It is hard to believe Laurence Kemball-Cook started his clean-tech company, from his bedroom with just £200. After working with some of the biggest brands in the world, including Nike, Coca Cola, Siemens and Westfield, it’s clear he is not slowing down any time soon.
“It’s a tremendous feeling to have won the award for the second year running”, said Laurence, founder and CEO of Pavegen, after winning the Eco Entrepreneur of the Year award at the Great British Entrepreneur awards 2016.
“We’ve had an incredible year of growth for us at Pavegen. Just last week, we installed our technology outside the White House, a deal with the federal US government”, he added.
But where did Laurence begin his entrepreneurial journey?
After graduating from Loughborough University, Laurence worked for one of Europe’s largest energy companies, looking at a way to power street lighting and applications within cities around the world.
Laurence, described as a “boy genius” by the Daily Telegraph, said: “I felt confined to traditional energy sources of solar and wind power. I imagined the amount of footfall occurring day and night in our major cities, thinking of ways I could use such a constant, unending resource. It was then that I thought of a power source that was literally under our feet: a flooring that converts footsteps into kinetic power and captures data.”
This technology was brought to live in 2009, when Laurence filed the first patents from his bedroom. Since then, Pavegen has scaled across the world, installing over 100 iconic projects in over 30 countries.
The technology has rapidly evolved from a single, rectangular tile to something 200 times more efficient, called V3. This can power LED lighting, advertisements and signage when and where it is needed.
In just 5 years, the company has rapidly grown and due to the scalability and lower cost of the V3 technology, it now has the potential to be mass manufactured and can be easily implemented in cities.
As well as converting kinetic energy into renewable electricity, Pavegen’s V3 system has evolved into a customised, bespoke flooring solution that analyses consumer patterns through footfall tracking and identifies footfall hotspots with heat mapping.
Laurence added: “Our core business is permanent installations, occurring in various sectors including train stations, shopping centres, airports and public spaces, such as Heathrow Airport and Harrods. I have also partnered with the likes of serial solar entrepreneur Akon, football legend Pelé and global innovator will.i.am, using socially influential people to promote my clean-tech vision.”
Growing rapidly, with millions of pounds worth of investment, Pavegen has been able to empower people through sustainability. Their technology was able to create the world’s first ever player-powered football pitch in Rio, Brazil and Lagos, Nigeria, where the fields are a source of global inspiration, empowering action through sport as well as providing a tangible off-grid power supply that benefits a whole community.
Despite all of this, winning for a second year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards came as a bit of surprise to Lauerence. He said: “I thought that I’d be blacklisted after last year – I’ve had all the glory, it’s time for someone else – but we have had a fantastic year.
“Winning last year gave me a real drive to come back again and show everyone what I’ve been doing. There’s a great community here – it’s a lonely journey being an entrepreneur – so it’s amazing to come back, see my community, see my friends again, and celebrate what we’ve all done together as entrepreneurs.”