the right land is crucial to raising an environmentally friendly and sustainable real estate eco-system. Re-using buildings is much more sustainable than building new ones. LandTech’s pledge is to represent change in the global real-estate community, promote a progressive sustainability policy across their own business and call for a transparent global data landscape to better connect regulators and developers with data working as the enabler.  

  

BioCap – Ed Cooper  

Set up in April 2020, BioCap is a social enterprise and charity working out how they can use natural solutions in the farmed landscape to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. Founder Ed Cooper believes natural solutions will have a clear role in climate change mitigation. Now that there are a number of carbon linked targets, there is a need to have a shared, coherent, and balanced vision of what to do and where to do it.  

BioCap is seeking to establish a trusted local marketplace for carbon offsetting and biodiversity net gain. Informed by data and local knowledge they’re involving key local players and engaging local communities. They’re developing the approach, platform and methodology and building future capacity to manage the local countryside. They’ve built a trusted system that is being piloted in West Berkshire and they want to replicate the model for different regions. They’re currently seeking resources and funds to prove the model and start engaging with other regions.  

 

BKWai – Sakthy Selvakumaran 

Sakthy is the founder and CEO of BKWai, she has been in the construction industry for over 10 years and so is well aware the sector is under utilising a wealth of data that is available. The construction industries are one of the biggest contributors to carbon and climate change is damaging structures. BKWai are providing data insights, combining data from various sources (including: local environmental and satellite data) and aims to provide insights into people’s hands quickly.  

The system they have developed works before the construction phase, during planning, making use of historical data to better inform decisions, ultimately helping us work towards our net zero ambitions.  

  

Folarity – Martin Warne 

Martin Warne joined our Geovation Scotland Accelerator Programme, with a simple mission: to help increase the tree cover of the UK. Folarity aims to help forest managers by bringing key stakeholders together to access the data they need. The easy-to-use system (called Forest Planner) he has developed aims to help forest managers get “more of the right trees in the right places”. They built Forest Planner with forest managers, to fit into their current work without them having to adopt to a new methodology. It works by bringing key stakeholders together so everyone is on the same page and has access to the data they need. Providing a central hub and easy to use system to help forest managers get more trees in the ground. 

They have also worked on developing an eco-system tracker, designed to help the planning monitoring of shared ecosystems. Folairity are currently looking for more organisations to work with especially people keen to use the eco-system tracker. If you’d like to know more, please reach out to them. 

 

The Land App – Tom Pearson 

The Land App is an intuitive cloud-based mapping platform which uses spatial data to catalyse natural capital markets. Our landscapes are becoming rapidly degraded, yet funding for farmers and landowners is in decline. The Land App can become the key that unlocks a sustainable future for the UK and beyond. Now is the time to connect funders to landowners.  

Tom and the Land App has teamed up with several partners including, Ordnance Survey, to provide an instant best guess of what habitat currently exists. Their easy-to-use GIS system makes preparing for future funding effortless and inspiring. There is over 45% of English farmland mapped within The Land App network, including land managers, farmers, facilitators, estates and rural professionals. If you want to invest in groups that mobilise farmers or have an understanding of how nature based solutions can help achieve your goals, get in touch with The Land App. 

  

Skyroom – Arthur Kay 

Arthur introduced Skyroom with a simple and impactful statement: ‘Buy land, they’re not making it anymore’ (Mark Twain).  

He went on to tell us that in London, when buying a typical house or flat, 70% of cost is taken up by the land, so they set up Skyroom to try and solve this problem. Skyroom is an award-winning technology, design, and development company that helps major landowners maximise the economic, social, and environmental value of their portfolio. They do it by originating, designing, and delivering airspace developments above existing buildings. Over half the land in London is owned by large organisations, not individuals. So, Skyroom are looking to partner with major landowners to help them deliver airspace developments above their existing buildings. Please get in touch with them if you are interested in partnering with them. 

 

Terra Firma – Dr Timothy Farewell 

Tim introduced himself before stating that there are increasing risks to property and infrastructure, from ground hazards. Terra Firma are looking to address this by working with insurance companies and mortgage lenders, helping them to understand hidden ground hazards and how these are going to change with our changing climate.  

