What is the, like a key advice that you would give, uh, as an entrepreneur? Be in love with, um, with, with a problem, not with your solution. It’s super important to go for a purpose and the money will take care of, uh, itself. And also take your time to, to, to understand your target audience, right. Um, there’s a great book called The Mom’s Test, uh, by Rob Fitzpatrick, and that tells you how to go through that process of understanding, um, the pinch points of, of your target audience and, and how to help them.
You are listening to Bricks and Bikes podcast, where we take you on a journey in construction, technology, and business. Alright, let’s get this episode started.
So AD Andrea, how does someone go from Broom Beer to founding a startup in the construction industry? Yeah, it’s a long and winding road really. But, uh, may, maybe I can start one step before brewing beer. It’s, the reason I went into brewing beer was basically my disappointment with a big corporate world, right?
Uh, 10 years ago even. Um, The, uh, CMO of the company I was working for was still selling things like, oh, we need to sell more stuff to more people for more money more often. Uh, and you think, come on, surely there’s something else out there. Right? So I wanted to have a bit of a positive impact in the world.
And, uh, the beer that we, that, that we still make, uh, at Crumbs Brewing, uh, is made out of bread that would go out, uh, to waste. So using the circular economy, uh, there, um, it, it has a purpose. It appear with a purpose, right? And I went on to help. Then after that, uh, making B is a, is a tough industry, by the way.
It’s very competitive. Everybody and their neighbor in 2000 and, uh, and 16 or 17 when we started, had, had, had, had a, [00:02:00] a micro brewery or, or a craft brewing company or something like that. Um, so it’s a tough world, uh, and it was difficult to scale it up, but now it’s kind of a good kind of lifestyle business for my co-founder and his wife, have still got some shares and, uh, and, and still keep, uh, keep on involved, but not on the day-to-day anymore.
Uh, but from then I went on to help other companies. Uh, we did a very successful crowdfunding campaign with, with, with the beer company. Uh, I did another one for charity. Uh, and, and people started asking me, how do you do crowdfund? And, and I helped quite a few companies with that. Um, and some of those companies ask me a bit more than just doing the crowdfunding, but, but getting a bit more hands-on involved.
Uh, um, and all of them usually, uh, were, were with, the ones I, I got involved with that were the ones that, that, that went for that impact, right? So I spent two years, for example, as a first employee of Polytech working on the packaging circular economy. And then, yeah, the opportunity to join Carbon 13, that we, we can talk about Carbon 13 a bit more if you want.
Uh, came up. Um, so that’s when I started, uh, um, my company in the construction industry really, uh, as, as part of that process. Mm-hmm. Nice. And um, You mentioned Carbon 13, so you may as well ask how whereabouts did that, uh, derive from? So Carbon 13 is a venture builder, uh, which means that they’re putting together co-founders, uh, some of them more with a technical, uh, angle.
Some of them with my commercial angle. I was there as a commercial co-founder, um, and uh, we were in the fourth cohort. So it’s still quite a relatively linear venture builder based in Cambridge. And the main objective that, that it has, that venture builder is to create companies that can tackle the climate emergency.
Um, so the target that each one of those companies need to show that they can tackle is 10 million tons of CO2 per year. So I went there maybe thinking that I would be working on, uh, on, on food or on biodiversity, or even [00:04:00] on packaging, something that I’ve done before. Yeah. And, uh, ended up. Talking a lot with Michael, co-founder, who was really keen on, uh, on building offsite construction, um, homes.
Really. So, um, so yeah. Um, that, that’s where it started really. All right, cool. So you sound like a entrepreneurial mindset. Um, so based on all of these various, uh, types of experiences you had, what is like a key advice that you would give, uh, as an entrepreneur to people? So there, there’s several things I, uh, we could mention here.
One is that be in love with, um, With, with a problem, not with your solution. Right. Uh, because for example, for Carbon 13, having that ambitious 10 million tons of CO2 per year. Um, We, we started thinking, oh, why don’t we build homes using offsite construction methods, right. Or more methods of construction.
Um, and then realized we needed to build 160,000 homes per year to get to the 10 million tons of CO2 per year. So so’s and the government can, uh, governments target. Yeah, that’s pretty much hack. Exactly. 10 times Barrett Homes? Uh, probably not, not, not, not, not in our lifetime. Probably not. Um, so that’s when we pivoted more on, okay, if, if we want to tackle the climate emergency in the construction industry, we take, need to take a role more facilitator, right?
So, so the problem was clear decarbonizing. The industry, but, but then you come in with a more of a role of facilitator. Um, again, you know, for me, uh, we were talking about it just before we, we started recording, but, uh, it’s super important to go for a purpose and the money will take care of, uh, itself. Um, And also take your time to, to, to understand your target audience, right?
Um, there’s a great book called The Mom’s Test, uh, by Rob Fitzpatrick. Uh, that tells you how to go through that process of understanding, um, the pinch points of, of your target audience and, and how to help them. Um, [00:06:00] another thing that, that, that we’ve been doing a lot is to iterate super fast, uh, and show it to the target audience.
