And so it happened yet another year. The voice of ecopreneurs and sustainable SMEs was heard loud and clear at the 2017 UN Climate Summit COP23 in Bonn, Germany, on November 9-10. Sumit Kishore, ECO4CLIM17 Global Climate Champion (and winner of ECO4CLIM17 Warsaw by Kapitech), presented TOOKLee, a high-potential sustainable mobility platform; in front of decision makers, experts, and fellow climate changemakers on the world stage. In this interview, Sumit speaks about his green business in the making, how it contributes to implement the Paris Agreement and the SDGs on the ground, and ultimately lays out his vision for a sustainable, inclusive and zero-carbon future.
Interview with Sumit Kishore at COP23, by RTCC – Climate Home
About the ecopreneur
1-2.Name and last name of founder: Sumit Kishore
3.Company, organization or project: TOOKLee
4.City or community: Warsaw
About the project
6.Tell us a bit about your project, company or organization; from your mission and objectives to your products or services, passing by your value proposition and key beneficiaries
TookLee is an innovative ride and car share service, a smart solution that will allow people to offer a ride in their cars and make the best use of those unused spaces. That will bring us direct benefits:
- Now millions of people can use the ride share & be the passenger instead of using their own cars.
- People will have another mode of transport with the thousands of new routes without building any additional infrastructure. Government or any other institutions projects cannot achieve it in a short term
- Offering and sharing a ride will be more economical for both passengers and car owners
- Journeys will be more entertaining. Meet interesting people with similar destinations. A great social impact in this digital world
FEWER CARS – LESS TRAFFIC – LESS AIR & NOISE POLLUTION
# Better Climate
Our mission is:
- To protect climate by having fewer cars on streets and burning less fossil fuels
- To have less traffic in the cities and have easily available parking areas
- To provide a large transport infrastructure created by community itself instead of an organization or government
- To save money on Taxis and other expensive transport methods
The idea behind TookLee started many years ago in Delhi, India. Back in 2003/04, my brother and I started our career working with multi national companies. We both were working in Gurgaon (a business hub next to Delhi with lots of companies) Everyday millions of people (with/without their cars) commute to Gurgaon for work:
- I was lucky because I had a free cab service to commute to my office
- However my brother had to manage his transport by himself
- My father used to drop my brother to one of the main road few kms from our home (a road for long distance journeys within the city)
- From that Road, my brother used to show his hands for a lift to many cars passing by.
- After few minutes of performing beautiful chase, it usually had a Happy Ending!
- He was not alone on that main road asking cars for a ride, he was always accompanied by the crowd of people fighting to be the first and get a seat
”I always thought that it would be so useful if my brother could know in advance about the cars going to Gurgaon and he would contact them and reserve a space in the car instead of going to that main road”
Presentation of TOOKLeek at COP23 IETA Business Hub
7.Regarding your business model, what are your main sources of revenue and how is financial sustainability achieved?
TookLee revenues will be coming from:
- Commission fees on every transaction from a shared ride
- Commission fees on every transaction from a shared car
- Some extra add on service features to the car owners and car rental companies
8.Any magic ingredients in your communication strategy?
TookLee is a platform where service is by the people for the people. People usually like when their actions have positive impact on the community or the World. We will try our best to share a simplified data to reflect the positive impact on climate and to the transport services
“Making actions and Impact visible to everyone will be the approach”
9.What are your next steps in the short-to-mid term?
- Hire full time employees to get us rolling with the fast speed
- Complete the mobile apps and launch ASAP
- Partner with Governments and Foundations to help us to protect climate and market our product to the people
- Mentors & Accelerator programs with the suitable expertise to our product
- Funding – capital is required at every step we take
- Regulations and Legal processes to be performed supporting the business and service side of TookLee
10.Looking ahead, what is your long-term vision, say in 5 years from now?
- Security: People security is the priority for us. We will have a dedicated team to ensure the best-secured service ever provided by any technological solution. It will include users authentication, data protection and many others based on each country
- Awareness: Climate change is a real problem that we all will face in coming years. Making people aware of the impact from their actions is very important. By using TookLee service, people will play a major role and everybody will be a # SuperClimateMan / SuperClimateWoman. This is our short-term, long-term or you can say lifetime goal
- Infrastructure for Ride Share:We will have to ensure that the service is accessible possible by everyone as easy as. That will include people from all the age groups like one-month infant babies to senior citizens. We have to provide a technological solution that can solve all such problems
- Infrastructure for Car Share: Every city has multiple car sharing companies. In order to provide a good car share service we will have to build a technological Infrastructure that suits all our business partners. It will be very challenging to create one platform for all global business partners but as a long-term goal we have to create a fair share policy and unbiased system
- Partnerships: To provide a global solution, we need global partners and need support from foundations and Governments
- Regulations: People are same globally but the countries they lived in have different regulations. We will have to ensure that TookLee do not violate any countries laws and instead take support from the regulators to authenticate the business and service side
11.What would your advice be for ecopreneurs starting up?
We are new in the market so not in a position of giving advice. Just small tips would be:
- Focus on long term problem
- Sign up for ECO4CLIM18
- Live more diversified lifestyle to feel the difference and face problems. It helped me!
