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Behind the scenes at EVORA in 2022

EVORA has had an amazing year. We’ve hired a lot of new people, growing 47% since 2021 as well as having a huge investment into this business this Autumn. Internally, we’ve raised over £11,000 for different charities and had so many varying activities each month for staff to join in with. There’s been beach and park cleans, as well as lectures in schools about what we do.

The London office also had a big move at the beginning of the year, moving the short distance to Birrane House. We now sit over Borough market, so are in no short supply of excellent places to eat lunch! We had some great feedback about our offices after we moved in and are looking forward to making the office even better in 2023.

We also opened our first office in New York. Ryan and Ed have both relocated over there and then we started hiring locally. We are so excited to see the New York office grow and appreciate how much impact we can have over there.

The Social Committee team grew and the Health and Wellness one was formed, both looking at the social side and wellbeing for all EVORians, in all seven countries! Each month both groups put on different activities and themes. I love the pizza and games night, especially when everyone globally joins in too; there’s something very wholesome when even the directors are getting involved in these nights. The Social Committee also focused on creating a Culture Calendar internally and a volunteer & charity group. Massive thanks to everyone involved!

The Health and Wellness team made sure our mental health was front and center this year, from organizing physical activities like Boot Camp and walking challenges to getting back to nature with Plant Power Month and involving the senses with Perfume Month. The whole Health and Wellness team deserve a huge round of applause for their hard work and dedication to helping others in EVORA.

EVORians also took part in two physical challenges, the Race the Thames in January and the Walk this May. For both, we raised money for charities. Not only was this a great opportunity to support great causes, it doubled up as a fantastic team bonding too. It was easy to see the importance of communication and the benefits of physical movement We are looking forward to joining the Race the Thames again this year.

Online, we had some epic Teams Channels created, most notably the Music Exchange and Pet Channel. The Pet channel is the place to go to get your daily hit of dopamine, seeing all the cute dogs, cats, and even horses and ducks that others have snapped. The Recipe Exchange channel was also created, which is great for getting inspiration for that evening meal as well as finding out the latest food event going on in the office. Thank you so much Naomi and Charley for starting the channel and creating regular food blogs on seasonal eating! The Rock Climbing Channel also got off the ground this year, with a group going weekly to the local bouldering center. I cannot recommend this enough for both your physical health as well as your mental health.

In October this year we had our huge company trip to the Lake District. Personally, this was the highlight of my year at Evora – it was amazing to meet so many of my colleagues in person and really connect with them. We tried out a range of new skills including archery, axe throwing, and most importantly duck herding. This was loved by everyone and produced some hilarious videos.

From all of this, the sense of community and the spirt of being an EVORIan has just grown and grown. There is an incredible culture when you work at EVORA with a great balance of work life and social events. I cannot imagine working anywhere else and can often be heard remarking to people that I cannot believe I get to do all of this for work. I am so excited to see what happens next for the company this year, both professionally and socially. I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be another epic year!

2022: A Year of Tough but Right Decisions

We make hundreds of decisions every day. Some of them small, some more material, but the decisions we make shape and impact our lives and many others around us.

The decisions we made in 2022 for EVORA Global were potentially going to have the biggest impact on what the company stood for and its future trajectory than any other decision we had made before. But it was not the first time as founders, we had been challenged with difficult decisions.

12 years ago, Paul, Ed and I decided to give up normal employment to set up our own business. We wanted to make a difference. It didn’t feel like a big deal at the time but in retrospect it was. After a year of trading we decided to invest the majority of our small hard-earned profits into developing our proprietary software. We had no experience but it felt like the right decision. Before the second year was out we’d spent around £100k of our own money on development costs. It doesn’t sound a lot now, but it was a meaningful investment to us at the time.

After a couple of years we started recruiting even though it felt uncomfortable with the constant fear the business could fall of a cliff in the next three months. We made a conscious decision to recruit based on culture and values. We wanted people who selflessly cared for others, for their work and for the planet. This is probably the most important decision we made.

We made lots of other decisions over the years. It’s said through your mistakes you gain wisdom. On that basis we must be one of the wisest businesses around!

Then in late 2021, as the stars aligned on all things ESG we made the decision to embark upon our very first fund raise, or even contemplation of a sale of the business. After almost eleven years of running an organically funded business, this was a huge decision for all three of the founders. We knew with the right rocket boosters strapped to us we could have a much more meaningful and accelerative impact on climate change on a global scale. It felt scary but we knew it was the right decision.

