In July, we officially started the engine on our Product Builder Programme, which is powered by Barclays Eagle Labs, funded by the UK government and delivered by Plexal.
Designed to fit around the busy lives of budding entrepreneurs, teaching them how to develop, test, validate and evolve a digital product, we welcomed a cohort of 100 idea-rich individuals and provided tailored guidance to help them level up over the course of three months.
From that 100, we welcomed just ten to the next stage of the programme, a Bootcamp across two days in Plexal Stratford, which enabled our founders to get up close with investors including Matt Jonns, Founder + Lightning, Mario Rojas at Octopus Ventures and Sarah Barber and Richard Trevor from Jenson Funding Partners to pitch their ideas and gain valuable, yet critical feedback on their product development to date.
With applications open for our second Product Builder Programme now, get to know one of our recent product builders below to understand their journey and how participation could help you.
Sahil Singh is the mind behind Terranow, which he tells us was conceived from “the realisation that the energy sector is drowning in data but much of it remains untapped.”
As a result, Terranow is a platform that’s been built with an ambition of “improving energy generation forecasting; a critical aspect of managing renewable energy sources.”
Interestingly, Sahil hadn’t spent his career in the energy sector – his recognition of the market’s challenges came later. The road that led him there began with a strong academic foundation in economics before ongoing digital advancements caught his eye.
“I found myself drawn to the world of technology,” he explains. “While still pursuing my economics degree, I dabbled in programming languages, gradually realising the overlap between my economics education and the field of data science.” From there, he used that specialism and took up a role for an adtech startup, proceeding to sharpen his skills with a deep dive into software engineering.
Next, embracing the spirit of a Pokémon trainer out to catch ‘em all, Sahil’s following roles saw him collecting even more technical enterprise knowledge including machine learning, demand forecasting, computer vision, natural language processing and business analytics. “This allowed me to delve into backend engineering and refine my skill set,” Sahil says. “While these roles were professionally fulfilling, I felt something was missing – the sense of contributing to a greater societal or environmental cause. This realisation ultimately led me to become an entrepreneur and start Terranow.”
Having found his calling through Terranow, Sahil walks us through the challenge the energy space is facing and where his solution comes into action. “The industry is undergoing rapid digitalisation and I saw an opportunity to leverage my skill set to address environmental concerns,” he details. “Terranow’s mission is to accelerate the transition to clean energy by optimising energy usage. Accurate forecasting helps the power grid function efficiently, reducing the need for polluting power plants that kick in during sudden fluctuations.”
The benefit of improving the accuracy of forecasting means a route towards decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, which is achievable through data-driven solutions that will be targeted towards power producers across the energy sector to help them reduce their environment footprint.
Having learned about our Product Builder Programme through LinkedIn, Sahil says he was attracted to apply based on “its emphasis on product design, user testing and customer journey mapping. These were areas where I felt I needed to augment my skills. Additionally, the networking opportunities and mentoring provided by the Product Builder Programme were appealing.”
Reflecting on his most memorable moments, Sahil says: “Working on product designs and creating clickable prototypes has been a significant highlight. It allowed me to explore a facet of product development I hadn’t previously delved into.”
And while his technical expertise to develop the product was sound, the challenge Sahil faced was around ironing out his immediate customer base and location. “As a startup, focusing and making the right strategic decisions is crucial, and I’m still working through this challenge,” he reveals.
“The Product Builder Programme sessions on pitching, market validation, and customer journeys were incredibly valuable. However, the most notable aspect has been the personalised office hours, where mentors provided tailored feedback and guidance, helping me navigate my entrepreneurial journey more effectively.”
Looking to the future, Sahil is gearing up to take Terranow to the UK market as a high priority, while he also notes India is a country that could also benefit greatly from his innovation.