- Listen to people not only about fancy things but also about issues that effect humanity
Sumit Kishore participaing in an expert panel on sustainable mobility at COP23 IETA Business Hub
12.Select the three (3) UN Sustainable Development Goals your project can make a significant contribution to.
TookLee makes a significant contribution to achieve following goals:
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Climate Action
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
13.Elaborate your answer a bit. Tell us concretely how your project is creating impact in relation with those 3 SDGs, now and in the future
- Sustainable Cities and Communities– Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
TookLee will help cities to have fewer cars and create more space for people
- Climate Action– Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy
Fewer cars means decrease in the number of fossil fuels. For example: if in a city; 10,000 people will decide not use their cars (with average journey of 4 kms) today and use TookLee ride service then city has protected itself from pollution could have caused by burning fossil fuels for 40,000 kms
- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure– Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
TookLee will provide a large transport infrastructure created by community itself instead of an organization or government. People will have another mode of transport with the thousands of new routes with the self-built infrastructure without additional resources
14.Let’s focus now on climate change (SDG #13). Firstly, is your project substantially reducing CO2 emissions, compared with similar “business-as-usual” alternatives? How and how much (approximative %)? Please define the “business-as-usual” alternative you use as benchmark
Effective, Competitive & Productive
- TookLee is substantially reducing CO2 emissions
- Even though we cannot be compared directly with similar “business-as-usual”, there are some alternatives which are TAXI / Uber / LYFT / Ola Cab services but there you need additional car to do the job. However, in our project there is no additional resourced car. Anybody who offers a ride is going on his journey anyway whether someone takes a ride or not
We strongly believe that majority of people will use the TookLee service because its more practical, effective and economical. As an example if 1 million people decide everyday to take TookLee, we will have million cars less on streets and World has protected itself from pollution, which could have caused by burning fossil fuels for million cars. Now if people will practice this everyday then we have higher chances of having better World
15.The consequences of climate change are upon us already. In what ways does your project help communities cope, adapt and become more resilient in the face of these impacts?
FEWER CARS – LESS TRAFFIC – LESS AIR & NOISE POLLUTION
17.As you may know, the Paris Agreement strongly emphasizes the need to adopt cooperative approaches at all levels, and boost innovation, in order to be able to accomplish the rapid and across-the-board transformation required to rise to the challenge (climate change). How does this formula (cooperation + innovation) apply both to your strategy and daily operations?
Paris Agreement and other initiatives helped to spread awareness, motivate people to use Green transport and urban mobility solutions, green energy and many green projects. Now we see often people showing concern about Climate Change. It will help TookLee:
- To get more users globally
- To get partnerships with Car share companies
- To get partnerships with Governments and foundations
- To get access to capital and funds for project execution
- To succeed in the market
18. As we move from brokeing accordsto fostering action towards real In your view, what is and must be the role of ecopreneurs and SMEs in implementing these agreements on the ground, and actually building a new, more sustainable, and equitable economy? What do SMEs bring to the table that large companies, NGOs, governments or other stakeholders don’t?
Key success factors for SMEs and ecopreneurs:
- Innovative Ideas
- Fast Decision
- Fast Execution
19.In the past, businesses and NGOs from the so-called “Climate Movement” have kept their distance, and even seen each other as “enemies”? What’s your particular take on this? Do you think they have to work together? How does your companyrelate to civil society organizations and movements?
- TookLee is a platform for the people by the people
- People often have different approach to solve the same problem
- Our goal is to provide a technological solution that fits majority and do not ignore the minority
“TookLee is a community-based service and we want to collaborate with all”
ECO4CLIM17, COP23 and next steps
Sumit Kishore presenting (and winning!) TOOKLee at ECO4CLIM17 Warsaw by Kapitech
20. What did you get from participating in ECO4CLIM17? Any highlights?
- Proof of concept
21. Tell us about your experience at the 2017 UN Climate Summit (COP23): the key moments for you, most valuable contacts you made, people that inspired you, things you learned, the overall atmosphere of the conference, the memories you cherish the most and will share your children/grandchildren one day …
COP23 was an amazing experience: we made multiple contacts such as with Luxembourg and Germany government officials, talented and knowledgeable panelists and many more. We also met with representatives from the Ecopreneurs for Climate community, some of the strongest support we have as of today. One thing I have learned and realised is that we are not alone in this fight, and that itself is an inspiration for us. The atmosphere was great, and the event nicely organised of course. Also, I noticed some eco-entreneurship projects at COP23 that while yet at the ground level stage, they hold enormous potential to make the world a better place. Whenever they are up and running, and after making positive impact, this will be the story to tell.
22. The next phase of the “Ecopreneurs for the Climate” movement, concerns the deployment of a global network of climate innovation labs, where new climate-champion green business ideas will emerge, and also impactful models and best practices will be shared and replicated across the world. Given your current needs, what would you like to see happening in these labs to scale up the impact of your project? For example, would you fancy embarking yourself on a climate innovation journey to explore green economy ecosystems, meet fellow changemakers, and forge international partnerships in other cities and countries?
Yes, we will be happy to participate in future events and support fellow changemakers