In this edition of #StartingUpWith, we have Adrian Bukmanis, Co-founder of Teale Group. Teale aims
to help businesses and organisations manage and reduce energy costs and carbon footprint by
providing knowledge and tools. Read on to find out what keeps the Teale team going even when the
going gets tough.
- What is the story behind your startup?
- Teale was officially formed in 2016 and came from the merger of two companies already established
in Singapore since 2011/12 – as such we could be considered an established small business rather
than a startup. That said the founding partners believed in the importance of using data and
analytics to drive operational energy efficiency and came together along with some business angels
to focus on that need. There is plenty of great technology in the global market – what is missing is
the combination of technology and energy engineering skills to implement energy analytics
effectively. With this approach, we’ve been able to carry out projects all over Southeast Asia and
now in Europe and Africa in both industrial and commercial facilities. We still hold the belief that
when you get the right insights to the right people you can make a big difference!
- What was the biggest challenge faced by your startup, and how was it resolved?
- Starting a business in a market that wasn’t ready to adopt digital technologies was and continues to
be a challenge. Data is used to optimize processes in almost every other industry (sport, finance,
HR), but the facilities sector has been a bit slower to adopt. Expending large amounts of time on
education and awareness has been difficult as it doesn’t pay the bills. Fortunately, our repeated and
consistent messages have started to sink in over time and we are now seen as a safe pair of hands in
- What was your startup’s proudest moment?
- For me, it is providing the opportunity to develop people and give them an environment to grow.
Being a small company, everybody needs to take on wide and varied responsibilities. While it’s not
always easy, we often see individuals flourish as a result and that is extremely rewarding. At a
business level, seeing customers reduce their emissions as a result of our involvement and
innovation provides the drive and enthusiasm to continue with our mission.
- What is your collaboration with EcoLabs about?
- We’ve had an active involvement with NTU and ERI@N in the past and utilised our technologies
across the campus. We had the opportunity to join EcoLabs in partnership with one of our
technology partners in the early stages with a shift in focus now to Teale in its own right. As the
market is still maturing, we understand that we need collaboration with different parties to raise
awareness and Ecolabs certainly helps us to that end.
- Where do you see your startup in 1/2/3 years, and what part can EcoLabs play in this?
- One of the core elements of our mission is to drive the acceleration of reductions in energy-related
emissions. The current reduction pathways for most entities are highly insufficient and severely
lacking in ambition. Hence, we’re looking at ways in which we can get from project identification (i.e.
Electrical Engineering projects) to project implementation – faster. That will require not only
developments in technology but also people and process over the next 1-2 years. EcoLabs provides
an environment in which we can refine and enhance these ideas to address not only the needs in
Singapore but also for those of the global commons. While markets such as Europe are interesting
because of their targets, we see a big need for our work (especially in the area of refrigerant-based
systems) in Asia. In the next 3 years, we aim to have a larger footprint in to tackle more of the
emissions in the region.
- Describe your startup in one word, and why.
- Persistent. In emerging markets, it takes a lot of effort to keep going. With limited outside support,
we’ve had to rely a lot on our resourcefulness, building partnerships and focusing on excellent work
so that those that do work with us stick with us. That strategy has paid off and staying true to our
mission ensures that we keep going and work on growing the business, even when it gets tough.
Find out more about Teale Group here.