Get insights into founders and teams as they scale their businesses.
This spotlight looks at how business models and monetisation aligns to customer needs, how to navigate sales cycles, the importance of pipeline mix and how data can enable carbon savings.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are, your role, the company, how it all got started.
Jane Lucy, CEO and Founder of Perse - The Open Energy Platform automating financial and carbon savings for everything connected to the grid. Our mission is to save over 10 million tonnes of carbon and over £100 million of money for our customers by 2030, and we will achieve that, we're on track to achieving that, and that is significant.
Our pipeline alone is more than 100 million tonnes of carbon a year. That is huge. And so the ability to provide services, to start to reduce those emissions and start to save money alongside that is really exciting.
How will you achieve that and what led you to start Perse?
Perse is my second startup, following my first business called Labrador, which was a platform for households to find the cheapest energy tariff available. After the Labrador service was sold, I joined Revolut, the challenger bank, as the Head of Strategic Partnerships. My role involved working across product categories that were tied into direct debit, such as energy, mobile insurance, and broadband.
I felt like my work wasn’t complete with Labrador so In early 2020 I left Revolut and founded Perse with the aim to build a data company where there were 100s of different use cases from the data, not just the household switching proposition. So we actually bought the Labrador service back which allowed us to quicken our time to market and this enabled us to quickly bring some of the different use cases to life as we had already integrated some of its data .
Perse has since evolved into a data company that connects to every asset on the national grid in Britain. Our comprehensive coverage includes every building, generation asset, and vehicle in the country.
For every building, vehicle, and generation asset, we obtain detailed information on its energy profile, cost profile, and carbon profile. Our database covers all of the energy consumption or energy generation and includes comprehensive tariff history and carbon data dating back to 2009, enabling us to perform both location-based reporting and market-based reporting.
Moreover, the data that we provide is not based on AI or machine learning, so it addresses concerns about greenwashing from the beginning. All we need is an address to be able to pull the data. Therefore, it is straightforward for our customers to provide us with a list of all addresses in their portfolio, and we can immediately get the data to return to them within seconds.
What success have you seen over the past couple of years since you started?
When we participated in the programme, we had not yet monetized the data platform that we had built or brought our Perse business model to the market.
We have now established two business models: a PasS and a SaaS model. We discovered that customers have different needs and requirements on how they want to use the data or value proposition that we have built.
Some customers have the technical resources and capabilities to ingest APIs, while others do not have the resources or they have backlogs for the next 18 months. They are looking for an easier solution.
As a result we have provided white-label user interfaces, websites, and two different carbon reporting software platforms to meet their requirements. As a result, we have monetized both PasS and SaaS models.
We’ve seen early success in the energy market and have also made inroads into the financial and property verticals too with the help of the programme. Since energy accounts for 73% of the world's carbon footprint, our data is relevant to every sector. We started in the energy sector as that was our background and given the volatility of the energy market in the last 18 months there was such low hanging fruit but through the programme it helped us to understand the value for the Real Estate and Financial Industries.
We’re now on track for £1 million ARR and profitability in the month.
How would you say our PropTech programme has contributed to supporting you with your go to market and your growth in the past?
Participating in the PropTech programme had two significant benefits for our company. First, it provided us with a level of legitimacy and credibility in the market. Going through the application process and being accepted into the PwC and GrowthBuilders programme signalled to potential investors and customers that our company and service had been thoroughly vetted and validated as a promising opportunity.
Second, the programme gave us access to a valuable network of potential customers. As a startup, building a customer base can be a time-consuming and challenging process, especially as the size of the customer grows.
Thanks to the introductions we made on the programme, we are currently in the final stages of signing up some significant customers, including one of the largest land owners in the UK and a leading property developer.
Without the programme, it would have taken us significantly longer to reach these customers, given that we do not yet have a dedicated sales team in place. Our sales efforts are still primarily founder-led, which can slow down the process. We may have had to rely on other customers to introduce us to these larger organizations or spend more time and resources trying to reach them independently.
What would you say has been the hardest challenge of selling into the real estate sector and any tips you've learned along the way to support this to help others?
Startups must be prepared for a longer sales cycle, which is why it's useful to have a variety of customers in the pipeline. This way, you can compensate for the fact that larger clients take more time to close deals, while smaller and medium-sized ones can help with month-to-month growth.
Onboarding large clients can also be time-consuming and require preparation, considering their legal and technical requirements around security and scalability. We were previously onboarded by a High Street bank, which was a game-changer in terms of understanding the onboarding process for a high-profile client. Having an understanding and expectation of the processing requirements can help expedite the process.
Procurement processes for larger organizations can be complex and lengthy, even after agreeing to work together. It's important to keep this in mind and anticipate potential delays to avoid frustration.
Upon joining the programme, what advice would you have liked to have been given. Or what advice would you give someone looking to join the next round?
To fully benefit from a programme like PwC and GrowthBuilders Scale PropTech, it's important to have a clear objective and a structured approach to achieve it. For our company, our main objective was to gain introductions to potential customers, and with the vast customer list of a company like PwC, it was essential to have a targeted focus on specific sectors and example customers to increase the effectiveness of the introductions.
Therefore, before joining the programme, it's worth taking the time to think through your goals and target approach to maximize your chances of success.
What do you love most about running Perse?
I love the potential of what Perse can do. It really is significant. And I know a lot of people want to say that about businesses, but because we've got whole of market coverage for the whole of grid in Great Britain and, you know, the carbon for every building and every vehicle, that is huge and the ability to provide services to reduce those emissions is really exciting.
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