Before you create a company to launch your amazing idea, be honest with yourself: is there really a need for this?
The lure of entrepreneurship can be difficult for many to resist. Yet with the majority of startups failing within three years, and many in the first six months, it is important to ensure you have a clear differentiator – or you may pay the price down the line.
“Don’t create a company for the sake of it: be sure you fill an existing gap on the market,” advises Rachel Delacour, CEO and co-founder of Sweep.
She adds to TechBlast: “Don’t overthink when you launch: focus on collecting as much feedback as possible and sell, sell, sell.”
Delacour is the brains behind a carbon management platform, based in France, which has just raised £16.7 million in Series A funding.
It is targeting further growth in the UK, with plans to triple the size of its team in its second-largest market. Currently around a quarter of its remote team is based here, including co-founder Rapahel Güller, as London “remains the financial heart of Europe – despite Brexit”.
Delacour’s clear objective for the company is to help large enterprises lower their carbon footprint and form a path to net zero.
“The market is ripe, the demand is real. Large companies have made their carbon pledges public and are now held accountable by investors, customers, employees and regulators,” she explains. “Not only do they need to measure their footprint across their entire organisation and supply chains, but they also have to report on their progress regularly and transparently.
“These are massive pain points for large companies and they need a tool with the capacity to manage carbon emissions at their scale. That’s where we come in. We see carbon as a network problem.
“That’s why we’ve built Sweep to connect a company to all stakeholders directly or indirectly contributing to its footprint. That way, they can set carbon targets together and take reduction action effectively.”
Delacour says the biggest hurdle to growth has been the maturity of the market, although it only launched in April. “But since we launched, everything has been accelerating incredibly fast, quarter after quarter,” she adds.
“We’ve leveraged our team’s background in business intelligence and carbon science to create an enterprise-grade solution that allows for a granular, securely shared and transparent approach to carbon management.
“We keep listening to our customers, educate our community and grow our team with the best minds in carbon and data. It’s just the beginning. We are building the world’s largest carbon management platform connecting companies committed to tackling climate change and getting to planetary net zero.”
Tech VC Balderton Capital led the Series A, with participation from New Wave, La Famiglia and 2050.
Earlier this month, Sweep was one of the few companies selected to present at COP26 at the UK Cabinet’s Tech for Our Planet program, which showcases the technologies designed to help reach global net-zero targets.
For this pilot, Sweep worked with French investment bank Bpifrance to measure the footprints of two companies it is investing in: telecommunications firm Orange and education tech company Openclassrooms.
While the investing, lending and underwriting activities of financial organisations are far higher than their direct emissions, just 25% report these portfolio emissions.
“It’s clear that UK companies have realised the urgency of taking climate actions, but they need the right technology to build and implement an effective climate programme,” continues Delacour.