Alberto Olias Ibor: Our Mission Is To Accelerate The Transition Towards Sustainability Of The Entertainment And Hospitality Sectors Through Technology

Our mission is to accelerate the transition towards sustainability of the entertainment and hospitality sectors through technology.

Tell us about yourself?

I’ve been told many times that the story of how I went from Law to Sustainability is quite unconventional.

After graduating from my Bachelor of Law in Spain, I went on to study a Master’s Degree in European Law in Maastricht (NL) – I was on my way to a successful career in Law! One word made the train derail: S T A R T U P.

Since my time at the Faculty I had an itch for technology and entrepreneurship, and that’s not something that just goes away.

I had a thorn in my side, and I had to take it out! After failing different times in the course of several years at building a functioning startup (reasons: idea, people, funding), it happened: Circular Unity.

Of course, it grew and evolved over time to become what it is today, but it started as a simple concept: provide a data-driven tool to event organizers so they could measure, understand and take action in relation to their events’ carbon emissions.

I loved it; the idea of using tech innovatively to enable climate action hooked me instantly, and there I went.

I could have become many things: an advocate, a musician (I play violin, piano and guitar), or DJ (I love producing and playing electronic music), but my true passion recalled me and got me on track toward a career in entrepreneurship.

But make no mistake: the whole process took me almost a decade, and there wasn’t at any point any guarantee that I’d get what I wanted.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

On one hand, where I am now is the result of the many (many!) things that I’ve done and tried in my life, so the advice would be “just keep going, trust yourself, and you’ll get there”.

And yet, there are always things that could have been done or approached differently.

From this perspective, I’d tell myself: “focus on getting things done, be a “doer” consistently, and learn to define a vision and focus on getting results to make it to the end line”.

What problem does your business solve?

initially, we identified a lack of sustainability management tools for the events sector.

After speaking with many organizers, it became clear that most of the events’ sustainability aspects were being managed based on spreadsheets and manual work.

It became evident that we could offer a technological solution to not only optimize the work already being done, but also to make sustainability accessible to many more events.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Technology, when properly implemented, has a thing for democratizing the access to certain services or outcomes, and it was clear to us from the outset that we wanted to enable event organizers in making their events sustainable.

All our work is oriented towards climate action, making a more responsible use of resources, and doing so through smart city technology – in today’s terms we’d say that the pillars of our business are the SDGs 13, 11 and 12, although there is a direct link between impactALL and each and every SDG.

In our team, and it’s something that we’ve discussed many times, there was an “itch” to fight climate change and to make the world sustainable – in fact, some of us have worked on sustainability-oriented businesses before.

We jumped at the opportunity to create an easy-to-use and automated sustainability solution for events, with a powerful carbon accounting engine based on international standards at its core.

What is your magic sauce?

What’s amazing about Circular Unity is our relentless focus on the equation customer needs + technology.

We’re constantly reminding ourselves that all the technological enablement only makes sense if it solves a problem that our customers have.

In other words, what you’re making could be amazingly cool from a tech perspective, but if no one is going to use it, it’s a waste of time and resources that could be invested in something that does solve a problem.

Given that most startups follow lean methodologies to one extent or another, in order to remain competitive we need to make sure that we minimize waste: to ensure that we’re on the right track, during decision making we give a voice to our customers.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Our vision is two-fold: to make impactALL the reference sustainability solution in the entertainment and hospitality sectors, which is intimately linked to the second element – making a sustainability impact as great as possible.

The “magic” of our business model is that our results as a company follow our impact in the world, and vice-versa. We’re proud to be engineered this way, and we’ll fight hard to make it happen.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

The biggest challenge was the product. We knew that the market was there, that there were customers that are underserved, and thus we had to build the best product possible.

But just anything wouldn’t cut it: it had to be reliable, robust, and data-driven, yet at the same time easy-to-use, flexible and scalable.

The technological expertise of our team is off-the-charts, and thanks to that we overcame all the issues that come with creating such a product.

While impactALL is already a mature product, as a tech company the work of making improvements and iterations never ends – it comes with the job, let’s say.

For us it’s definitely not a one-off task. We think of Circular Unity as enduring commitment to serve our customers to the best of our ability based on their evolving needs.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We’re at a time that there are more tech startups than experienced and qualified developers to make them happen so we’re always on the lookout for great developers with a strong attitude towards sustainability.

We look for the same level of commitment than the one that we have to our customers. Additionally, great marketers are key in accelerating the process of reaching out to, and interacting with, the right people and companies.

We’re also looking for professionals that have successfully marketed SaaS products – preferably climate tech products.

Written by Mark Kendall

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