Through partnerships with developers, housebuilders and landlords, Sero builds and retro fits zero carbon homes using its own proprietary technology.
We spoke to James Williams, CEO at Sero, about the company's expansion plans and how the net zero ambitions of the Welsh government have kickstarted its early growth.
What does your company do?
Sero is Welsh for zero with net zero being the big target that we have across the UK economy. Our mission is to decarbonise the UK's building stock focusing on the homes that exist today but also on the new homes that we are building. Around 40% of carbon emissions arise from household activities.
We partner with housing providers - that's social landlords, local authorities and private housebuilders - to provide the tools and solutions they need in order to get to that net zero building. We support these partners right the way up until the building is complete and we stay involved to provide a comfort service to the resident that lives in that home.
We have some of the largest new build sites and retrofit programmes, predominantly based in Wales at the moment. That's largely due to the political ambition here around decarbonising homes.
Tell us about your UK and global operations.
The company is coming up to three years old now. We had nine people at the first [Covid-19] lockdown in 2020. Now we are 35 people. We are looking to create 100 new jobs within the next 12 months.
Cardiff is very much our home and our headquarters but we have a growing footprint across the UK.
We have some of the largest new build sites and retrofit programmes, predominantly based in Wales at the moment. That's largely due to the political ambition here around decarbonising homes
What are the main benefits to being based in the UK?
The ambitions of the Welsh government in moving to a net zero economy have pumped and primed our business. They've given us that early start that we needed in scaling up. Some of the larger scale projects are happening in Wales right now. On the back of this early success, we have some really key partnerships coming through with large social landlords in England who have hundreds of thousands of homes within their portfolios.
Welsh government launched a £90m programme called the Innovative Housing Programme. We secured a significant amount of that funding into our projects. That allowed us to convince some very big partners to do some very big projects and to prove our model to the wider housebuilding sector.
Also we've got some really great growing tech sectors in Wales. If you look at the fintech companies that are based here – the likes of Monzo and Starling – we have got this emerging tech sector here. We draw a lot of parallels with fintech because one of core opportunities is to work with mortgage lenders.
The ambitions of the Welsh government in moving to a net zero economy have pumped and primed our business. They've given us that early start that we needed in scaling up ... On the back of this early success, we have some really key partnerships coming through
Tell us about your company's growth ambitions.
We are currently talking to investors who can take us to the next stage. We are a scale-up now. Our plan is to deliver 100,000 homes in five years which is still such a small proportion of the potential market.
We want to be in with every single mortgage lender and anyone lending to property. We believe that finance is going to be the key driver of changes in housing. You will not be able to borrow the money you need unless you are doing something that is ticking the boxes around environment and social governance (ESG). Once the finance sector has tangible gains from a carbon perspective, we will see a real shift in priorities towards sustainable lending and green finance.
We also want to work with every social landlord in the country and we are looking to partner with housebuilders on a national scale. That is why we are building technology that can scale very easily to allow us to do that. We are quickly becoming the market leader in retro-fit and maintaining that position over the next few years is key to us.