Ecolibrium boss: Founders, be authentic on social media – Fi5

ecolibrium founder

Chintan Soni is the co-founder and CEO of Ecolibrium, a decarbonisation platform for commercial and industrial real estate that uses machine learning and internet-connected sensors to provide insights on infrastructure energy use.

London-based Ecolibrium’s core product, called SmartSense, collects data from thousands of internet-of-things (IoT) sensors placed on a building’s energy infrastructure. These sensors feed back real-time insights to help businesses reduce energy consumption.

The company relocated its headquarters to the UK from India in 2022. It is backed by QPR Football Club Chairman Amit Bhatia’s Swordfish Investments and venture capital firm Unbound.

Its technology is used by brands including Amazon, Fiat, Honeywell and Thomson Reuters.

In this week’s Founder in Five Q&A, Soni explains why founders should “be authentic” on social media, reveals his most promising nascent technology and the “therapeutic” powers of cooking.

1. Has sustainability changed any of your business processes?

Chintan Soni: Our core proposition is about helping organisations across industries, including commercial and industrial real estate owners and operators, to decarbonise and achieve sustainable prosperity, leveraging technology to provide deeper insights and actionable intelligence. So sustainability – and society’s growing ambition to tackle climate change – has fundamentally shaped our offer, which is constantly evolving to provide partners with the technology infrastructure and reporting ability that increasing ESG regulations require.

Ultimately, deploying technology to help buildings run more efficiently is the most impactful way to reduce your carbon footprint – and it also provides the real-time data you need to track and continuously improve performance.

2. Should founders be outspoken on social media?

CS: I think founders should be authentic, and if you hold a deeply-held view, you shouldn’t be afraid to communicate it publicly on social media. However, as a founder, you need to be conscious of the impact of your words on the business you’ve built, your employees, investors and partners.

Taking a considered approach to social media would be my recommendation – but don’t shy away from showing off your true personality, and talk about interests and issues which you genuinely care about.

3. What’s a fact about yourself that people might find surprising?

CS: I co-hold three patents: two in the telecoms space and another in the predictive maintenance space. I’m an engineer by background and really love solving complex problems for organisations and society – and there is no greater challenge to solve right now than the urgent need to decarbonise real estate, which is responsible for 40% of global carbon emissions.

I’m lucky to work alongside some brilliant technical minds in our R&D, and engineering teams who constantly push the boundaries of sustainability-focused technology innovation. I’m a hands-on project manager at heart, so assembling impactful leadership teams and getting involved in product development is really important to me.

4. In another life you’d be?

CS: I’ve had a lifelong passion for cooking, so I would say working as a chef. The power of food to bring people together has always inspired me and led to many lively debates with friends and family over the dinner table – including meaningful conversations with my co-founder and brother Harit about how we can better protect our planet through technology innovation.

Cooking, for me, is also very therapeutic – and taking time to focus on life outside of work is critically important in supporting mental well-being. As a founder, I know it can be hard to switch off as you constantly look to grow your business, but taking time for yourself will enable you to grow personally as your company scales up.

5. Which nascent technology holds the most promise?

CS: Whilst the jury is still out on how generative AI will create commercial value for business over the long term, it could have a transformational impact across many industries if it sees mass adoption.

AI, from a predictive maintenance standpoint, however, is already here and helping building owners and occupiers to digitally identify performance and health issues before they happen. By leveraging AI to anticipate building issues, owners can reduce downtime and avoid expensive repair costs.

Founder in Five – a UKTN Q&A series with the entrepreneurs behind the UK’s innovative tech startups, scaleups and unicorns – is published every Friday.