Once we have identified those pinch points, um, start showing things to our customers, right. Um, and we did that because neither my co-founder or I were technical and we have a CTO O in the team, but he’s only part-time. Um, we used a lot local tools, uh, especially one called Noodle, uh, and a lot of chat really to, to do prototype.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. You can’t avoid it. And, and that was our first hire we always joke about, right? It’s paying him 20, qui $20 a month. That that’s a bargain. Insane value. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Insane value. Um, so we are now testing that thing that we’ve put together, uh, with Noodle and, and and t mainly, uh, with the selection of developers.
Um, and, and another thing as well, it is incredible how much people. Are keen to help. Um, so, so don’t be shy to ask for favors, right? Um, especially at the beginning. People are keen to help. And, and then related to that, it’s very, very true that all ad HR that says, ask for investment and you’ll get advice.
I ask advice and you’ll get investment. And in fact, two of those early. People that we were asking advice for are becoming one of our people in, in our, um, I angel round basically. So, so that’s, that’s, that’s that’s very true. Cool. And, and are there any, like, obviously you’ve worked in with quite a diverse background in different industries and you mentioned that you’ve thought you would be working in something like food or diversity or packaging and construction.
Took you, took you Yeah. Um, but they only insights from the other industries that you have found. That you can, that can be relayed into construction specifically, and bonus points if you can relate, uh, Um, beer brewing. Ooh, dear Beru is gonna be a, a big bonus point, but it’s almost a cliche and, and everybody mentions it, but the, uh, construction industry is behind in many respects to other industry.
Um, things like the circular economy, for example. Okay. Uh, there, there you are. That’s, that’s the analogy with my beer brand. Uh, we were using bread and I would go into, into waste to do, um, to, to, to, to, to, to do our beer. You could probably use some waste. Products to do material, construction materials really.
Um, and there’s a few very interesting companies that we’re engaging with that are doing a bit of that as well. Um, but things like sustainability, the industry lacks behind massively. Um, a lot of the manufacturing principles that have been around 400 years plus, uh, with, with the 40 right, have not been applied to the construction industry either.
Um, but even at, at a more ba basic level, just at the level of digitization of of, of the whole industry lacks behind many other industries. That’s for sure. Hmm. Hmm. Okay. Uh, Aja, so let’s chat about Heti. So Heti is your latest venture whose mission is to remove the barriers to modern method of construction called m c, uh, and this is to reduce the carbon impact on buildings and operating homes.
So can you explain what M mmcs are and how you want to reduce the carbon impact, uh, on homes that we live in? So at testing we go with THEC definition, uh, framework, uh, which was created by cast consultancy together with homes, England and H B C Ricks and a few others. Um, it’s not very well understood outside of the uk, but it’s becoming a bit of a standard in the uk.
So this definition framework has seven categories of MMC from category one, which is, uh, 3D volumetric. Um, these big boxes on the back of a Laurie to category two, which is structural systems like panels, uh, to these structural systems like panels. And then you go to other categories like 3D printing, even down to category seven, which are process led site, labor reduction sort of of things.
Right? Um, And another important concept that the framework introduces is pre-manufactured value p and v, which is a percentage of how much of the value of the home is produced in a factory as opposed to onsite. Right? Um, so, so, so we are looking at that. We’re focusing on categories one and two for the moment.
So, so volumetric and, and panels and pushing PMBs might as we can. The reason why we do it, as with our Northstar of decarbonizing, the industry is that, um, MMC has a lot of advantages versus conventional or traditional construction on that front, right? Uh, from the use of materials that you can to less waste, for example, and producing very, very efficient homes.
A lot of the people that are going for kind of passive house standard homes use a lot of offsite manufacturing for that reason. Um, just to make sure that the houses are tight, uh, air tight, and, and there, there, there are no, um, Turmo bridges, things like that. Right. So, so, so yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s why we, we have the, the hunch that Im m c has a, a big role to play on decarbonizing the whole, the whole industry.
Mm-hmm. And do you think that, um, like modular construction, um, volumetric construction is like, where do you think we are in a cycle? Cause we spoke to people in here that have worked in it for like 20 years. I mean, there’s obviously more hype around it as of recently. And obviously you guys are attack, like on a startup venture to, to, uh, tackle that in some respects.
Do you think we’re adopting it well, or, or, uh, Room for improvement, uh, from our experience to visiting quite a few of the big guys in, uh, in, in category one, um, they’re still startups, which is quite surprising, right? They’re, they’re still burning through a lot of cash, uh, and a lot of cash from, from homes, England as well, some of them.
Um, so public money. Um, and it’s because, um, There’s still a lot of questions about how you produce volume at a, at a very efficient in, in a very efficient way. Right. Um, and the proof is in the pudding as well, that just last week, l and g, one of the big guys that were doing volumetric category one homes, um, decided to close their factory, right.
Uh, relaying 450 people. So it’s still a tough, tough industry. Um, there’s quite a lot of people that, that are. Uh, betting hard on category two, uh, panels because they are more, they have some advantages as well. Um, you can flat pack them, you can transport them much more efficiently. You’re not transporting air when you transport them.
