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Overcoming Barriers to Net Zero: How a Fintech Startup Tackles Energy Efficiency, with Robin Peters

Climate change is a global crisis that affects everyone, regardless of location or industry. In this episode, you will hear how Snugg, a fintech based in the UK is playing a significant role in contributing to net-zero initiatives. My special guest is Robin Peters, Snugg’s Co-Founder and CEO. Robin revealed the idea behind their astonishing platform and how they make it easy for both consumers and other businesses to overcome the barriers to energy efficiency.

He also gave thorough insights on the following key topics:

  • Why energy efficiency is a massive global opportunity.

  • How to build a startup team and scale your business.

  • Transitioning from the corporate ladder to becoming a startup founder.

Episode Outline and Highlights

  • [01:38] How Robin came up with the idea of simplifying home energy efficiency which led to the foundation of Snugg.

  • [06:04] Robin discusses long-term mortgages and other solutions that can help drive energy efficiency and home improvement initiatives.

  • [08:45] The global market potential for energy efficiency solutions and the significant amount of investment needed to address this issue.

  • [10:53] Simplifying solutions and presenting consumer data in a simpler way for consumers.

  • [14:33] The B2B side of Snugg.

  • [18:54] Challenges and opportunities in the supply chain for improving homes and implementing net-zero energy efficiency initiatives.

  • [23:27] Talent-related challenges that Robin faced in their startup.

  • [26:29] Building a psychologically safe working environment.

  • [27:39] Tips on building and scaling by hiring the right people.

  • [35:57] Transitioning from the corporate business to the startup world.

  • [39:56] Leveraging transferable skills and where to look if someone is interested in engaging in climate tech.

Energy Efficiency - a Massive Global Market Opportunity

Robin shared where he got his idea to founding Snugg. It started when they had to simplify the insurance buying process down from 156 to just 3 questions. He thought that this simplified approach could be applied to home energy efficiency - which is a confusing and complex topic for consumers.

The goal of Snugg is straightforward - develop an easy-to-use platform that will help speed up the UK’s transition to net zero carbon emissions. With just a postcode, they are able to provide a personalized plan to consumers for cutting their fuel bills. As a fintech startup that works closely with consumers and banks, they are able to identify long-term solutions for improving homes by implementing energy efficiency initiatives.

Robin and his team realize that the business plan they are implementing not only contributes to the UK’s net zero initiatives but is also a massive commercial opportunity. He mentioned that one of the barriers that the country faces is basically how to fulfill the enormous demand.

“The biggest single barrier right now is there just aren't enough people available to install heat pumps and insulation or solar panels. There's just a massive excessive demand at the moment. We probably need about another 200,000 installers in the UK in order to make this transition happen, and that's an enormous change.”

What I also found truly interesting is if they are able to implement this approach in the UK, there are global economies where they can further expand. For example, the US which is roughly ten times the economy of the UK has substantial issues with energy efficiency. Not to mention other markets in European countries such as Germany and France. As Robin describes it, “And just in the US, it's very topical. There's a thing called the Inflation Reduction Act in the US, which is going through at the moment, which has in excess of $300 billion, focused on green tech alone. And again, that's just the public sector component of it. So the amount of money that's going to be focused to help get houses net zero is going to be pretty eye-watering.”

Snugg is Indeed a tacking a massive global opportunity for decades to come!

Simplified Energy Solutions for Customers and Businesses

Another topic that Robin and I discussed is the importance of helping people understand the business case for improving their homes and implementing energy efficiency initiatives. I believe this is important in the tech sector - as people in the sector tend to speak technical given their technical background.

They aim to communicate in “human being terms and not to overcomplicate things.” I think this makes most sense given that shifting to an energy-efficient way of living is a behavioral challenge so they have to make things simple to change people’s behavior. This is actually reflected in how they designed their website for their consumers.

Robin and I also discussed the B2B side of Snugg. For them to reach a pace in reaching as many people quickly, they find it efficient to work with businesses such as banks and the utility sector that have a significant customer base. They are leaning towards a B2C approach, which enables them to pitch a customer-centric offer to other businesses which helps these businesses achieve their own business objectives.

Transitioning from Corporate to Startup - Founder TIps

You will also hear Robin’s insights when he transitioned from a corporate career to launching his own fintech startup. He shared tips and practices on the following key topics:

  • Hiring the right people for your team

  • Transitioning from contractors to employees over time

  • Fostering a psychologically safe working environment

  • Setting reasonable OKRs

  • Leveraging transferable skills

  • Focusing on purpose-driven work to motivate team members

About Robin Peters

Robin is the co-founder of Snugg - a sustainability-focused start-up. He has a wealth of experience in digital strategy, business planning, transformation, and leadership across several industry sectors and geographies. At Aviva, he was responsible for strategy and business development for Aviva’s global digital business. Prior to Aviva, he worked at Ernst & Young and Lloyds Banking Group where he was strategy director for the insurance division. He has an MBA from INSEAD

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