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11 January 2023

Want to make greener investment choices? Meet Sugi

As part of our quick fire questions series – or QFQs – we spoke to Josh Gregory, founder of Sugi about how the business is driving growth in green investing through user-friendly and engaging options for everyday investors.

The last few years have seen enormous growth in green investing, with most of the focus on institutional investors. Many retail investors want to engage in green investing too, but the jargon is confusing and greenwashing is rife. It’s a huge barrier to entry. I founded Sugi to break down that barrier.

Sugi is a platform designed for everyday investors, showing them the personalised climate impact of their investments. We use independent climate data from leading providers – it’s robust and reliable. And we present it in a user-friendly and engaging way.

Tell me about the business – what it is, what it aims to achieve, who you work with, how you reach customers and so on?

Our aim is to make it as easy as possible for everyday investors to make greener choices when managing their portfolios.

We launched Sugi as a free-to-use app in the UK. As a user, you can connect to your investment portfolio using Open Finance technology or manually enter your investments. You can then view the carbon impact of your entire portfolio and your ‘portfolio temperature’ to see if it aligns with the 1.5 degree global warming target. You can drill down into individual investments to see which have the highest climate impact and how they compare with an industry benchmark and similar investments in the market.

We also now work with financial institutions, platforms and advisers across the UK and Europe to help them bring Sugi’s personalised climate metrics to their own clients and customers.

How has the business evolved since its launch?

We initially launched as a B2C app in May 2021, showing investors the carbon impact of their investments. Since then, we’ve launched a portfolio temperature metric and offsetting feature and expanded our impact coverage to include fixed income investments. Plus we now have a number of fantastic B2B partnerships. We currently provide impact data for over £250M of client investments.

Tell us about the working culture at Sugi?

We’re a fully remote team, with mixed backgrounds and skill sets. We’re also all senior professionals in our own fields, which means a wealth of expertise and delivery to a very high standard. And, of course, we’re all deeply committed to helping solve the climate crisis.

How are you funded?

We were initially backed by a group of angel investors and we also had an overfunded crowdfund. We’ve been revenue generating since 2021.

What has been your biggest challenge so far and how have you overcome this?

Launching during a pandemic! I’m sure most startups have been saying that these past couple of years. A great team, investors who believe in us and – of course – a brilliant product, have kept us going through a very difficult time.

How does Sugi answer an unmet need?

It’s well established that most people want to make greener investments choices. This simply can’t be done without the right information. That’s where Sugi comes in.

What’s in store for the future?

We’ll be adding new metrics to our platform soon and focusing on launching more exciting partnerships. Watch this space.

What one piece of advice would you give other founders or future founders?

A lot of people will be queueing up to offer you advice, especially in the tech world. The important thing is to listen to lots of different voices but ultimately trust your own judgement. After all, it’s your company.

And finally, a more personal question! What’s your daily routine and the rules you’re living by at the moment?

If you have important emails to send out, for example sales proposals, write them the night before. It makes the mornings much easier if you only have to press send!

Josh Gregory is the founder of Sugi.