Get to know illuminem - Techstars Sustainability Paris Accelerator

Nov 21, 2023

Markos Chrysikopoulos (CPO) | Andrea Gori (CEO) | Maria Vittoria Bassetto (COO) | Nicolas Vecchioli (CGO)

illuminem is the leading sustainability information & data platform. It empowers users to monitor the ESG performance of any company, stay updated with unlimited news & discover insights from the world’s largest expert network in sustainability.

1.   Describe the problem/the industry that you are trying to mediate (and precise the UN SDG-s you are solving).

At illuminem, we're tackling the complexity and opacity in the sustainability sector. Many companies and organizations struggle with a maze of sustainability metrics and scattered, hard-to-find, hard-to-understand information & data. This complexity often overshadows the real impact of sustainability efforts. We're building a platform that simplifies this landscape, offering the most transparent and insightful sustainability information to empower the sustainable transition!

As an information provider with a large engaged community, we are primarily tackling SDGs 4 (Quality education), 13 (Climate action), and 17 (Partnerships for the goals). 

2.   How did the idea to create the company come to mind? How did your team come to be?

We are a team of climate quitters. Our journey at illuminem started with a critical realization: there is a small but real window of opportunity to save this planet from a climate catastrophe. Many companies have “big plans“ for sustainability. However, they are hitting roadblocks in putting plans into action. The main hurdle? A sheer lack of quality information & data, from which technologies to deploy to which industry best practices to follow. Organizations around the world need this, to decarbonize and speak to their customers, stakeholders, and employees.

Our co-founders Andrea (CEO, at the time serving BCG’s Global Green Champion), Maria-Vittoria (COO), and fellow BCG colleagues Markos (CPO), Nicolas (CGO), created illuminem initially contributing on a part-time basis, dedicating all nights and weekends to the projects. A few months later, in 2023, as illuminem evolved into a thriving global community, the four founders, with Rogerio (our CTO), made the decisive leap and moved full-time. They left their established careers to devote themselves full-time to “a mission for our planet”.

3.   Why did you choose to participate in the Paris Techstars accelerator program? What are you looking forward to the most?

Joining the Paris Techstars accelerator was a natural choice for us. Techstars is known for its strong mentorship and connections in the industry. A key moment for us was meeting Paris Techstars MD, Raphale. She understood our vision right away and we had a very good fit.

We have not been disappointed. The mentorship at Techstars has been really helpful so far. We've had the chance to learn from experienced people in the industry who've given us both strategic and operational advice. What's also been great is meeting the other founders in the cohort. They're an amazing group, each bringing their unique ideas and perspectives, and we've learned a lot from them as well.

4.   What are you the most proud of in your initial journey with your company?

Our proudest achievement at illuminem has been building a vibrant global community. With over 170,000 users, we're not just sharing information & data. We're fostering a movement for sustainable change. Our platform has become a hub for over 1,200 sustainability Thought Leaders, sharing insights and developing sustainability solutions. We take pride in providing a stage for leading climate personalities, including renowned figures like G. Kell (founder of the UN Global Compact), J. Morgan (former Executive Director of Greenpeace), S. Flowers (Chairman of WoodMackenzie), or Armida Salsiah (Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations), among others. This has allowed us to not only contribute to the sustainability discourse but also influence real-world practices towards a more sustainable future.

5.   How do you plan to measure the positive impact of your company in the next 5 years?

As a company dedicated to bringing transparency to sustainability, it is vital for us to both measure and achieve impactful outcomes. We've developed a robust framework, endorsed by leading global experts, which enables us to track and benchmark the ESG performance of companies, both public and private. We work hard to provide this visibility and transparency to everyone, thereby encouraging and rewarding positive impacts.

We also aim to utilize the vast ESG data we have collected and generated to support sustainability solutions and applications. One pioneering initiative we've introduced is our sustainability sales navigator, a world-first. This tool leverages AI to match sustainability solutions providers with potential clients,  based on their ESG performance analysis (for instance highlighting the companies in need of specific carbon or renewable energy solutions).

Furthermore, as we continually share quality information, we constantly assess the effectiveness and reach of our content, increasing awareness and driving meaningful change.

For the latest news on our applications, please visit our page.