You don’t have to have that. They don’t have to be structurally sound to kind of, um, crane them in and out of places. Right. Um, so, so, so, so Qatari one has a big, big role to play as well. Um, having said that, you know, there, there, there are. Uh, there is money from the government. The government is, uh, homes England specialist.
Quite convinced that that, that that is the way to, um, go around certain pressures in the market. Like for, for example, the shortage of skilled labor. It’s a massive, massive issue for most, uh, sm e developers or, or, Developers of any size, actually. Um, they’re struggling with skilled labor. Uh, and another one is costs as well.
Um, with volume should come the cost, uh, even though we’re still there or thereabouts in terms of cost parity. Mm-hmm. Uh, with category one, at least category two in some, in many cases, can, can, can come even below, um, traditional. Um, and, and we are seeing it on, on the early, um, Feasibility studies that we are doing with our prototype.
Um, right. That category two has, has a bit of a cost advantage there as well, especially because you can shorten the, uh, onsite time quite a lot, and then you have less implications of your finances. You’re paying those finances for less months. Um, so, so, so it can have a, a role there, uh, quite interestingly, but, but yeah, it’s still.
It’s still a very entrepreneurial sort of environment and with, with, with massive failures. Like, like, you know, last year, urban Splash or this, this last week, but before we are recording this, uh, with L N G. Hmm. So what is the reason for, um, like industry not having, um, having m m having MMC more widely, uh, used within, within construction there, there is an.
For the housing. Right. That’s that everyone is clear about it. There is a demand from housing. Yes. Better quality housing as well. UHC seems like they would provide that by mm-hmm. Also manufacturing. Um, yeah. If you can point out a few, few areas, what’s, what are the reasons for, for problems with, so the, the, it is a bit of a chicken and egg problem there.
Right? Um, especially if you go for big CapEx intensive investment on factories. Um, you need a, a very reliable pipeline of projects that you can be relying on to keep the feeding the beast, as they call it, right? Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Um, just, just, just really keeping those fixed costs that, that, that, um, that, that those massive factories have, uh, at, at bay almost, right?
Um, so, so there’s a problem of pipeline, um, and the pipeline is not there a lot of the times because, The, uh, the developers don’t know what options are out there, right? They know what they know. They’ve always worked their way. Um, they know that they can deliver for, uh, a certain, uh, number of pounds per square meter, uh, with their methods and, and, and, and, and, and that’s it.
Right? So that’s what one of the things that we’re trying to break down with Hesty, right? Uh, um, putting them in front of. Those options in front of those SME developers very early on in the process, right after they have identified a site. Um, and, and explain them why those, uh, solutions can be useful for their site, uh, in terms of saving them time, labor, um, carbon, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Okay. So, and just diving a little bit deeper then into Hesty itself, um, we can get onto the, I guess the, the product a little bit more. So, um, [00:16:00] but how. How did you guys come up with the idea? So the, the idea came up from that constraint of Carbon 13, right? Uh, Henry came to Carbon 13 thinking, oh, come on, let, let’s do some super efficient, um, low-carbon homes.
Let’s, let’s actually build them right. And, and then you come up with this big barrier of the 10 million tons, 160,000 funds per year. And then you think, how can you be a facilitator? And we started talking to a lot of people, um, especially SME Builders, but also housing associations, uh, also experts in the field.
Uh, also other people that are with their own B2B SaaS products are, um, targeting the same audience. People like, uh, Lantech or Search Land on the kind of sourcing. Um, the sites for, for, for development, um, and coming up with, with, uh, with, with that pinch point, which is, uh, the feasibility assessment that some other people are doing.
But how do you pair it up with those, uh, manufacturers? Uh, of, of, of site, uh, ho homes, right. Uh, MMC in general. Um, so, so that’s where we come in, right? So, so we will produce, we, we are producing already, uh, site visibility assessments with, uh, kind of a baseline of traditional methods, uh, and then comparing it to, to what?
Um, To, to, to what can be delivered through category one and to providers. We have onboarded, um, seven, um, manufacturers, and we’ve got like probably another 10 in the, in the, in the pipeline to be onboarded in, into our platform. Um, and the idea is that, and, and the power of hetic comes from incorporating a lot, lots of.
Data layers, right? So, so, so we’ve been incorporating DA data. We, we are already presenting data on house prices on the area, on demographics, which types of homes sell better in that area, um, to then pro provide that visibility assessment, right? Uh, we are providing also the data from, from all of the manufacturers, obviously.
Um, And as part of the GeoVision accelerator, we can talk a bit more about that. Um, but, but we will be incorporating data from the owner survey and land registry as well, so you can have a very clear picture of what can be developed in that area, what’s the most efficient way of doing it. Um, also data from, from, uh, all of the planning authorities.
So, so, so if you develop a home, home in Chichester, you’ll, you’ll know that, um, The threshold for, uh, affordable homes is 11. So if you go over 11, you’ll start to need to think about affordable housing, things like that. Um, so, so, so, so doing that, um, kind of go, no go sort of, uh, visibility study early on, um, with me, traditional methods and also, uh, with, with, uh, MMC providers.
