My startup journey: Tanmoy Bari, CEO of Greenely
For a couple of years now, sustainability company Greenely has worked on a collaboration project with Stanford University. This summer sees the launch of their innovation, an app that can analyse and visualise your energy consumption, on the American market, starting in California. But for Tanmoy Bari, co-founder of Greenely AB, a career as an entrepreneur was never part of the plan.
- When I was featured in the KTH course catalogue during my studies I said I wanted to work for the UN or the World Bank Group, doing something in sustainable urban development, he says.
It was during their time as students on the KTH engineering program in urban management that Tanmoy Bari and Mohammed Al Abassi had the idea that turned into Greenely AB. They felt there was unexplored potential in the smart electricity meters that were installed in Swedish homes in 2009, and thought there must be a way to make the raw data more useful and comprehensible for the consumer. Today, four years later, Greenely has not only been launched on the US market, but also collaborated with providers like Karlstad Energi and Bixia, and turned into a smart consumer product. Tanmoy himself has attracted attention from the media, being recognised as one of the shooting stars on the Forbes "30 under 30" list last year.
- Being singled out like that is an honor, not just for me personally but for Greenely as a company. It was great fun and nice to get the recognition, he says.
From idea to reality
The time at KTH Innovation the Greenely founder describes as a development platform, where both the company and the people behind it got valuable support. In addition to the professional support and personal expertise of business coaches Donnie SC Lygonis and Håkan Borg he describes the importance of having access to a community.
- To gather in one place with likeminded people is underestimated. The fellowship among the startups was a great contributing factor. Building a company is hard, and we didn’t come from a business background but started in engineering, says Tanmoy Bari.
One of the first investors in Greenely AB was KTH Holding AB. But the actual money, SEK 250.000 for product development, was not the most important aspect of the investment. He maintains that it sent a signal to the market that the company was worth investing in, which he thinks still has great impact.
- You can’t just look at the amount that KTH Holding invests, you get so much more than that. Their brand as a holding company investing very early on is extremely strong, he says
Stanford University and Greenely Go
After a trip to Silicon Valley with the KTH Innovations Brighter Program, Greenely contacted Stanford University for a potential collaboration, and soon the team was going back and forth to California. It was hard work but the company managed to get an investment from the Swedish Energy Agency and started working on a pre-study with the Stanford psychology department, looking into user behaviour in electricity consumption.
In Sweden the rules and regulations are a bit dated. Users don’t get access to their data straight away making it difficult for the consumer to be aware of their energy consumption. The technology exists but the law prevents users from getting the best experience, he says and continues;
- In the US you have a lot more data for making sharper analysis, and we believe that ultimately this will provide a much better user experience compared to what we have today.
The product that is now being launched together with Stanford University increases the users’ self-awareness around energy consumption compared to similar households and provides trend analysis on their own consumption. This in order to hopefully effectively lower power usage.
- In the US, power companies are not allowed to earn more money by selling more power. Their incentive is to lower energy consumption, and in that eco system Greenely is a great solution, says Tanmoy.
Even though the infrastructure for the Greenely solution is currently better in the US than in Sweden, the company hopes to launch the same technology in Sweden one day. Tanmoy also hints at the company potentially opening up other business areas in the future.
- We are looking forward to developing our service a lot over the next 12 months, integrating all the new team members that we recently recruited and finally start recruiting in California. It is all very exciting, he says.
Have you got any tips for anyone having an idea to develop but not knowing exactly how?
- If you don’t know how you have to find out how. That sounds really vague, but you have to test things out. To act, not to wait and not to analyse. We have to get out there, be external. You can’t afford to be afraid to make mistakes – most important is that you learn from them.
If you could go back and tell yourself one thing before the adventure with Greenely started, what would it be?
- Be patient. It takes time to build a company, especially IT projects. And stay curious.
Want to know more about Greenely? Visit their website
Have you got an idea that you would like to develop?