ecolytiq is an innovative and specialist fintech start-up that provides banks and financial institutions with the digital infrastructure for green finance. Their Sustainability-as-a-Service® solution enables financial institutions to offer their customers environmental footprinting as well as personalized impact offsetting and ESG investments.
We caught up with Co-Founder and CPO David Lais:
How do you sum up what ecolytiq does for financial institutions and banks?
We are helping consumers understand their individual environmental impact by giving them transparency. We do this by analysing financial or payment transaction data from banks and financial institutions. Almost everything we do in life is somehow connected to a purchase, so banks are sitting on a treasure trove of data which allows them to provide us with the necessary information to calculate individual consumers’ environmental impacts. We are putting banks right at the centre of the sustainability movement: Together with the banks, we then help consumers reduce their impact.
We do this on three levels: By providing transparency of their individual impact and encouraging them to change towards more conscious consumption behaviour. In addition, we offer them the option to offset their impact especially for transactions with no alternatives yet, but most importantly, we encourage them to shape the future we all deserve by allowing individual consumers to invest actively in ESG products. We need to upgrade our infrastructure to fully become fully sustainable: be it renewable energy, circular economy, or much needed updates in public transport (more trains and e-buses instead of cars and airplanes).
What inspired you to set up ecolytiq? Did you have a lightbulb moment?
The idea and mission behind ecolytiq came to me as I was sitting on a beach in Thailand. The raw, natural beauty of the beach was contrasted by the overwhelming amount of plastic waste that had washed ashore. What shocked me most was the size of so much of this waste – most parts were so tiny that it would make it almost impossible to clean up the entire beach.
That was my eureka moment when I asked myself: ‘Is there anything I can do?’ Followed by the next question: ‘What actually is my personal impact on the environment?’ This was the starting point of my journey to sustainability and eventually led to setting up ecolytiq with my co-founders.
What is your Sustainability-as-a-Service ® solution?
The financial industry plays a crucial part in the fight against climate change, and it should maximise this opportunity. With the ecolytiq Sustainability-as-a-Service® infrastructure we help banks build the foundations to put them right at the centre of the sustainability movement.
Our solution helps banks and consumers alike to ease into the sustainability journey: Sustainability-as-a-Service® enables financial institutions to offer their customers environmental foot printing, provides motivation to live more sustainably through integrated feedback loops, as well as personalised impact offsetting and ESG investment options.
ecolytiq provides a sustainability infrastructure for banks which means we incorporate the latest scientific findings to provide research-based information We add a technology and data analytics layer to access that information, which in turn helps consumers to understand their individual behaviour and enables us to give them not just more, but better feedback on how they are progressing in their sustainability journeys. All of this combined, is the ecolytiq Sustainability-as-a-Service® solution that helps banks to internally drive sustainability. At the same time, it makes a compound impact with millions of consumers living more climate-conscious lifestyles, which ultimately, benefits the health of our planet.
Have your plans and goals for the business changed from setting up at the start of a pandemic to now?
No. In a way, the pandemic has helped accelerate our business because of the way people have started to think. With the Covid pandemic, we have indeed experienced something that was so unknown to us, at least in the Western world. We experienced what it means to have limits in our society and were, and partially still are, living under circumstances that we cannot control. This bears certain similarities to the climate crisis: we can only fight a great threat – both global warming and the pandemic – if we adjust our behaviour accordingly. With the pandemic, a vaccine was developed at the speed of light, helping to rapidly change the outcome. Whether we trust a new medicine or new means of technology, both influence the way that many of us think and live. Granted, using our software will not enable us to control the weather, but we can change our behaviour and thus help the climate!
Where do you hope the business will be in 12 months’ time?
We want to have as much impact as possible which means we’d like to enable billions of consumers to be able to perform day to day today climate action. OK, well maybe that’s a little ambitious but even achieving half of that number would be a good start!
What sort of impact do you think ecolytiq will have on the banks and financial institutions you work with?
We hope there will be a realisation that climate change is actually not a threat or a mere compliance factor and instead, will be regarded as one of the greatest opportunities the financial sector has ever witnessed. Why? Because the financial sector is now at the centre of a necessary climate movement where it can provide tools for consumers and businesses alike, thereby driving the economy. Another crucial factor: we need to upgrade our infrastructure. The kind of impact we hope for is that this economic shift will be seen as an opportunity, and we encourage banks and financial service providers to work with us to enable businesses and consumers to firstly, become more sustainable and secondly, work together on the large-scale sustainable transformation.
On a personal level and away from the potential of ecolytiq, what do you do to contribute to the wellbeing of the planet?
I have dedicated my entire professional career to solving just some of the urgent problems our world is facing and, looking at how much time it consumes from my personal life, I think it’s the majority of my entire life!
At home, while we’re not fully vegan, we don’t eat meat or dairy products, but we are more flexible when we eat out. I would say that it’s a process and it took us a while to change our habits, and I guess we are somewhere at 80% of our goal already.
I also try to build the society I want to live in, by creating an environment where we have more respect for others, taking care of the community, trying not to be self-centred but more inclusive. This requires a mind shift but that’s what I try to do every day; it’s not easy but I’m working on it.
Were you a grade A student at school? Or what we call in the UK, a ‘science nerd’?
NOT AT ALL. I wasn’t a fan of school so after secondary school, with pressure from my parents, I started an apprenticeship. I also had a small side business which turned out to pay better than anything else I did. So, after finishing my training, I became a full-time entrepreneur. I’ve never attended any coding classes, but looking at it now, I have been working half of my professional life as a self-taught coder and everything I do today is also self-taught.
I started my first company when I was 16 years old, and one could say that I have come a long way since then. On the other hand, I started my first company when I was 16 years old, and one could say that I have come a long way since then. On the other hand, there’s still room for more, given the ambitious goals we set out to achieve 😉