As we ventured into 2022 we were pretty sure a strategic sale to a large corporate would be the best fit. A private equity (PE) investor didn’t feel right based on the stereotype of being focused purely on the numbers; after all, we’re a purpose driven business. Thankfully we kept an open mind and after assimilating offers from a large number of varied interested parties we completed with a consortium, led by UK PE firm, Bridges Fund Management, through their Impact Growth Fund in October of this year. It was a really tough decision but we knew it was the right one for the business. We had found a unique investor equally focussed on impact. And our own uniqueness would not be diluted by a large corporate culture. We haven’t looked back since.

As we approach 2023, we face the reality of global governmental failure to make the tough decisions required to keep alive the possibility of restricting climate change within the parameters of the Paris agreement and avoid catastrophic damage to the planet and its inhabitants. But as individuals, we have the chance to make decisions that collectively, can achieve meaningful change and impact. Decisions that look beyond the here and now, that may be tough to make, but will achieve the best long term outcomes. I hope you will join us in having the courage to make the right decisions.

EVORA Global Appoints Pradeep Menon as President

EVORA Global, a leading provider of end-to-end sustainability solutions for Real Assets, hires Pradeep Menon as President and will appoint him to the Board of Directors.  Pradeep’s appointment marks the first major appointment post the recent investment from Bridges Fund Management, Farview Equity and MSCI.  With this hire EVORA is looking to scale its business, serving clients in the Real Estate and Infrastructure markets.  Based in New York, Pradeep will be responsible for global Client Coverage, Revenue, Product Development and Technology. 

Pradeep Menon brings more than 25 years of proven FinTech experience to his role in EVORA. Most recently, he served as Managing Director, Investment & Advisory at Refinitiv, where he oversaw Refinitiv’s Content, Analytics and workflow solutions to Asset Owners, Asset Managers and Investment Bankers. Prior to Refinitiv, he was the co-founder of RiskMetrics Group a global risk management firm that he helped scale from a start-up to an IPO culminating in the sale to MSCI. 

“I believe that Climate Change is an existential issue for us; solving for climate change will require measuring and quantifying our emissions across sectors and geographies.  Research has shown that Real Assets contribute to almost 40% of global carbon emissions.  Chris Bennett and his team at EVORA have built an exceptional business that helps participants in the Real Asset sector quantify their carbon footprint.  I am excited to be a part of EVORA to help clients tackle the climate challenge.   The culture, dedication to the cause yet pragmatic approach makes EVORA unique; I am thrilled to join this immensely talented group at such an exciting time.”

Pradeep Menon, President, EVORA Global

“I am extremely excited that Pradeep is joining the EVORA Board. These are unprecedented times, which require unprecedented action to tackle the climate crisis ahead of us. Pradeep’s wealth of experience and unique track record will help us accelerate our mission to deliver a low carbon economy to the real asset markets. I am very much looking forward to working with Pradeep to deliver on our ambitions.”

Chris Bennett, Managing Director, EVORA Global

“We’re delighted that Pradeep has agreed to join EVORA’s executive team. As the world wakes up to the imminent risks of climate change, EVORA’s technology and services have a vital role to play in building a lower-carbon economy. Pradeep’s outstanding track record further strengthens the EVORA team’s credentials and will enable them to develop and deliver their mission-critical solutions to an even broader range of asset owners and managers around the world.”

Emma Thorne, Partner, Bridges Fund Management

“We are delighted to welcome Pradeep to the Executive team and Board of Directors at EVORA.  His experience and capabilities in growing and operating software and data businesses at various size and scales will be invaluable to EVORA as it continues on its envisaged pathway.   We believe the addition of Pradeep will accelerate EVORA’s drive towards industry leading software and data solutions.  We look forward to working together with him and fulfilling the opportunity for EVORA.”

Guy Sochovsky, Partner, Farview Equity Partners

Investor demand drives US launch for EVORA Global

EVORA Global opens in New York to help fund managers keep investment flowing amid rising concerns about ESG regulations and sustainability

With pension funds and portfolio holders in the United States increasingly under the spotlight for their ESG performance, EVORA has been experiencing high demand for our services. There is huge untapped demand in the US and opportunity for growth.

As a result, we are delighted to announce the opening of EVORA Global offices in New York after repeated requests from our global client base.

The launch comes during New York climate week (September 19-25).

EVORA has acquired offices on 42nd Street, New York and plans to create up to 100 jobs over the next five years. It has also hired sustainability veteran Yetsuh Frank, formerly of the Building Energy Exchange and the Urban Green Council, as its Executive Vice President. Heading the US office is EVORA’s co-founder Ed Gabbitas, while Net Zero specialist Ryan Sit will operate as global head of carbon strategy.