Yeah. It sounds like a smart platform for developers to choose. Um, Type of development on a particular site? Um, sorry, type of construction for a particular site, right? Correct. So traditionally I think it only based on my experience I’ve got, it works like that, that the developer, small, medium site developer, um, uh, would say that, okay, I’m gonna build it in timber because I know how timber works, how to build it.
Or another one would say, okay, this will be cavity walls and this is my. Um, number of pounds per square, square meter. Yeah. And that’s what I would get. Like, um, I think they would be, it’s difficult to, uh, to kill this mindset of the developer unless they are showed that there is, um, uh, value added to it in terms of the reduced cost of the construction.
Hmm. Do you think that m and uh, a motor method of construction can be cheaper than traditional ways of, of building? And what are your thoughts on this? Um, it, it is cheaper already in some category to, uh, instances. Category one, still tricky. What you can do is short and massively the construction times, right?
But, but we, we came to the idea after a very intense customer discovery phase, right? And, and when you look at the key pinch coins of, uh, the target audience, uh, sourcing line is always a problem. Planning is a massive problem for them. Uh, skill labor is a massive for everyone planning. Yes. They’re not our favorite people.
Uh, brick layers are a strong competitor. Planners. I think, uh, um, inflation is another one, right? So, so how do we tackle all those pinches, right? If you want. Yeah. Um, and, and with planning, for example, we, we, uh, with, with planners being more sensitive to, uh, things like sustainability and delivering a low impact, um, Um, a scheme or whatever that is.
Um, then, then, then we believe that by, um, providing the s m e developer with all the information from the, from the manufacturer, they’ll be able to sp expedite and, and make that planning process much more, much more, uh, much more efficient, right? The skill labor, again, um, if they can avoid, um, having to bring in a lot of brick layers, um, then, then, then, then that, that is, that is definitely a benefit for them.
Right. Um, as I said, you know, it’s, um, those assessments, accurate assessments, comparison, side to side with other options that they don’t have the time in. All those SME developers to research will give them all that research already done for them. Uh, they can choose the most effective and sustainable manufacturers there.
So, I, I agree with you, Martin. It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s a changing mindset of people that have done this for 20 years. Not easy, but, um, What we’ve seen from our discussions with them is that they know there’s a better way of doing things. It’s just that they don’t have the time, they don’t want to experiment.
Sometimes they’re a bit risk averse, um, but they know that there are better ways. So, so if you can show them the way, um, hopefully. Uh, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll, we’ll have with that problem of decarbonization, of, of, of the en environment. Of the, of the giving. Yeah. I think that’s the key to unlocking it. Like what, like in our episode we discussed with, um, Ken Simler, who, who is um, big into modular construction is, is like trying to convince someone that has built three or four, well, is, is in the US terms, but three or four homes, turn over a nice business, like have a happy family and doing well to then try and tell ’em they’ve gotta go and retrain for a year to, uh, go and.
Build modular. So it’s a very hard sell. So I think the key to unlocking it is to really like, see some success that companies are having and then, um, apply it to the projects that like these SMEs are working on. Because, you know, as we’ve construction and, and any change, people don’t like taking the risks.
So you go and do a modular construction project and something goes wrong, then they’re gonna be like, oh, well I told you so, or what There’s or modular’s fault and like the reputation. Drops as a result. Absolutely. Um, Hesty, uh, Andrea, so you guys are, um, currently working, you, you’re in the Ovation Accelerator, is that right?
That’s correct, yeah. That, that’s gonna been, that’s been one of the key wins to date. Um, we went through the process of Carbon 13, um, unfortunately was a super competitive cohort and we didn’t get the investment from them. Uh, but, but then quite, quite, quite almost, uh, in succession. We, we got into the GeoVision Accelerator, uh, which was amazing for us.
Um, it comes with a bit of grant money, which is, uh, taking a bit of the pressure of our personal runways, obviously. It’s not a bad thing, that’s for sure. Uh, but most important it comes with all the support from, from the ordinance survey and the line registry. The Ovation was set up by the ordinance survey, uh, with the idea of promoting startups to use or, or helping startups to use that data.
They’ve got. A lot of data, obviously, uh, the survey, uh, and then land registry a couple of, of, of years ago became again, uh, became their, their official partner as well. Right. So, so we can have access to who owns what, uh mm-hmm. In, in, in, around the uk. Right. Um, and yeah, it’s all the support. Um, Free office space in London as well, which is not another thing.
Yeah, that’s good. With free coffee and free fruit. So, so that’s always a pack. Do they, like, do they, uh, partner you up with like mentors and, uh, experts? Definitely. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. Yeah. So, so, so, so it’s quite a HandsOn for the first six months off for the, for the last six months. Uh, so total of per year.
Um, but on the. First six months, you get people helping you with marketing, with sales, um, somebody coaching you, uh, obviously the support to incorporate all the data, technical support. Uh, you can even, uh, get some of the guys from, from, from the Ireland survey or land registry to, to code for you. Uh, it comes at a price.
Mm-hmm. But, but they do know that their data layers very well. So, so, so, so we might use that as well. As part of our development team when, when we are speaking more about that kind of mapping layers or, or, or property layers, um, that they can come and help us. Mm-hmm. Okay. So where are you guys currently at?
