Connected FM

Let's Talk Circular Economy and Innovation

Episode Summary

Leadership from Rheaply, Garr Punnett and Bharani Sankar, and Angel Bou CEO, & Co-Founder at Simplr discuss new business models within circular economy and how FMs can benefit from thinking circular!

Episode Notes

Leadership from Rheaply, Garr Punnett and Bharani Sankar, and Angel Bou CEO, & Co-Founder at Simplr discuss new business models within circular economy and how FMs can benefit from thinking circular!


circular economy, sustainability, efficiency

Resources Mentioned

Episode Transcription

Garr Punnett: [00:00:00] Once a company manufactures something, they pretty much lose all visibility of where it goes in the economy. And so what often happens then is it goes to the consumer, and in that linear fashion of the economy, the consumer uses it, or a company uses it. And then what?

Host: Welcome to Connected FM, a podcast connecting you to the latest insights, tools, and resources to help you succeed in facility management. This podcast is brought to you by IFMA, the leading professional association for facility managers. If you're ready to grow your network and advance in your career, go to to get started. Before we jump into today's episode, I want to let you know about the all new SFP credential. If you're being asked to improve the efficiency of your facilities and adopt more sustainable best practices to help combat climate change, you need the right tools and training to rise to the [00:01:00] challenge.

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In this episode, we'll hear Gar Punnett, Angel Bo, and Bharani Sankar discuss new business models within circular economy and how FMs can benefit from thinking circular. Hope you enjoy the conversation.

Garr Punnett: Hey, everybody. My name is Gar Punnett, chief impact officer with REAPLY. We're coming live from IFMA. We have a nice podcast booth here in the center of the [00:02:00] facility. So a lot of, uh, a lot of things going on around us, but this is a lot of fun. And so we get to talk about different booths that are here. So we're working with Reaply.

I'm going to introduce Angel, who's working with Simplr, which is a very exciting company coming out of Europe. And then also, Angel, would you go ahead and introduce yourself and tell everyone what you're doing at Simplr, your role, the big role. And then, and then we can get into the good stuff. And then Bharani, you can also introduce yourself.

Angel Bou: Big role. Yeah. Thanks for having me here. Hello, this is Angel. I'm the founder and CEO of Simplr. What we do at Simplr, exactly. We bring the as a service to the world. Based on circular economy. Okay. That was a big, it's a big word. No one understands usually when you say that. Isn't that funny

Garr Punnett: with, in terms of circular economy, that it's such a part of our lives.

But we have to unpack that statement all the time.

Angel Bou: Yeah, correct. It's like a daily challenge. Probably one of our biggest challenge in the world, everywhere, internationally will be like the [00:03:00] getting this consciousness or educational or telling the world there's an alternative. Yes. Consuming, there's an alternative on manufacturing.

Garr Punnett: Yeah. So at the end of the day, simpler, what we bring is a model of assumption. And simplifying circular economy. Correct. Yes. Yes. I love it. Bharani, tell everyone what you're doing at Reaply and what we're focusing on.

Bharani Sankar: Yeah. So I'm the, uh, strategic partnerships lead at Reaply. So I work with a lot of our clients and a lot of our partners to just find ways that our technology or their service could intersect and be a part of.

Just the overall goal of advancing the mission of the circular economy.

Garr Punnett: Excellent. So we get to now get into some meat and potatoes here. Y'all are coming from Spain, which city, why'd you start the company? How did you get into the industry is really probably what everyone loves because circular economy sustainability, it draws people from all different professions to really start creating better solutions.

Tell everyone how you came up with it, your team, how you started to really get [00:04:00] attention to this concept and start the company. Actually,

Angel Bou: I came up with it almost 10 years ago, basically here in the U. S. Oh, funny. Most of our team is from the U. S. We are Bay Area based, California. I used to work in a company that actually was transforming the industry.

I would say without even knowing, without even. Realizing what would be the impact of this transformation into the subscription models, initial transformations of companies such as Caterpillar for creating the first what's called subscriptions or recurrent payment models were used for enterprise global companies.

That at the end of the day, they needed to have a better engagement with companies and the model of just selling didn't work, you know, they were like going into fraud issues. They were going into like delivery issues. They were going into like, actually not knowing their customer at all. Just because things were sold [00:05:00] and they were no fool else were fool was buying it.

That is the crazy

Garr Punnett: part of, at least what we've also learned in this industry is once a company manufactures something, they pretty much lose all visibility of where it goes in the economy. And so what often happens then is it goes to the consumer. And in that linear fashion of the economy, the consumer uses it or a company uses it.

And then what? Then it becomes landfill? Then it maybe becomes, at the, at best, hopefully someone recycles it, but this is now introducing more options for reuse, and actually probably introducing just more options of tracking those resources, tracking those assets. What is the benefit to a company to work with Simplr in that way?

The probably

Angel Bou: the first benefit for the company is lowering the amount of productions, meaning they don't need to build that much stuff. They need to produce that much stuff. So that's a cost saving impact like on the P& L. The other, it's [00:06:00] more profit. Yes. So basically in a nutshell, companies. It's the pure basics of you have an apartment, you can sell it, or you can rent it out long term, or you can put it on Airbnb.

