Enviromate: Reiss Salustro
Founder Salustro opens up about launching his bootstrapped start-up whilst working full time, and how the vision of his business' future makes it worth it
Name: Reiss Salustro
Company name: Enviromate
Location: South East
Date launched: 10/08/14
Tell us what your business does:
Enviromate is a online & easy-to-use platform to list, search and trade surplus and reusable materials for free or at a small cost.
The site is directed at tradespeople and DIY enthusiasts but there is also a page for community projects and charities so they can list their projects in detail and the materials required, thus attracting donations from larger developers looking to increase/improve their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Enviromate came from our mission to reduce the construction landfill and create a sustainable future for all. When working in the construction industry, me and my co-founder witnessed first hand the amount of reusable materials that get wasted and also saw local community projects struggle in search of materials to complete projects. So we started brain storming and researching a platform that could enable and encourage the reuse of these materials and after a few weeks and lots of coffee – the Enviromate brand was born.
How did you know there was a market for it?
We knew there was a market due to our work in the industry and from interest in sustainable construction. The industry itself has a market value of approximately £1.5 billion and though we have seen some great progress, the UK construction industry generates 120 million tonnes of waste and it is estimated that 13% of construction products that arrive on a building site end up as waste product without ever being used.
What were you doing before starting up?
I have been working in marketing & advertising since leaving university and still do while I try build up our new venture in every spare hour.
Have you always wanted to run your own business?
Absolutely, since leaving university where I studied business management and entrepreneurship was a key module; however not just a profiteering business but a social enterprise that gives back and makes a difference – social entrepreneurship is a core focus in our ambitions and growth.
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How did you raise the money?
Our venture has been self funded – channeling capital from salaries and savings to grow the venture to its current position. It’s a difficult process but the vision for the future of our start-up keeps us going; accepting the sacrifices is an element of starting a new business but having a brighter future of running our business and making a difference makes it worth it.
Describe your business model and how you make money:
Our model works like a classified site for local tradesmen (a gumtree for construction materials) and a hub for larger developers to donate to community projects to enhance their CSR and benefit the environment.
What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
We have faced a few challenges with the usability of the site but trial and error and listening to member feedback has helped us to react quickly to overcome these issues.
What was your first big breakthrough?
Going live and seeing all our work become a reality was very special. Since then some great articles on the brand and seeing membership numbers grow consistently.
What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?
Focus and believe you will succeed but most importantly follow your dreams – even if sometimes it has to start out as a part-time thing.
Where do you want to be in five years’ time?
We hope to grow Enviromate into the largest classified site for construction materials and connecting community projects and charities to developers – to the point where Enviromate becomes an educator and is able to show the tangible benefits of recycling instead of just throwing materials out!