“We have fund managers urging us to move into the US market because they are struggling to access funds based in Europe. European investors want to be sure what they are backing is strong from an ESG approach and also complies with environmental legislation. Sustainability and climate risk are on everyone’s agenda right now and investment managers need ESG information about their assets. Our clients want us there to keep their investment flowing and to ensure they have information on climate risk. Our potential for both growth and impact here is huge.”

Chris Bennett, EVORA Executive Director and Co-Founder

“EVORA is just the sort of company the US needs right now. We may be behind Europe in terms of legislation, but the demand for better data and advisory on sustainability and climate risk is very high. New laws are coming into force and investors are under pressure to demonstrate they can become more sustainable.”

Yetsuh Frank, Executive Vice President

“It’s an opportunity too good to miss. The US real estate market is three times the size of Europe’s. But it is behind in terms of environmental legislation. We believe we can benefit both clients and the planet by being here.”

Ryan Sit, Senior Vice President, Global Head of Carbon Strategy

“Public expectations of companies are increasing all the time. Sustainability has to be part of the plan. The next few years are going to be incredibly exciting as real estate undergoes a major transition.”

Ed Gabbitas, Principal

EVORians sweatin’ it out’

Fresh on the heels of our Walk This May challenge, we kept our fingers on the pulse with our June Bootcamp.

You are probably aware that June is known as GRESB season at EVORA. For our consultants, this is the biggest deadline of the year, with a larger than normal workload. It can be super stressful, so the Health and Wellness team wanted to make sure the activities and theme this month fitted in with the consultants’ busy schedules and helped them combat stress and keep a healthy mindset.

Therefore, we had Liam, a personal trainer and nutritional coach, run two sessions a week for the company, via Teams. This was optional to join, with no commitment to come to every session. It was important to us that it was held virtually so that anyone from the company could join in, no matter where they are located.

On Wednesdays, we met at 8:40am GMT to have a HIIT (high intensity interval training) session. As the name suggests, this really got us going before work on a Wednesday. It was great to see colleagues from around Europe join in and exercise together. It was great how we managed to warm up and down and still get a great heart pumping session in, all in 20 minutes.

Exercise is so important to mental wellbeing, getting the blood flowing, reducing anxiety and increasing cognitive functions. It’s also a great way to stay fit, especially for us office based lot who are used to a more sedentary lifestyle. Sara soon realized that when she works out in the morning “my mood is much better and I eat healthier during the day”

These HIIT sessions were great at working up a sweat and putting you in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. EVORians were encouraged, and for Emma “doing the energiser has made me feel more alert and ready to crack on.”

On the Friday session, we slowed it down with a more sedate session. This one was held at lunchtime and had us stretching and releasing all the built up tension from the week. This was a great way to end the week, and Sarah felt it was “lovely to spend some time undoing all the hours of sitting that I do in a week.”

Straight after the more relaxed session was our regular meditation meeting on Teams. We’ve had this weekly since lockdown and is now led by one of our very own – Matt has been meditating daily for 7 years now and knows the importance of breathing exercises and meditation for both the mind and body.

Matt uses Headspace for the sessions, which all EVORians have access to once they’ve passed their probation. These sessions are a personal highlight of my week, giving me 15 minutes to breathe and take a second to align my thoughts and meditate. Like the bootcamp, there is no pressure to come to every session and anyone can join wherever they are based.

After this month, many of us are committed to keeping up a HIIT session weekly – that adrenaline rush after a workout is hard to beat and the positive effects for the rest of the day huge. As Andrea said, the exercise “helps to focus my mind on something else.  I feel like I can concentrate better afterwards.” Whether this was people’s first time trying HIIT or they are regulars at the gym, we have all seen the benefits of adding a 20 minute session to our weekly routines.

Huge thanks to Liam for leading the sessions this month.

Inside EVORA’s Offices

In 2021, we decided to move our London Head Office to somewhere more aligned with our identity and values. We were looking for a space with plenty of natural lighting, good ventilation and air quality system. We put together a focus group, the ENO (EVORA New Office) Group, which involved people from different locations globally, to go through office options, valuing the whole team’s opinions and input. That’s how we chose Birrane House in London Bridge where we moved in January 2022.

We are very proud of our new office, which is a bigger and better space, well-lit with larger desks, as well as a great break-out room for lunches and socials. The air conditioning unit also allows for ventilation of clean air, so we can keep an eye on our air quality and carbon dioxide levels regularly – 83% of our London office rate the air quality at four or five out of five!