So basics are here, the same for the producers or the manufacturers, like having your assets. Into Airbnb model. Like you're definitely going to get more revenue just out of it. It'll come probably later in time, but you don't need to produce as many products and definitely profits


Garr Punnett: higher. So a longer term investment and then probably really truly.

In anything circular economy that we get to focus on decoupling financial growth from material extraction. So by saying producing less, it means we're taking less out of the environment, using more of what we already have and using those resources to generate more economic activity.

Angel Bou: Correct. That, coming also from [00:07:00] Europe, after relocating my life from the Bay Area to Europe.

And a new legislation, like the basically are implying that companies, Hey, they raise their arms. You guys probably want to be building stuff that's going to be right. You guys want to feel less at the end of offer more guarantee extension. And that's been an issue. It's not that the company itself sees a benefit from having their products directly into a circular model or reusage.

But, uh, cause they mostly care about the economic impact, but at the end of the day, when the legislations are starting to kicking and the companies say, Hey, I might have some subvention here, some advantages on building or producing wisely, they start seeing the benefits, right? Cause it's like, Oh, I'm very, I'm conscious here that materials are limited, resources are limited.

It also helps the part of lack of resources, the lack of materials, the crisis that we've been through. For so many [00:08:00] companies like lacking stuff or like being caught, electronics, everything. Oh, maybe I don't want to overproduce or I cannot even afford that. Yes. So that's really

Bharani Sankar: another point. When you started here and you were working in the Bay Area and you went back to Europe, how do you see the differences?

And one of the things that we talk about often is we always feel like Europe is ahead. in terms of circular economy, especially with legislation and things like that. But how are you seeing consumer behavior over there adopt maybe something like this? Cause here, I think we're very Much at the early stages, but it's picking up very quickly.

I'm curious

Angel Bou: how it is in Europe. There, we, we work in both sides. We work on the B2B space and we work on the B2C space. Yes. So consumer related, we already see a lot of platforms like Zalando. Yeah. Like for like, they sell shoes, they sell furniture. Yeah. They put in front of their decision [00:09:00] making process of purchasing.

sustainability aspects of it on like how type of leather you use, type of logistic you use. So we've seen many top, top e commerce platforms that are putting that in front of the consumer. So consumer is gaining fastly the consciousness in this aspect and especially in companies as well. And the B2B aspect, it's a part of legislation that make them conscious, but also I would say.

I don't like to say this word, but it's a part of the greenwashing as well. Yeah. Yeah. So companies need to not only say that they have a sustainable concerns. They are, we see a lot of a switch into company values, into like more sustainable values, adding a lot of roles in the companies that are sustainable, head of sustainabilities.

Cause at the end of the day, they like, wait, we want to be not only compliant. We want to put these guys into a decision making process.

Garr Punnett: Yes. On that note. So we find ourselves here at IFMA of really trying to change company action, [00:10:00] trying to get more attention to our causes and the real business case that we have to provide circular economic services to many organizations.

What's up with EFMA? How is it going? I think this is where I've loved seeing, we see a little bit of circular economy attention, people are stopping by our booths and asking about sort of the traction we're getting. What are the types of conversations you've been having visiting other booths, seeing big players and partners like JLL here, having those types of conversations as well?

What does that mean for you? Have you seen that sort of play up Arnie?

Bharani Sankar: Yeah, I think it's been definitely interesting because for us, furniture as a category is very new. Yes. And being a part of the facilities space, we're learning a ton. Yeah. Different roles, different people, how they're interacting with some of the things that we intend to track on our platform.

Some of the more validation of some of the use cases that we have, but also trying to figure out new use cases that maybe we could apply to our technology. It's been great. I think it's in terms of circularity [00:11:00] and sustainability. More and more, I think it's going from, like you mentioned, the companies hiring sustainability, folks, large teams that are really focused on compliance and regulatory things towards, yes, sustainability to, I think this is giving a chance for the property managers, the facility managers, the people on the ground and opportunity to lean into some things that they might have personal interest in, which is carrying a little bit more.

We had somebody stop by our booth. The other day working and they were trying to talk to us about what we were doing. And all of a sudden, this is like a personal mission of mine is to try and always save things from getting thrown out. Yeah. A lot of times we throw stuff into the dumpster and I'll send my team out there to go take a look and see which chairs or, or desks or things.

Garr Punnett: Because people care, they're caring about what's being thrown out. They care about the waste streams that they're creating by operating in the linear economy. What I have loved at IFMA is, this is maybe, and I'll speak for Ripley, I'd love to hear about Simpler, is [00:12:00] This is our first conference where we as a company are mature enough.

We're now at around 60 people. We've really honed our value props in the facilities management space. Where now we get to talk to buyers who are looking for solutions that we get to offer. We've typically found ourselves at circular economy conferences. We found ourselves at sustainability conferences.

We'll be going to green build coming up in November. And, but this one for us at IFMA is really about how are we providing a solution for facilities managers. Directors, those at the levels that are making day to day decisions around what is operating at these facilities. And so that's been really fun to learn from them just as much as maybe we can help prescribe some solution.

