Green Tech South-West proudly welcomed Jo Hand, co-founder of GikiBadges and Giki Zero, to talk about their apps to measure, track and reduce your carbon footprint. Ahead of their talk we were fortunate enough to catch up with her co-founder and partner James Hand to tell us a bit more about Giki and what the future holds for them.
GTSW: In a nutshell, who are Giki and what makes your offering unique?
James: We’re a social enterprise that makes digital products to help people live more sustainably. Our free app, Giki Badges, rates UK supermarket products on whether they are sustainable and healthy and (as far as we know!) it’s the only one like it in the UK because we cover over 250,000 products. We think what makes us unique is the amount of data we analyse to provide people with easy to understand badges that cover 15 issues from carbon footprints to palm oil.
GTSW: Can you share the story behind the green tech aspect of your product?
James: Giki stands for “get informed, know your impact” and right from the start we thought that if we can show people easy to understand information about green issues then they’re ready to change. To do that, you need usable tech which is where the app comes in. However, most of the green tech is in the back end where we ingest, clean and analyse all the data.
GTSW: Are you able to tell us anything about the tech/specific development languages behind the app?
James: We use Rails for all the back end. It does a great job for the algorithmics we need to write and obviously the support from the community is great. The app is React Native. Like many other start-ups, we also use a range of additional services that really help us develop quickly like Mixpanel, GA, Mailchimp and more.
GTSW: Can you share any challenges you may have faced around up-scaling your team? Any advice for those in a similar growth stage? (Particularly during difficult times…)
James: Nothing revelatory… it’s really hard to find great tech talent who also believe in your mission but we’re hardly the first start-up to find that! However, what we did find is that our network of users is a far better placed to find people than the usual channels.
GTSW: What’s next for Giki?
James: We’re just about to launch a new product called Giki Zero. It’s a step by step guide to help people live a more sustainable life and we’re really excited about it!
GTSW: Is there one piece of wisdom that you could pass on to those also looking to contribute to the Green Tech industry?
James: Collaborate with everyone. You’ll learn loads and your impact will be multiplied.
Thanks for sharing, James!