Greenhouse Pioneer: Peter Davies, Verv
Using energy more efficiently in our homes can cut carbon emissions. Smart energy use can also save us money – to the tune of £270 a year on average, according to a recent study. But it is difficult to know which appliances are using the most power, or costing us the most. Green Running aims to change this with its smart monitor, Verv. The ‘home energy assistant’ won three awards at the recent BusinessGreen Technology Awards, including the Technology of the Year prize. We speak to their CEO, Peter Davies. Tell us, in 20 words or fewer, about Verv – what's your mission? We’re on a mission to make homes smarter and more efficient, using Verv’s cutting-edge AI and machine learning technology. What drives you? The energy industry is ripe for change and I truly believe we are primed to spearhead that much-needed transformation. And having just closed our equity crowdfunding round at £1.2 million, we now have over 1,000 investors on board who share our vision, our passion and our excitement to revolutionise the industry. That in itself is really inspiring. What is your greatest achievement to date? One of the milestones I’m most proud of is being accepted onto Launchpad, Google’s global startup programme, which continues to provide us with incredible support. Crowdfunding 150% over target is up there with that too! What are the challenges you face? Obtaining investment without a proven track record of having exited a company before. This requires a huge amount of time and pressure. What are you working on that's getting you fired up and excited? We’ve just started rolling Verv out to consumers and the fact that our technology is in homes across the UK is really exciting. We’re also live-trialing our peer-to-peer energy trading technology on a social housing estate in Hackney. We think this could be a real game-changer by increasing access to low-carbon energy and bringing down electricity bills. In the future, this could mean fuel-poor areas become completely self-sufficient. It may even mean they don’t have an energy bill to worry about at all. Where do you want to take Verv next? We want to see Verv in every home across the UK and then roll it out globally. Our ultimate goal is to eradicate fuel poverty. By creating innovative solutions to bring down energy costs, whilst also reducing environmental impact, we are one step closer to making that happen. That is what is driving us forward. What can we, as individuals, do to make a difference? Spread the word about Verv! Be one of the first to purchase Verv and share your feedback with the team to help us continually improve this evolving product, shaping its features for the future. How is what you are doing inspiring change in others? I think we are generating more awareness around important issues such as energy usage and carbon emissions. We are also opening up people’s minds to what the future of energy could be as we move towards a smarter and more flexible grid. With the ever-increasing uptake of renewable technologies, electric vehicles and so on, we have the opportunity to really drive the UK towards a low-carbon economy by providing the innovative technology needed to glue it all together. Can you recommend a life- or game-changing book for our readers? Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss. What do you listen to when you're cooking dinner? I wish I had time to cook dinner :) On the Tube, I listen to Led Zepplin and some classic rock tunes. What's the best advice you've ever been given? Firstly, don’t be too proud to take on advice and mentorship. Learn from them and don’t be afraid to ask stupid questions, this will be key to your growth. Work the spreadsheet - work out where the value to your business will come from as it may completely change your business priorities. Finally, take on board all recommendations and use that as guidance to make an informed decision. You can only make a decision with the tools that you have, so ensuring you have advice that you trust is key. Can you leave us with who'd be your Eco Hero? Elon Musk.