Have you found the same? What, this is a big launch for you all here at IFMA. Have you found that necessary? So that these buyers coming to you and asking more questions?

Angel Bou: They are very intrigued. They are also very. I say, I didn't know, I didn't know there was an alternative. I didn't know. I always bought [00:13:00] everything.

I always offered to our customers, the options of purchases. We have tons of partners that sell us tons of things. Yes. Products and services, but based on ownership. So it's kind of the spark on their brains. Oh, wow. I didn't know this could happen. This could be that. And then, yeah, we started very good conversations.

We already have some customers here in the U S and they are like pioneering this new trend. No, they take it as a trend. Not because of the legislation, not as strong, but also like this alternative. We want to be pioneering that. We want to be promoting that as a company, also for their employees, also because it adds purpose on what they are doing.

And that's something that I believe we believe as a company, it's something we want to be an example. So for our employees and of course our customers.

Garr Punnett: That is living those values is important now to not only consumers, but employees the same. I'm curious as you've built the [00:14:00] company out, which categories maybe you're seeing a lot of traction in, what types of products you've started seeing, where do you see the future of those products like growing and expanding?

Definitely interested to, to hear more

Angel Bou: about that. Let's verticals are vehicles, furniture, and electronics. These are like the top three. Yeah. So we cover widely all, all this space. Yeah. In terms of providing them any type of car, any type of furniture for offices and any type of like computers, iPad, telephone.

Yeah. Anything they need. Awesome. That's something that definitely it's a basic must that they have. But yeah, we see other alternative, alternative verticals also based on energy consuming, efficiency, sustainability, renewal, energy is something that is taking very hard in Europe, especially with the issues that we're going through.

Garr Punnett: Yeah. No, that's great. So as we close this out then, what's a takeaway? What do you want to leave the audience with that's listening now in terms of [00:15:00] both What you've gathered from IFMA, why it might be great to come to IFMA next year, but then also what you're excited to present in the next year to come.

Angel Bou: I think my takeaway is for what I got, IFMA was set in more traditional office management or asset management solutions. Yes. Probably not that related to technology solutions and sustainable solutions. My takeaway is that, uh, we, and both of our companies actually are anything are starting new solutions.

It's a movement that might be inspiring for the rest. And hopefully in the coming sessions, they have more of us. Yeah, they need to evangelize me to inform the world that there's an alternative of consumption. I

Garr Punnett: love that. I absolutely agree. So maybe next year, you're going to see us at a, at one of these presentations.

We have these education areas and maybe there's going to be a circular economy education area for these [00:16:00] facilities crew here. So that's us. We can do that next year. Exactly. Exactly. Anything to leave anybody with? What'd you get out of these past two days or couple days? And then what's next? Yeah, no, I

Bharani Sankar: think Angel said it really well.

I think evangelizing the movement is important. I think we've seen that a lot of Employees, not employers, also have a big interest and passion for sustainability. So it's about having more innovative solutions that can make their lives easier, their jobs easier, but also continuing to educate. I think we started off at the podcast saying that we were going to, it's an education process for both of our companies.

We see that quite a bit as well. But. Really, I think it's just about the circular economy is changing very rapidly. There's always new solutions coming out. It's about making sure the rest of the market and the people that it could touch are constantly in the know. So. Yeah. I'd love to see if my next year have a little bit more focus on sustainability.

I think they did great start this year, but having it more present, not just around maybe [00:17:00] energy and consumption, but really around material use and, and kind of reallocation of resources or assets. Yep. It's a place where a lot of these facilities managers, property managers, directors are all seeing and facing.

And something that I think the spotlight should be on, but it's been great so far. I'll

Garr Punnett: throw in that we probably are seeing some economic uncertainty and circular economy couldn't be a solution simpler. I know you all were talking about how circular economy can be a cashflow management solution as well.

So if you want to lease and not. Have such an enormous capital expenditure that you can actually do that. I know on Ripley's end, we have a lot of space management solutions that we're doing. So if you have a glut of furniture, we can help actually not only focus on how do we buy that back, but how do we actually repurpose it or even remanufacture it to get it to its next best highest youths possible.

And then from there, if you're figuring out your new hybrid models, if you're figuring out other types of models in which we can be of service, I know simpler and Ripley are here [00:18:00] to help provide those solutions and are open to counseling anybody who might be interested. Thank you both for joining me in this booth.

I know I pulled you all in last minute, but I think this is a great opportunity to again, talk about circular economy again, join IFMA next year at 2023. Uh, it's going to be in Denver. And then if you'd like to listen more to anything circular economy, I know simpler is going to be on my personal slash Ripley podcast called the multi use averse coming up.

So you can find us at multi use averse on Ripley. com spelled R H E A P L Y. And on our podcast page, go ahead and give us a follow on LinkedIn. And I look forward to talking to someone in the future. Thanks so much.

Host: Thanks so much for listening. Please subscribe to the podcast and don't forget go to to start your sustainability learning journey That's Alright, we'll see you soon on the next episode

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