By June, we’ll start doing, um, some BTA testing with a few SM e developers that we have contacted that that, that are quite friendly and quite keen on trying it. Um, but also we are looking at housing associations also because, um, it, the homes, England mandates that if you want to access to their money, 25% of, uh, of, of, of it has to go into more method of construction specifically.
Right. And, and there are rumors that that percentage might go up to 40% even. Um, so you have housing like, like Raven Housing Trust, uh, in my neck of the woods using, uh, boutique more than down, down in New Haven to, to deliver the, the category one homes. Right. Um, so, so it’s quite substantial, uh, in that sense.
So, so if we can help housing associations as well with that early. Visibility studies and connecting them with the right, uh, with the right manufacturers, then, then, then it could be a, a good market for us as well. Yeah. All right. So I just wanted to, wanted to ask one more about that. So on the, on your pitch deck, you mentioned that there is, uh, which is available on your website as well, uh, that you are targeting, uh, developers who deal with, uh, Between five and 50, uh, plots a year, something like that?
Yes, correct. Yes. Why not? Why not to target, uh, larger developers? Because seems like this, uh, SME developer. It’s like a full of potential problems. Um, um. There, there, there are a couple of reasons for that. Uh, one is that, um, we know the, the audience a bit better than other audiences. We’ve spoken to more of them.
Um, we know that products like Lantech and Search land work very well for them. Uh, we see ourselves as the next step on that value chain. Right? Once you have identified maybe. Five or 10 sites around the area you want to develop. You can bring those sites into Hesty and do the visibility studies, uh, with, with, with more method of construction through us.
Right. Um, I know, but one of the co-founders of, of, of, of Lantech, Andrew Moist, uh, has given us a lot of time, very generously. One of the things I was mentioning at the beginning, Uh, and, and we know the unit economics for them could work quite well for us. Uh, if, if we can get close to what the, what, what Lantech is, is getting in that.
Right. We, we, we, our business model is a B2B SaaS for the moment. Uh, even though quite a few people have told us we should invert the, the, the problem. But, but we are still sticking to our initial hunch and the reality punches us in the face probably at some point. Um, but, but yeah. Uh, it’s, it’s the developer that would pay for those visibility studies and being presented with some options to rate options of, um, more than methods of construction, uh, manufacturers that, that can, that can deliver for that specific site.
Right. Um, It could be that, you know, that other revenue streams down the line could be things like insurance or mortgages or finances or even paper leads for the manufacturers, things like that. We’ll be exploring once we have, uh, the critical mass of, uh, developers on one side. Right. Uh, but to your question, Martin, about why SMEs?
It’s more that, more, more that we know the, the, the pinch points. We’ve spoken to quite a lot of them. We believe we have something that can solve their problems. Bigger, uh, developers tend to have a lot of in-house teams already that are doing a lot of the work themselves. Internally, uh, CSE developers tend to have, um, maybe a, a well-known architect that, that, that will do that work for a small fee or, or sometimes for free if, if they’re passing enough work.
Right. So I. Making that much more efficient that, that, that process there much quicker and, and, and cheaper if they’re paying something to the, to the architect. Right. Oh, makes sense. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Makes sense. Um, yeah, Mike, you had a question written down here about Yeah, yeah. Go on. Which one? Your second long one second long one?
Yeah. Okay, well I think we already touched on this, right? Yeah. So it’s about, so actually maybe we can, we’ll cut this bit that I’m stuttering or however you call it, but No. So one of the points that, um, are very important when building new homes, especially in in terms of, uh, modern medical constructions are structural warranties, is that without one, um, the buyer.
Of the property, cannot get the mortgage usually. So that’s, that’s the problem I come across a few times, uh, in my career. And recently when we spoke with someone, uh, who runs, uh, engineering business, that they have like 70 engineers, design m c for manufacturers. Um, and, and it’s very difficult to, to get these pro the projects, uh, pipeline of the projects because warranty providers like a n hbc, Uh, they are not accepting certain types of projects because of claims and previous history of claims.
So, yeah. What are your thoughts on this? Yeah. Per perception is, is very bad. And as you said, you know, uh, that, that, that, um, Insurance is, is not always easy. Uh, uh, the manufacturers have gone through this painful project to change the perception and, and to get those warranties and, and, and those, uh, um, we, we only putting on the system the ones that do have, uh, have gone through the verification processes.
Um, so, and then we show there, you know, even, um, which mortgage providers, so mortgage providers sometimes are not keen on, on, on, on providing a mortgage for a new house in certain types of, um, Of mmc. So, so, so yeah, we, we are, we are putting, okay. Um, we know that, um, some people have got mortgages from, uh, from Barclays, from, from whoever that is, uh, for, for these projects, uh, in the past.
So, so, so we are curating that very carefully. It’s still. A problem, and there’s still a lot of work to do, uh, but people like Kko Homes, for example, the biggest category one manufacture together with Top Hat, depending on how you co how you cut it. Um, they, they all have those insurances. They all have gone through all those fire tests and, and all of the necessary, um, uh, accreditations to be able to get those mortgages, to be able to get those insurances, so, mm-hmm.
