In 2023, Preoptima experienced substantial growth, securing £1M in funding, expanding its team across five countries, and earning accolades including the Best Carbon Monitoring Tool. We faced challenges with resilience, strengthened partnerships, and showcased innovations at major events, affirming our position as a leader in climate tech and sustainable building design.
Holiday spirits are high, and our team is eager for a much-needed end-of-year break. But before we shut down our laptops and look forward to special time with family and friends, we are reviewing the year 2023 - a year that makes up two-thirds of our startup lifetime, having incorporated exactly 1 year, 5 months, and 19 days ago!
We set out with a vision to redefine the built environment and turn the tide on its embodied and whole life carbon impact, putting our scientific expertise to good use outside of the confines of academia. Now, as we stand at the threshold of a new year, we pause to reflect on a journey that's been nothing short of a whirlwind of groundbreaking achievements, challenging obstacles, and inspiring moments of triumph.
Vision and Validation: Significant Milestones and Recognitions
Our year was marked by notable milestones that validated our vision and mission. Highlights include our significant £1 M pre-seed funding round closure in March, led by Nemetschek Group and joined by Nomea Investments, Climate VC, Carbon13, and leading climate tech angels.
Further recognition followed, being listed in the Top 80 UK Climate Tech Startups to Know in March and with features in prominent publications like SG Voice in July and two features in both the July and November editions of AEC Magazine.
Our year got even better with a title as the Best Carbon Monitoring Tool at the Building Innovation Awards in October, being shortlisted in the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products' ASBP Awards 2024 in the Initiative category as well as receiving a Innovate UK Grant to develop the Planning Application Carbon Evaluation and Reduction (PACER) tool in partnership with Westminster City Council in November, and being spotlighted as one of 22 Climate Tech startups to keep an eye on according to investors in December.
Building the Team: Growth and Expansion
2023 was also a year of team building and expansion. Key hires like our first Front-End Developer and our Head of Customer Development played pivotal roles in our growth. By November, our team had expanded to nine members, spread across five countries, symbolising our commitment to creating a diverse, global, and remote-friendly workplace.
Strategic Partnerships and Industry Engagement
Our journey this year was enriched through strategic partnerships and active industry engagement. We became an Innovative Startup Member of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) in January, were accepted into the Google Startups for Sustainable Development programme in March, were part of the UKGBC Embodied Carbon Task Group by May, and joined the Barclays Eagle Labs Sustainability Bridge Programme delivered by CodeBase and funded by the UK Government in November. These affiliations not only expand our network but have been pivotal in supporting our mission for long-term impact at scale.
Showcasing Innovation: Events and Exhibitions
Throughout the year, Preoptima has showcased our innovations at several key industry events. Our presence at Futurebuild and Digital Construction Week in London, and Greenbuild in Washington D.C. allowed us to share our mission and solutions with a broader audience and gain insight from others in the industry. Each event was an important learning experience, helping us refine our approach and understanding of diverse markets.
Product Development and Customer Engagement
A significant part of our journey involved enhancing our product offerings and engaging with our much-appreciated customers. From launching our waitlist for our flagship product, Preoptima BUILDING, in January, we welcomed our beta-testers and early adopters until signing our first large-scale pilot project with a global architecture, engineering, and construction consultancy company in August. The licenses then came rolling in shortly afterwards with renowned firms like Foster + Partners and public testimonials from Square Gain and Group14 Engineering labelling us as "accurate", "powerful" and "indispensable".
We are set to continue our innovative approach, with a new launch of Preoptima CONCEPT in January, so watch this space!
Challenges and Resilience: Looking Ahead with Optimism
No journey is without its challenges, and ours was no exception. We faced hurdles in product development, experienced the disappointment of customer engagements that fell through, and navigated the complexities of a virtual work environment, all the while walking on the notorious startup financial tightrope. However, these challenges were met with resilience and determination, reinforcing our grit when it comes to not only creating a successful business but also being a leader in climate tech and global impact.
As we prepare to step into another year, we carry with us the lessons, successes, and experiences of 2023. Our journey so far has been exhilarating, and we are filled with gratitude and anticipation for what lies ahead. The recognition of our hard work and commitment is mounting, and we are grateful to be recognised among the UK and Europe's most innovative climate tech startups.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to our team, partners, investors, and the sustainable building community for their support and belief in our mission. Together, we are breaking new ground in building design and we are excited to make early-stage carbon assessments and optioneering even more accessible.
Some said it wasn’t possible. Others said it wasn’t needed.
It’s hard to remain positive during days when feedback isn’t great or you struggle to convey how revolutionising the stuff that you’re working on is.
But it pays off big time when you realise you have made the impossible possible.
Today, the industry can do carbon optioneering at early stages with unprecedented accuracy, in real-time, and with all stakeholders in the value chain looking at the same carbon numbers.
Reducing carbon is no longer costly, nor complex and obscure, it doesn’t require any detailed design, and it happens when all options are still on the table.
Prof. Francesco Pomponi
Chief Scientific Officer
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