Barclays Black Founder Accelerator:


Envaluate Co-founders Ahmed Babikir and Sabrina Gill tell us why they joined the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator.

Tell us about Envaluate.

Envaluate enables you to login to your bank securely, track your carbon footprint and lead a greener life.  Our technology leverages open banking and our unique carbon models to estimate the environmental impact of each transaction made. We then provide users personalised metrics and tips to reduce their carbon footprint. 

Our mission is to empower people with the data they need to gain a holistic understanding of their environmental impact, vote with their £’s and lead a greener life. We envision (and hope) that carbon emissions to become a significant in decision making, in a similar way to price.

Why did you join the Barclays Black Founder Accelerator?

Building partnerships with retail banks is fundamental for us at Envaluate. This will allow to integrate our API’s into their mobile banking apps. This means we can provide carbon footprint data to a wider audience of customers, helping more people to engage with climate issues and inspire real change. 

Through joining this accelerator we're excited to be able to widen our network within the retail banking and Fintech space. Joining an accelerator at one of the UK's largest retail banks and a bank committed to innovation in the Fintech space will help us to ensure that we are truly aligned with providing the best solution for our banking customers. We're also excited to meet like-minded black founders in the tech world.

What would be your desired outcome from this programme?

Our goal is to launch a pilot with Barclays users for our carbon footprint technology. We would like to use the network to build relationships with the main stakeholders within Barclays (such as retail banking, digital product, and sustainability leads) to identify the main KPIs we would need to hit, better understand the sales cycle and consider how we can fit in to the bank's wider sustainability strategy. We would also like to pin down our revenue model whilst on the programme and find mentors and advisors who are aligned with our mission and have a good understanding of the Fintech space.

Which entrepreneur inspires you the most and why?

Ismail Ahmed, founder of WorldRemit, used a problem close to his heart to help build a company revolutionising the remittances industry; an industry at the heart of the economy of developing countries. After whistleblowing fraud at the UN and losing his job, he took the UN to court and received a payout which he used to start WorldRemit. His ethics before and during his life of entrepreneurship and his vision of helping people use tech to help improve the lives of people they care about are truly inspirational.

What has been your biggest win in your entrepreneurial journey?

In early September, we were accepted on to the Bethnal Green Ventures Tech for Good program and received an investment. The investment and our participation in their accelerator has helped us kick-start our business, produced interest from investors and given us access to a network of mentors and resources.

And your biggest challenge?

There are limitations to using Open Banking to estimate carbon footprints. The current information we get from each transaction does not tell us exactly what items you have purchased. We calculate everything on a CO2/£ basis, which puts focus on your lifestyle habits (e.g. eating out and how you travel) and where you spend (increasing the pressure on companies to be more sustainable). In the medium/long term future, we will tackle how to unlock product level data from companies, to increase the accuracy of our model estimations.

Where did you go for business advice and how did it help you?

We have been receiving ad-hoc and regular support from our immediate network of contacts (start-up founders, climate change professionals and tech professionals) and since joining Bethnal Green Ventures, we have been receiving advice from the BGV team and their network of mentors in the Tech for Good space. This has helped us refine our business model and widen our network.

What drives you to make your business a success?

The technology we are building has the opportunity to make a real impact on the world. The timing for Envaluate is crucial, as the damage we are currently causing our planet may be irreversible. We believe that people care about climate change more than ever and want to take action but it can be overwhelming. We’re motivated to make it easy for people to make a difference so that we can collectively tackle the climate emergency. 

What advice would you give other founders thinking about starting their own business?

Talk about your idea! Talk to your friends and family about your idea. The more people you speak to, the more encouragement and advice you will get in return. Before you know it, you will have built a support system for your business and a group of people willing to help you reach your goals.

Why did you want to start your business?

Ahmed and Sabrina met at Warwick University where they studied Statistics and built their passion for data. Whilst working in their roles in the finance world; Ahmed a Consultant, advising renewable energy projects and Sabrina a trader and involved in ESG matters, they realised that they wanted to use their passion for data to help make a positive impact and help tackle the climate crisis.

What do you do to relax when not working?

Ahmed's side passion is music and Sabrina's is photography. Outside of this, you'll regularly find us taking on data science projects in our spare time.

How has covid made you pivot your business?

As a software product with no supply chain impliactions, we felt minimal impact from Covid-19. Our outlook is positive as we believe Covid-19 has provided momentum and desirability for our product. The pandemic has globally tied our behaviour/health and developed a "we are in this together" mentality, similar to what is needed to avert the climate crisis. A study by YouGov showed that Britains were were concerned about the impact of climate change than coronavirus on humanity.

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