Founders Series: Josie Stoker, Co-Founder of Capture

The founders series takes a deep dive into the journey of Antler portfolio company founders and sheds light on the space they are building in. This week, we spoke to Josie Stoker, co-Founder of Capture. She and her co-founder Aziz Abdul have built an app to track carbon emissions. 

Capture is a digital platform enabling organisations to mobilise one of their greatest assets in the fight for a sustainable future- their workforce. Through their app, integrations and dashboard, they run planet-friendly challenges and help companies live-monitor their CO2 savings.

Tell us about your vision in building the Capture app. Who is your target audience and how are you reaching them?

95% of US consumers believe sustainability is a good goal, but don’t know what to look for when choosing a planet-friendly option. People are more concerned about climate change than contracting COVID-19, and right now there’s a huge void of data helping us make the informed choices we want to make. Our team at Capture wants to fix that.

We have the greatest impact when empowering people on-masse, and our target audience is organisations. We help them to mobilise a sustainable workforce. This results in bottom line wins for our clients via boosts in engagement & retention, cost savings via more sustainable behaviours, and valuable data on CO2 savings.

We use a product-led-growth approach here at Capture; around 80% of our client work is with organisations who’ve reached out after trialing our free ‘Fitbit for your carbon footprint’ app.

In what ways are attitudes towards living a more climate-conscious lifestyle shifting, and what top tips do you have for individuals looking to reduce their carbon impact? 

Sustainability has become mainstream, and we’re going to see every company on the planet prioritising it (or being ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to prioritise it by investors, employees, customers and/or regulators) between now and 2030. Frankly, we don’t have much choice.

Remember back in the early 2000’s when everyone started talking about the ‘digital revolution’? We’re at the beginning of that right now with sustainability. The global pandemic has failed to put any dent in progress and the global green technology & sustainability market is projected to grow to USD $36.6 billion by 2025 with a CAGR of 26.6% for that period. 

If you’re new to sustainability as an individual - welcome! Don’t worry about being perfect here - it’s not all or nothing. We need billions being sustainable imperfectly rather than a small group of perfectionists.

The best place to start is via a simple calculator to measure emissions across your lifestyle - which will help you identify your greatest areas for improvement. This might be your diet, travel choices or home energy usage. Check out the WWF footprint calculator here, and of course Capture’s app is ready and waiting to help you track and reduce your emissions from travel and food choices. 

Josie

Whilst you’re at it, you can take a quick look at whether your bank is financing fossil fuel projects, and do a little digging at work to find out what your employer is doing. Never underestimate your influence at work.

What attracted you to want to build in this space? Have you always been passionate about sustainability and climate action? 

In my previous role, I facilitated learning from Indigenous Communities in remote parts of Mongolia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Kenya, Australia and South Africa. We would connect CEOs and senior leaders in the corporate world with communities thriving in some of the harshest environments on the planet, and I lived in Mongolia for a couple years.

It was brilliant - but I started piecing together stories of extreme and changing weather patterns from communities in different parts of the world and realised the impact that climate change was already having on those living close to nature. It was pretty devastating.

Josie

I started where I think most people do when taking their first steps into learning about sustainability - ‘what can I do?’ Having come across a website called shameplane.com, I realised the impact my travel choices were having on global emissions and became frustrated at the deliberate void of data available to individuals around emissions of goods and services. I joined Antler with that challenge in mind, and the product evolved from there after meeting my co-founder and testing to find out what people really wanted, not just needed, when it came to sustainability.

Can you share your co-founder story? How did you meet and what attracted you to want to build together?

I met Aziz at the Antler Singapore program and we found out that we had a really good mix of technical skills but also fit well personality-wise when it came to collectively surviving a pressure-cooker! Aziz is from a software engineering background, having spent nearly a decade managing teams building apps and web-apps for clients around the world, so the perfect mix with my BD and sales background, and we were both passionate about building solutions in sustainability.

Our diverse backgrounds really benefited us in the ideation process and building process - we’re able to empathise with a broad range of potential user personas and we’ve kept a global perspective from the beginning. 

Tell us about some of your lowest lows and highest highs being an entrepreneur.

Every week feels like a rollercoaster, so there’s certainly a lot to be said for figuring-out a way of working that you can keep up for years. Burnout is real!  A low point for me was dealing with the pressure the first time we raised an angel round. I had a panic attack on the way to collect our first cheque, passed out on the MRT and woke up with a bloody nose on the floor of the train. Still got the cheque - albeit with a bruised face the next day!

Highs include being featured by BBC News and showcased as App of the Day on the UK and Ireland AppStores. Also, pretty much every time we receive an inbound enquiry from an organisation asking for help mobilising a sustainable workforce with Capture!

What advice do you have for founders thinking about taking the plunge into entrepreneurship? 

Trust your instinct and fail fast. In the early days, treat everything as an ‘experiment’ and stay obsessed with your problem - not your solution. Don’t be afraid to prioritise the needs of your customers and users over the opinions of your investors. Don’t leave money on the table in a global pandemic (we certainly made that mistake!), and my favourite piece of advice from Elon Musk to the question "What words of encouragement would you give to an entrepreneur?"- "If you need words of encouragement, don't become an entrepreneur".

Surround yourself with cheerleaders and fellow founders to help you through. We’re biased of course, but a program like Antler can be a great way to get started. 

What have been some of the milestones your company has achieved since its inception? How has this growth been possible?

We’ve worked with some incredible brands to help them mobilise a sustainable workforce; including Experian, Bain & Co., Quintet Private Bank and a leading pharmaceutical company. All these firms found us via our app or website. Our organic growth both in terms of corporates and our >50k B2C users has been possible thanks to the hard work of our team, and being sure to put ourselves in the right place at the right time. 

Product-led-growth has been such a great strategy for us considering our paid product is B2B2C; we need to be able to prove that employees will use and enjoy using our platform, so having consumers using a basic version voluntarily is key! We’ve also been so grateful for the support of some incredible investors and advisors along the way, and our angel investors along with Antler have provided invaluable help and advice.

Josie pitching at Antler's Demo Day in 2019

What is the vision for 2021 and beyond?

We are working hard along our path to becoming the leading platform to help organisations mobilise a sustainable workforce. We’re going to move into digital learning, green rewards and benefits amongst other services, and are excited to give employees the ability to rate employers when it comes to prioritising sustainability this year; helping others to choose who they work for with the data they deserve.

Josie and her co-founder Aziz were part of Antler Southeast Asia’s third cohort. They launched Capture and pitched at our Demo Day in 2019.

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