Enevo: Global Leaders of the Anti-Waste Culture
Everyone knows when their neighborhood community service day is up. The sad truth is - on a bad week - most containers still remain filled to the top and neglected, despite communities paying regular waste fees. Since filing complaints is all in vain, the garbage keeps on piling and the issue remains unsolved.
Breaking this nasty trend are Fredrik Kekalainen and Johan Engstrom. The pair of innovators used their technological upper hand to create Enevo, a platform that delivers groundbreaking change within the waste sector.
Enevo leads an anti-waste culture. It aims to reduce waste disposal and recycling costs by gathering and processing data from garbage containers worldwide. Enevo reduces administrative costs and boosts sustainability by supporting companies that measure, analyze and manage trash disposal across the USA, UK, and Europe.
High on innovation and aimed at making a global change, here is how entrepreneurs Fredrik and Johan built their business reputation in the name of community service!
The Early Birds
Fredrik Kekalainen was born in March 1975 and raised in Finland. As soon as he could read and write, Fredrik had nurtured the dream of owning a business. During his teenage years, he was ultimately interested in business development and entrepreneurship and had always shown fearless leadership skills.
Johan, on the other hand, was extraordinary even as a child. He spoke multiple languages - Finnish, Swedish, and English - and was simultaneously attracted to technology. One of his biggest dreams as a young man was to help communities worldwide solve everyday problems with the power of technology. But, before he could even attempt to make a global impact, both Fredrik and Johan needed to obtain the right skillset and professional experience.
Fredrik’s professional journey began as he enrolled at the Hanken School of Economics. At the time, the facility was considered among the most prominent faculties in the capital of Finland, Helsinki. Simultaneously with his studies, Fredrik began developing a solo business project and founded his first tech company, Eightball Ltd., in 1996. Once the company gained traction, Fredrik decided to sell it and reshift his focus.
After selling Eightball Ltd, Fredrik continued the startup saga by launching Fathamer Inc., a developer for graphic software systems for embedded and mobile device manufacturers. In 2006, the company was acquired by a Japanese company. With a generous experience already in his portfolio, Fredrik matured as an entrepreneur and felt it was high time for his community-oriented project to break the market.
In the meantime, Johan Engstrom enrolled at Aalto University to study IT, ultimately becoming a Master of Science. His passion was to take technology in the right direction and solve daily problems that helped all communities grow stronger. Johan founded his first venture in 1999 - a revolutionary startup for multiplayer games for mobile phones.
A few years after the startup launched, the company had grown enough for Johan to merge it with a digital marketing company. After the merge, Johan moved onto eCommerce. Yet, these dynamics as an entrepreneur weren’t satiable for his taste, so he decided to sell the company and work for Meridea instead. Before he started Enevo with Fredrik, Johan worked as a General Manager at the same company that acquired Fathamer Inc. – Acrodea.
Casual Conversations Create Clever Concepts
One day, Johan was complaining to Fredrik about the increasing housing association fees in waste management. The new waste management system, incorporated by Johan’s housing complex, was beyond impractical, as all tenants had to pay large sums - around 9,000 euros - to waste haulers that collected cardboard and scrap metal waste containers.
Fredrik was unemployed at the time and had the opportunity to explore the city and notice its ongoing waste issues. While working alongside Johan Engstrom in his garage, Fredrik struck up a conversation regarding the perpetual neighborhood garbage and its excess. Discussing the problem alone would not solve it, so Fredrik and Johan began looking into possible solutions to the growing concern. If they could only build a system that would know which container should be picked up next, all garbage mess would be much easier to handle.
The Idea Comes to Life
After many all-nighters of brainstorming and planning, Enevo was established in 2010, in Espoo, Finland. At the time, it was labeled as the only company dealing with waste management, data analytics, and logistic software - all at the same time!
Enevo installs sensors with embedded IoT into containers. These serve to notify waste managers whenever a container is full. The acquired information is next sent to the Enevo One Collect system which analyzes it and based on the finding, prepares a plan for every next route. Once the plan gets into the hands of operative managers, they will be ready to direct truck drivers to collect the trash before it overflows. Instead of sending a fleet of trucks on the way to less critical areas, operatives can manage the routes more efficiently and productively. Besides the plan, the system also gathers information regarding the trash content- transparency crucial for saving the ecological aspect. However, sensor innovation is only half the Enevo story.
The rest of it holds plans which save lots of money mindlessly spent on waste-related fees. Besides analytics, Enevo account managers use proprietary self-regulation tools to track warnings, compare dumpster pickups against collection agendas, and collaborate with haulers to suit the actual industry demands. The majority of users saw substantial waste treatment expense reduction even during the first month of using Enevo.
The backers who walked Enevo’s journey from the very start are Lifeline Venture, Earlybird Ventures, Finnish industry investment, Foxconn Group, and other private investors. All these share a piece of the company and have massively helped conduct anti-waste activism.
2014 was the year when the company spread onto North American, Middle Eastern, and European markets, with an investment worth €8 million. From 15 employees, the company grew to 70 staffers, and today, it counts 200 employees interested not only in being employed but in contributing to conscious waste management.
The company has raised approximately €46 million in funding over 6 rounds. The most recent investors backing Enevo are Draper Associates and Ginko Ventures.
The Rise of the Company
In the beginning, it was difficult to convince people to buy or trust Enevo’s system.
Thus, the company team decided to install the system for free. However, Fredrik and Johan were aware of their cost per collection and asked only for €10 for every trash collection eliminated by Enevo. Many satisfied customers later, the company began operating through monthly subscriptions and the rest is just history. The typical Enevo customers were waste management companies who struggled with this problem, especially in concrete jungles like Boston, San Francisco, London, Nottingham, Berlin, Tokyo, and Hong Kong.
Besides these, the company also noticed a growing interest from within the public and private sectors.
The Trendy Garbage
Besides the usual challenges of breaking the ice and finding investors, this company has gone through anti-advertising, as they were ridiculed on the internet. Since they have embedded the Internet of Things into their devices, people have coined new words for their company, usually in a pejorative sense. The jokes sadly contributed to relativizing their revolutionary idea, which made it even more difficult to attract new customers.
But, the founders and every other employee in Enevo made an excellent move that shut haters’ mouths. They played on the kill them with kindness card and accepted the ridiculing gracefully.
Enevo: A Friend To Humanity and Nature
After successfully leading waste management in Europe, Middle East, North America, and the UK, Enevo aims to spread its mission globally. Today, Enevo is headquartered in Espoo, Finland. However, in 2020, Enevo was happy to announce a deal with Recycle Truck Systems in New York City. It’s safe to say that this deal was a pivotal moment for the company as it was the second major contraction since its launch. The company soon became noticeable in America, which elevated its fundings to a total worth of $55.4 million.
Despite the doubts, uncertainties, and penetrating the market with innovation yet unseen, the Enevo team stands tall and proud in what it achieved. With a sublime product at hand, the platform is bound to scale further, work harder and keep talking trash - for all the right reasons!