Some scaleups are born international. Take 4EI, which began life as an earth intelligence company in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Their growth journey started back in 2013, with the delivery of a cutting-edge environmental project to the government, employing satellite data to map the Emirate’s entire marine and terrestrial environments. Seven years on, 4EI has worked on over 30 projects in Abu Dhabi and become an established presence in the UAE. “We’re now considered a go-to innovation company for data analysis and intelligence”, says Richard Flemmings, who is the company’s Chief Technical Officer.
Since that initial project, 4EI has evolved into a global company with headquarters in Europe and the Middle East.
Now the company is preparing for another growth spurt, with plans to expand their workforce and geographical presence significantly in the next few years. 4EI are making diversity and inclusion a part of their current and future vision, building upon existing values. Already they have established a 40% female leadership team, including Group Managing Director Mariam Crichton and newly appointed UAE Managing Director Allyson Jenkins.
The company provides applied earth intelligence, delivering deep expertise in geospatial intelligence, specifically remote sensing and Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping. “Our focus is making satellite technology easier to understand and use by translating data into insight,” says Flemmings. “We take data from space and convert it into directly applicable information for customers on the ground.”
Their work ranges from mapping heat patterns in Bristol, to creating a global air quality index in partnership with Imperial College London, to monitoring the state of mangroves in the UAE – working with reputable clients including the European Space Agency and the UK Government’s marine and freshwater science experts, CEFAS.
The number of applications for satellite imagery data is growing exponentially – for example, the need for ESG (environmental, social and governance) data to evidence sustainable investment decision making is rising rapidly. The number of institutional investors using ESG criteria to screen potential investments or evaluate their current assets is increasing, and experts are needed to provide the right data in the right format. With 4EI’s satellite-derived earth observation data, financial markets can gain access to objective, consistent, repeatable and reliable evidence enabling them to monitor their natural or man-made assets and make smarter, environmentally conscious decisions.
“Climate change is increasingly recognised as a critical risk to global corporate firms,” Flemmings explains. “And as that risk increases, so does the need for evidence to inform objective decision making. We can create the data insights necessary for climate resilience, transparency and monitoring the impact of policy and mitigation strategies across the world.”
Working with business advisers Business West, 4EI has been through the Innovate UK Innovate2Succeed programme to help develop their growth plan, which aims to diversify into new regional markets and market sectors.
Earlier this year 4EI appointed Mariam Crichton, an entrepreneur in the technology sector, to lead the company and spearhead this growth. For the founders, stepping aside to bring in a Group Managing Director means that the team can continue to focus on innovation as well as their scale up activities.
Mariam concludes; “Our vision is to use Space data for the betterment of people and the planet. We want to apply Earth Intelligence to make sense of data collected from space for the benefit of decision-makers across the globe.”
“Our vision is to use Space data for the betterment of people and the planet. We want to apply Earth Intelligence to make sense of data collected from space for the benefit of decision-makers across the globe.”
Mariam Crichton, Group Managing Director, 4EI
From kitchen table to big-selling consumer brand in six years
Samuel Knight International
Headquartered in Newcastle, the specialist recruitment firm has scaled into a £13m-turnover, 70-employee enterprise with offices in Bristol, London & Chicago.
The digital challenger bank now employs more than 400 people, has loaned more than £700m to UK businesses.
Founded in 2006, Cardiff-based Connect Assist provides call centre and technology services to the public sector, charities and socially focused organisations.