Okay. Um, so I was just, I was really just gonna try and move on to like, obviously some, like one of the key problems you’re tackling, um, agile, which is. A big problem in 21st century. In the first world, should I say. Yeah. Which is carbon reduction. Um, and it seems like, seems to me, and I dunno if, if other people get this, uh, kind of vibe, but the world is not taking carbon reduction.
Like, seriously enough. And, and the, the, the dangers it, um, poses to us and like even if we were to, uh, get this right in, in the first world, like I said earlier, you still have countries like China and even Africa. Who are he heavily reliant on, um, fuel sources, like, like coal. So, um, What, what’s your views on the plans and like how, how carbon reduction is generally, um, I guess not necessarily from a construction, but from your, your experience in background, given that I know you, you like working with Carbon 13 and that kind of thing.
You, you, you’re quite involved with this stuff. Yeah, my, my, my point of view that is the objective from any company trying to tackle this problem should be that to make the sustainable choice, the default choice, right. Um, to make it the best possible. And, and therefore it makes no sense to do anything else.
And we are seeing it already in other industries when that happens, right, uh, in the energy industry. Solar [00:34:00] panels and, and, and wind are now cheaper than, than than getting coal, for example. Right. Okay. Um, or the car manufacturing as well. You know, the prices of, of electric cars have gone down so much that it almost doesn’t make sense to buy a non-electric car.
Right. And, and even, even in the, in the food industry as well, we’re seeing it more and more, right? That the healthy choice is usually the, the, the, the low carbon choice, et cetera, et cetera. So, so there, there’s that problem there of perception. But if you make it. Um, The obvious choice then, then, then, then you get through that problem.
Right. And I think, you know, even you’re, you’re absolutely right that, you know, we cannot do it by ourselves in the UK or in Western Europe. Um, when even in Erica, you could argue that, uh, there’s less sensitivity about, about the project, the, the problem. Right. But, um, I think we can and should, we should be leading the way from here, right?
Creating the economies of scales for other countries to adopt. Right? That that was a problem with, with, uh, with solar, for example. Once there was enough manufacturers, um, doing it right, then the prices, uh, collapsed, right? So, so hopefully we can get similar, similar approaches on, on this. And it’s things as well, if you compare it to other problems that the world has faced in the, in the past, right?
Uh, even. Um, you could have argued, right? What, what’s the point of the UK abolishing slavery? There’s so many other countries doing slavery still now, right? Yeah. Uh, but, but it, the UK showed the way to the other countries. Right. Being the first to, to, to, to, to, to, I like that. To abolish it. Mm-hmm. Yeah. So it’s about leading the way and we should be leading the way.
Exactly. Be proud of that. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that’s right. All right. Uh, okay. I got a question. Very general question about the collaboration in, uh, business. So you Henry and Simon. So how did you guys, um, Meet each other, obviously. You mentioned that it was through, um, Henry through Carbon 13. Yes. Yes. And then, um, what, what are your thoughts on collaboration in the business?
Because you’re trying to achieve great goals, which is create a company, tech company, and. Uh, it’s not easy. Um, and everyone is from kind of different, uh, backgrounds and they’re, I think from structural civil engineering. Yeah. Um, so how does one do that to, um, that is able to, uh, create a business with other people?
What’s, what are your thoughts on collaboration? So, yeah. Hey, as you said, Henry and I met through Carbon 13. We didn’t know each other a year ago. We met in about September last year. We started working about November. Um, with Simon. Our history comes, uh, comes, comes a bit longer than that. We, he’s local to me.
We met in one of those networking events that he was organizing actually. Um, but, uh, and, and since then we’ve been good friends. We were doing a weekly accountability meeting, um, with him. And then at some point I was talking about Hesty and about what we were building with Hends. Like, well, you, you do have a PropTech, uh, company already, right?
Called partner. They, they do, um, they, they, they, they do a software to help, um, landlords managing their buy-to-let, uh, properties, right. Or finding them in, in the first instance, and then, then manage them. Right. Um, and so he had lots of data that he had been collecting and all that. He’s a proper c. Right, proper, proper developer, uh, software developer, uh, I mean not, not not not home developer.
Um, so, so, so yeah, he accepted after some arm twisting to, to, to, to give us four hours a week, uh, also, and, and to give us a lot of his data for free as well. For the moment, I don’t say too loud, maybe he’ll start charging us, uh, charging us, uh, quite soon. Uh, but yeah, to, to your question about how you work together.
Um, Uh, I think it was for me, uh, there was a lot of gut feeling, right? When, when you are on carbon 13, you’re under pressure phase one of, of, of the program. Um, it’s only six weeks in which you meet a, we met a hundred people each, right? Um, and you have to take a decision in six weeks of who you’re gonna work for with, and there was a lot of gut instinct there as well.
But, but what I was looking for is, Uh, a to be, uh, sure that we were aligned in our mission, right? And it was easy because Carbon 13 did a lot of that work for us, right? They, they had a good selection process in which they only let people in that are there for the right reasons. Um, but then very complimentary on the skillsets, right?
So, so, so, so we, we, we got that. Um, and very early on what we did as well with Henry, we went through a questionnaire, uh, that you can find very easily on, on if you Google it, but it’s called, uh, 50 Questions to Explore with a Potential Co-Founder. Um, I like it with it. It’s, it’s almost, it feels like dating Really?
