Tech For Our Planet champion BrainBox AI on moving from pledge to plan in the race to net-zero

A huge congratulations to BrainBox AI who was announced as the winners of the COP26 Tech For Our Planet showcase run by PUBLIC and the Cabinet Office. Check out this interview detailing their innovative digital solution and journey through the Tech For Our Planet process!

What contribution do you believe your digital solution will have in combatting the effects of climate change?

The  built  environment  is  one  of  the  largest  climate change contributors in our time. The days of inefficient energy usage of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems should be behind us and instead replaced with more sustainable and optimised models. BrainBox AI is key to unlocking this. Through our industry-defining technology, powered by AI, we can connect rapidly and securely to autonomously learn any building’s unique characteristics, leveraging both internal and external data sources to predict the future of thermal behaviour of  each  zone  with  over  99%  accuracy. By  making  continuous  adjustments  to  each component of a building’s entire HVAC system, we can reduce building energy consumption by up to 25% and carbon footprint by 20-40%.

Global buy-in is paramount to turning this solution into a key component of our fight against climate change. We will continue to miss critical targets to cut emissions if we don’t scale solutions globally. Every nation has a role to play in adopting and deploying digital solutions such as ours, we can no longer afford to have optional stakes at the table. Moving forward from COP26, our priority will be working to encourage developing and developed countries to see where AI powered  technologies  can  mean  all  the  difference between  carrying a  challenging  burden  and transforming their climate goals into action.

As you have been announced as the winner of Tech For Our Planet, how will you use your title to influence others and further scale your digital solutions?

BrainBox AI leaves this programme with a renewed sense of hope and energy. When time is  of  the  essence  as  it  is  for  both  a startup  and  in  fighting  climate  change,  winning  at the  world stage  of  COP26  takes  our  platform  to  greater  heights.  The kind that  is  critical when  real climate  action  means  scaling  globally  and  getting  noticed  beyond  the  markets you typically operate in. Taking  part  in  this  programme  presented  us  with  a  chance  to meet  with  and showcase our technology to larger organisations and governments - those that  we  need to interact with more  often.  We’ll  only  continue to get our foot in the door and highlight how the  startup  ecosystem’s technologies  are  fundamental  to  the  route  of travel  set  out  at COP26.

What has been your main highlight in the Tech For Our Planet showcase?

What excited me a great deal was the calibre of the other nine startups in the room. It’s hard to put it any other way than to highlight how much talent and meaningful innovation was amongst our competition, each and every one of them merited recognition. More than that, the seismic opportunity of presenting in front of 200 people and streaming globally was a moment I won’t ever forget. It was an incredible feeling to stand before others fighting to move from promises to real progress. It’s not every day you’re surrounded by and introduced to such a force of inspirational and influential people driven by the same mission.

Do you think participating in Tech For Our Planet has had a positive impact on highlighting your digital solution to a wider audience?

Without a doubt, the exposure has been immense. The scale of recognition that has come from this opportunity is invaluable - no amount of money or marketing spend could have amounted to as much as we benefited from being a part of this showcase at COP26 both for us and the other start ups that were selected. What we’ve got to make sure of is how we can drive forth more chances for climate solutions to receive a global stage to showcase to. It has far reaching benefits that startups such as us only dream of.

What originally encouraged you to apply for Tech For Our Planet and do you feel the programme has met your expectations?

Well we were really inspired by the prospect of even being able to attend COP26, let alone being able to showcase our solutions. It started off with being driven by the value of increased awareness. If we were able to be a part of the progress taking place through the Tech For Our Planet programme then we could consider that a really significant moment in our mission to make change happen. What happened next, well, we couldn’t have envisioned what winning would come to mean to us. For all of us, it validated what we do each day and why, and makes us only want to move faster and further to achieve our ambitions. It was a surreal experience for the team and we’re still riding high from the win.

In relation to the finalists that participated in the showcase, do you feel that a Tech For Our Planet network has been created where you all can engage and communicate your digital solutions long term?

One of the most unique things to come out of COP26 was this network. Every panel we sat on and the startups we engaged with brought us closer together and allowed us to share our experiences and the many roadblocks we’re still up against when driving the adoption of our solutions. It really created a collective sense of community around getting digital solutions off the ground and pushing to get the much needed attention from governments around the world. We understood the importance of being atCOP26 as startups.  The Tech For Our Planet programme was unique in establishing startup presence as a crucial part of the COP26 conversation. There’s a real sense of feeling united and wanting to take this further and I’ve no doubt that the programme will.

What does the Tech For Our Planet winner title mean to you?

For  me,  it  was  really  the whole experience. Being selected, let alone being chosen as the Tech For  Our  Planet winner  at  arguably  the  most  important  climate  conference  in history was  an opportunity  of  a  lifetime.  It brought into  a  new  light  just  how  important the  work that  we’re  doing  is  and  why  more  groundbreaking solutions  need  to  be broadcasted  to  a  wider audience.  I’m  also  that  much  more  driven  to  address the  very issues  that  prevent  us  from  going  further  faster,  specifically  highlighting  to larger  organisations  and governments  the  need  to  take  notice  of  how  a  continuation of  bureaucratic  approaches  to procurement will hinder progress in fighting climate change.

Do you believe participating in Tech For Our Planet will have a positive impact on Brainbox AI on a long-term basis?

Undoubtedly yes, though it cemented the reality that COP26 shouldn’t end there in Glasgow. Events such as this need to receive more funding to be consistently held to make leaders accountable for promises made to people around the world. Greater participation and inclusion with others driving towards the same cause will keep the positive impact moving ahead. We hope to see the Tech For Our Planet programme given more opportunities to carry on their amazing work at future COP's.

What advice would you give to other startups who are interested in participating in Tech For Our Planet?

Don’t hesitate - go for it! The chance to showcase your solutions to government officials, investors, other startups and more significant stakeholders will only make you better, more effective and driven. In time, we hope to see the Tech For Our Planet’s alumni community grow and become the ones encouraging younger startups to participate in ambitious programmes such as this one.  More importantly, we want to be the ones convincing them that their missions are possible and to not slow down!


Natasha Wren
Head of Communications

Nov 29, 2021