All the companies they work with are facing hidden and costly ground and climate risks and they don’t all know that they’re currently at risk. The Terra Firma science team helps them to understand and quantify their changing risk that will come with climate change, so they can reduce it. There are several different types of ground hazards, coastal erosion, subsidence, landslides and mines and voids for example.  

Terra Firma helps to identify the types of hazards that will be impacting on properties at different points in time and help people to come to sensible decisions about the risk they want to take when investing in a property. Reach out to them if you want to discuss the hazards impacting on your investments and property and quantify the risks that could be impacting them in the coming years.  

 

Topolytics – Michael Grove 

Michael introduced his award-winning company by stating that more than 60% of waste ends its life in landfill or leaks into the environment. This is mainly because of poor visibility across the global waste system – data is siloed and highly variable in quality and so this hampers value maximisation across the waste supply chain. Topolytics want to build a better version of the truth and they’re doing that through their data platform called WasteMap. Topolytics is a leading player in the growing £3.3bn global smart waste management market. 

WasteMap uses mapping and machine learning to make the waste system more transparent, more efficient, and more effective commercially and environmentally. WasteMap is for waste producers who generate operational or post-consumer waste, recyclers and brokers that move and transform waste material, and governments & cities that operate or regulate the waste sector and set policy. Get in touch with Topolytics if you want to find out more about what they’re doing.   

  

TravelAi – Zac  

TravelAi are on a mission to accelerate the decarbonisation and optimisation of transport. They have harnessed multi-modal, multi-country data that’s privacy and GDPR compliant and to date, have successfully delivered over £3.3m in projects.  

Zac went on to state that ’we can’t manage what we don’t measure’ and as the biggest emitter, transport needs tackling. That is why TravelAi created CarbonDiem – an automatic emissions tracking app – which makes it effortless to compute some of the hardest emissions for corporate ESG/Scope 3 reporting. It aims to empower individuals to make informed decisions. The CarbonDiem app (we love the name by the way) measures carbon, encourages multi-modal and sustainable travel and empowers people. It is also, a personalised, automatic and effortless, non-judgemental service.  

They are currently launching CarbonDiem EV, a tool to help accelerate the ICE-to-EV migration, and they’re seeking EV & charging network partners and seed investors in Fintech, ESG/Greentech and mobility.  

  

Urban Intelligence – Daniel Mohamed 

Urban Intelligence are championing data-driven planning to hit net zero. They are a property technology business, who collect and analyse data to help support the science of planning and development. They’re also building tools to visualise and model this data and use databases as opposed to documents, which increases the currency and accuracy of the data.  

They’re widening their offer to show people the pros and cons that are going to be necessary to make sustainable decisions. Encouraging planners and citizens to make wiser longer-term decisions by providing simpler information on potential development impact. They aim to encourage further engagement and awareness of the planning process and help people make smarter decisions with the future in mind.  Daniel and his team are currently looking for companies who are wanting to look at a smarter way to do their planning. 

 

Discussion

The start-up showcase stimulated audience questions and discussions including: 

What is an outcome of COP26 that would most help you with your own vision that you’re trying to achieve?  

Views shared, included how there hasn’t been enough of a focus on materials in relation to carbon emissions and the products going into the waste system, which is a significant contributor to carbon emissions.  

 

What do you see as the biggest blocker to developing geospatial products that address climate change issues?  

Businesses rely on good quality data, there is so much more that we need in the marketplace. There isn’t enough data and in the planning system alone, people struggle to track how many homes have been built. There is some data that can help, but there is still work that needs to be done to improve the data.  

Still on the subject of data, but in the area of ecology, there is a wealth of data available, but people can’t access it, so it’s just sitting there and not being utilised effectively. This data needs to be more readily available, and there are business models that are stopping this from happening.  

 

We were delighted to hear how all the start-ups who kindly gave presentations are actively contributing to making a positive impact on our Net Zero Goals. All of whom are finding new innovative ways to tackle problems, that will contribute to a more sustainable future.

 

Watch the recording to hear everything our start-ups said in our Hitting Net Zero through Geospatial Innovation talk here.