Yeah. At that point, honestly. Uh, and, and I believe, to be honest, that those 50 questions are inspired by another similar thing when you are looking for a. Personal partner rather than a a, a, a, a business partner. Um, but yeah, we did those 50 questions going on a walk that, that was really cool as well.
Right, because you’re not looking each other, uh, or in the eyes, you’re looking in the same direction. You kind of, and because you’re walking, doing a bit of exercise, you know, things flow a bit better. Right. Um, And then, yeah, through those questions you clarify things like your personal circumstances, your personal runway.
How much can you afford to be there without earning a salary? The strengths, the weaknesses, the roles, uh, that we, we, uh, naturally gravitate towards because you have to wear many hats when there’s only two of you or. In this case, two, 2.2 maybe. Uh, counting the 0.2 of, of, of, of, of Simon, uh, and the vision of the company.
What, what do you think about team culture? Things like that, right? You go over those 50 questions, uh, and then you have a very good picture and, uh, and because there were no massive red flags, but actually quite the opposite, right? Lots of green flags if you want. Um, we decided to partner up then and, and so far so good.
Sometimes I do worry that we haven’t had any major arguments yet, so, so it’s like on We should fight. That’s good. Ah, no, I don’t think you should go searching for them. I think they’ll come when they. When needed, but sounds like a good thing. Do you use any, like, um, any other frameworks for keeping things on track between you?
Like perhaps this, that could be the answer as to why you guys haven’t had a massive fight yet? Well, to be honest with you, we’ve, we’ve been, uh, now, um, in a, in a state of doing, doing, doing, and I think. The Ovation structure will help us on being a bit more strategic because now it’s like, come, we need to do something.
We need to put something in front of the o o of the developers. Do, do, do, do, do. Rather than stop and think. Right? So, so one of the first things we’ve done with Ovation is, uh, to, to work on a work plan for the first six hands on months that we’re gonna do with ation. Uh, and, and you know, having to think six months in advance.
For a startup that, that feels like ages, really. And it helps you taking that step back and say, okay, where, where do we actually want to be in six months? So, yeah. Okay. Nice. And, uh, one other thing. Um, You do to address crowdfunding? Yes. So you are a crowdfunding consultant, um, having, I believe you’ve successfully done a, done a crowdfund for a at least one company, was it maybe two?
Yeah. So, so I’ve, I’ve done quite a few really. Um, my first one was with crown springing. It was a rewards space crowdfunding. Um, so basically giving peer. In exchanging the money. So pre selling the beer, um, sounds great. It was great. It was, it was so much fun. I can tell you that. Um, then, then I eat another one for a cafe, more kind of more altruistic sort of feel good kind of reward if you want.
Um, but then I, I’ve done a few others, which is more kind of equity crop funding, so getting. Part of your company and, and mm-hmm. Funnily enough, the last one I’ve been, uh, involved even not too hands on, but was, was again for Crumps. So Crumps has gone through the reward space, crowd funding, and it’s then through the equity, uh, crowdfunding with Cedars in that case.
Mm-hmm. Um, so yeah. Is it good for, uh, you think it’s good for a construction tech company? Um, I’m going to give the consultant sensor. Depends. Uh, it depends a lot, right? I, I think construction is a, is a less obvious, um, Industry to do crowdfunding. Um, why the, the, the industries that works quite well is b2c, uh, in general, basically because you have, um, and, and especially if you’re purpose or mission led right?
Then it works amazingly well, right? Because people think, oh, I’m, I’m here not for. Uh, not just for the money, but because we’re doing something good to change the world, right? Um, and for example, the, the obvious, uh, example is ruddock, right? Uh, they, their first crowd funding campaigns that they were almost inventors of equity crowdfunding, ruddock, uh, and their first campaigns were more about let’s change the industry, fight the blunt beer, uh, beer can be so much better, um, et cetera, right?
Um, they already had a community of people. I could back them early on, and that we’re very kind of invested already even before the, the crowdfunding campaign. Um, so for construction companies having more kind of a B2B or, or less kind of contact with the direct, uh, consumer is a bit trickier. There are examples of people that have done it very well, um, though, um, but, but I, I think.
You need to before, before you can see the crowd funding. If you are only doing it for the money, I would argue that there are other ways that are kind of more efficient to get the money. Um, but if you have also that ambition of getting your community engaged, uh, and your community involved with you and, and, and feeling that kind of, because the numbers are there, right?
Um, it’s very obvious with fintechs, with, um, with, with, with product companies, the change of, um, customer from being just a customer to being a, an investor as well, uh, in terms of metrics of engagement of, um, referrals, things like that. Just go through the roof, right? People that are an investor, uh, will talk to that product to their friends.
Will, will, will really, will really promote almost being am an ambassador for you, right. Uh, in a way. So, so yeah. I, I would say if, if you want to top up, um, an angel round, With a bit of people in your community that are gonna put, uh, smaller tickets, but do you feel that okay, maybe 50 to a hundred people already.
