We’re creating a platform that counts environmental and social value, as opposed to financial value. We’ll also have a closed loop payment solution that will raise money for voluntary sector organisations where it operates.
Tell us about yourself?
I’ve been thinking about how we can improve our personal and collective impact for many years. It seems to me that we keep focusing on generating financial value instead of on generating real value.
Financial growth in already developed countries is correlated with environmental and social damage. As we grow our developed economies, we also grow our use of resources, our pollution and emissions, and our social inequality.
It’s time for a change, and that’s where I think we have some really important solutions.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
Be patient – sometimes it takes time for the conditions to be right for new ideas to be understood.
What problem does your business solve?
We all know that we’ve got to change our behaviour if we’re going to avert climate change and biodiversity loss, but somehow it’s really difficult for us to get started.
Partly it’s because it feels like having to give up on the nice things we’ve worked hard for. Partly it’s because we think colleagues, friends and family would laugh at us.
Partly it’s because it seems so pointless: in the grand scheme of the global economy, what on earth difference can I make? This platform is all about making it more fun to build those new good habits. It’s also about celebrating the collective impact of our efforts.
Think of it like a Fitbit for your personal impact, combined with a social media platform focused on celebrating personal and collective efforts.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
We had been running a local currency, the Bristol Pound, for many years. That project was all about localisation. But it spoke to quite a limited audience because it expected too much of people.
Instead, this time around we want to develop something with mass appeal.
If we get lots of people starting to make some tiny changes, the impact will be much bigger than trying to get a very few people to do a lot.
What is your magic sauce?
Quite simply, nobody is doing what we’re doing! On the plus side, that means there’s really no competition.
However, it makes it very difficult to get the message out there and understood, as it’s not an idea that people are familiar with.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
First we want to build and test both the payments system and the tokenised games around behaviour change. We want to launch and test out our ideas in Bristol first. But within five years, we’d like to have rolled out the platform to 12 cities across the UK, and to Europe.
We’d like to on-board our first chain stores to the payment platform in that timeframe too. That would mean we would be starting to raise significant funds for community and voluntary groups in the cities where it operates.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
Raising funds to actually get going and build our first MVP. Because we are purpose (rather than profit) driven, we need investors who want first and foremost to make a difference over the long term.
And because what we’re doing is so novel, we need investors who are willing to go beyond the ‘tried and tested’ approach to innovation.