I know that that will, will, we’ll be happy to put a hundred, quit a thousand quis, something like that. Small, small amounts of money, or relatively small in the investment world. Uh, then go for it. Yeah. Um, it has, it has that kind of marketing angle as well, right? Viral kind of thing. Exactly. Cool. Okay. Looks like about the right time to move into off topic Mine.
You go first. Yes. I have a bit weird question as I usually have, like when I listen to you, you sound like a very wide ranging person, so, um, which is great. I love it. And I think you have something like, uh, I would call commercial focus. Um, how does one develop commercial focus? Um, I think there’s only [00:46:00] one real way right of of com developing that commercial focus is talking to a lot of customers.
And for example, in, in Crumbs, we would go at the very beginning to every single. Opportunity that we had to go to a, a food fest or a music festival or something like that and talk to as many people as you can. Ask them about their day, ask them a bit on with the mom’s test, right? Uh, how was your day?
What was your highlight? This and that, and almost get a. Good rounded context picture of, of how they feel and how they they act and why they take the decisions they take. Right? So I would say that, that, that commercial angle is, is just being curious with people and, and, and really ask those questions that not only the obvious ones.
For your product that you want to sell, but also you learn so much asking, you know, questions that seem unrelated to, to, to, to, to what you’re trying to sell or what you’re trying to, to do. Right. So just context. Exactly. Yeah. And, uh, on the mindset about being well-rounded, and obviously you, you, we mentioned it before, but you’ve been involved in a lot of things and I can see in the background you also have a piano, and I think that’s a bass guitar.
Is it? It’s a bass guitar. You cannot see there’s this. Two more guitars over there. Okay, so surrounded by instruments in a morning, the lady. How does someone stay curious? Uh, it comes very natural to me. I, I don’t know, it comes so natural to me. You know, I, I, I, I listen to a, to podcasts usually a bit too fast.
Um, give us, give us one or two names for X speed, for x speed. I don’t go quite to extreme. Some people I know some people that do that, but give us the place number two and three. So first one is bricks and Barts. Yeah, of course. Yeah. Yeah. That, that’s number one. And I’ve, I’ve listened to a few of yours definitely.
Um, lately, what am I listening to? Uh, I’m listening to Rich Roll quite a lot. Rich Row Podcast. I’m listening. The, the, the usual Lex Friedman, Tim Ferris. Yeah. Um, a bit more unusual podcast that I like as well. There’s one called Meditative Story. Um, it’s more about stories of famous people. They, they bring actors, singers and things like that about their lives.
Uh, but it has a lot of kind of meditation sort of attached to it, uh, which is really good. Um, really, really enjoy that one. Uh, really good storytelling. Um, nice. What’s it called? Uh, meditative story. Meditative Story Sounds, uh, sounds like infusing two, kind of like. Different things. Totally different things, yes.
Together. Yes. Uh, it is, I highly recommend it. Yeah. Yes. And then I, then I listen to a lot of audio books. Uh, a while ago I was really into kind of more, uh, business books, but lately I’ve done quite a lot of biographies. They’re, they’re really fun, especially if they’re read by, by the author. Yeah. Um, I love them.
I love them. In that case, yeah. What’s your favorite book that you can, like, say, no matter what’s the cost of the fact that you just chose it as the best one, but what’s the, what’s something that comes to your head when you are about to recommend a book? Um, from the latest ones I’ve read, I would say if you’re into crowdfunding, things like that, uh, the Queen of funding is Amanda Palmer.
And she’s got an amazing book that she reads and she also sings in the book and she also is amazing. So I would recommend the audiobook version. It’s called The Art of Asking. Hmm. Uh, and it goes as well with the, with one of the topics with Covid. Right. Of asking favors of asking. Yeah. Uh, people love to help.
Yeah. Don’t, do not deny the, that, that that help. Right. If, if somebody offers you something, just take it graciously. Why not? You know, they people like it. Yeah. Sure. Okay, adra. Um, so thanks for coming on and sharing your story, uh, Hesty today. Um, where can people find out more about you? So LinkedIn, um, I spend, and you know, there’s a time of, uh, in LinkedIn and I know the amount of time there.
Uh, LinkedIn is a good way. Uh, there’s only one of me, um, and LinkedIn so far. So it’s a very, that’s quite cool. Yes. Uh, um, and then as well, if you want to know more about Hesty, we’ve got a website, uh, hesty.co uk. Um, by the way, a cool, a cool story about the name of, of our company. Um, it’s difficult to to name any company, any, any projects.
But we went for, uh, the Creek Goddess of the Homan. Hak. Oh, and the very good. There’s this company called Heti, I think. Yes, yes, there are a few. And, uh, a, after choosing the name and being a bit in love with it, uh, then we realized that there was people with Sydney is the way. Yeah. But we thought, yeah, we, we we’re too invested now.
So shame. All right, thanks. No worries. My pleasure. Yeah. Thank you for, for having me. Really thoughtful casts. I really enjoyed the conversation. Us too. Thank you Adra. Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the Bricks and Bites podcast. If you are enjoying the show, please feel free to rate, subscribe, and leave a review wherever you listen to your podcasts.
We really appreciate it and we’ll catch you in the next episode.