It’s so important to check CO2 levels, as this can have a huge effect on everyone in the office – studies have shown that poor air quality can affect you short term, such as headaches, fatigue, irritation of the eyes and throat, and even allergic reactions. Long term effects can include sinus infections and even respiratory issues.

As well as looking after the physical health of everyone in the office, we want to ensure that we are on track to get Planet Mark certification for the 9th year in a row! Our new London office is optimised to achieve this, with lights automatically turning off without activity, excellent insulation and double glazing.

Now that we’ve been in Birrane House a few months, and people are feeling settled, we wanted to know what everyone felt about the office. This is in keeping with our values, as we believe in inclusion, collaboration and respect as three of the fundamentals of our company.

We sent out a survey primarily to see how the new Head Office was working for people and to understand what could be improved, but also took the opportunity to check in with EVORians in our other offices and those working from home to make our workplace better. This really helped build up a larger picture of how everyone at EVORA is doing and to prioritise the next steps in all our locations.

We had 95 responses, 53 of them were from London. It was great to see that overall the average rating people gave the new London office was 4.3 out of 5!

We were delighted to see that a lot of the ideas that came up are either already in progress or even available now, such as the socials that the Social Committee are organising. We just had a Pizza and Games night that was a huge success. This was in London, Bolton, Iasi and Berlin! There were tactical games, quick-fire games, and classic quiz games – something for everyone to play. There was also great feedback on the Coffee Roulette and Language Exchange initiatives that we have, with an overwhelming response that this is what people enjoy doing.

Coffee Roulette is where two people get paired up each month and between themselves arrange a half hour sit down, either in person or via Teams. As people are paired up randomly, it gives everyone an opportunity to meet others in the company who they may have never spoken to before.

The Language Exchange is a more recent initiative whereby staff who speak other languages are put into groups with a native or fluent speaker and can practise their language skills. As well as helping EVORians improve their understanding of foreign languages, many groups who would never have normally met did so during their regular working day.

Regarding the office itself, EVORians love the location and proximity to Borough Market, as well as the brightness and the size of the office; in the survey, 89.2% rated the lighting in the office at four or five out of five. We saw from the survey results that most people would like us to look into noise-cancelling equipment, on top of the noise-cancelling headphones already provided. It is now on the EVORA’s to-do list to look into sound absorbers or individual soundproof meeting booths.

A great idea that came from the survey was adding social time at the beginning of meetings, where we can do a fun poll, such as which superpower would you have, and to give people time to catch up before jumping into the meeting. At EVORA, we truly love all ideas that get everyone involved, no matter where they are located.

One thing that is being globally felt is the changing nature of the use of the office. The traditional office set-up is no longer the best fit in a post-Covid world, where working from home has proved to be successful and productive. Even if around 90% of EVORians come in for a maximum of two days per week currently, 91% of us feel part of the team. What this means for our offices is yet to be seen, but could result in a renovation or reorganisation of the office into more collaboration spaces and fewer desks. Watch this space!

We can’t wait to make some more positive changes to our offices, making a comfortable and welcoming space for all EVORians to work.

Meike Borchers adds European weight to the monthly EVORA Global Board meeting

EVORA Global is pleased to announce that Meike Borchers, Head of EVORA Germany/DACH, has formally been asked to attend the UK Board of Directors, to represent and give direct input into the operations and expansion of the DACH region.

Meike joined EVORA in November 2020, bringing with her over 20 years of consulting experience, including heading up WSP Deutschland AG in Hamburg. Her background is in the construction and real estate industry, having worked in the UK, Sweden and America.

Meike has grown the German team from two to 14 people in the space of 12 months and provides consultancy services to many of Germany’s leading real estate and financial organisations, including BNP Paribas, CRESCO, d.i.i, LHI, HIH, HINES, Invesco, MOMENI, Schroders and UBS. Her proven leadership and meaningful understanding of European markets complements the Board and Company as EVORA continues to expand its offering across Europe and beyond.

EVORA’s Core Board has strengthened its operational focus with the addition of five non-statutory operational directors appointed in the last two years. EVORA’s headcount has grown from 50 to over 150 since 2020, with operations in seven countries and plans for further expansion this year.

“The positive impact we create as EVORA team and with our clients is what highly motivates me every day and there is so much more for us to do. I am therefore thrilled to represent our fast-developing DACH ESG-Team at Board level and to become even more involved in shaping the future of EVORA.”

Meike Borchers, Director Germany

“Meike’s faith in both EVORA and the growing need for dedicated ESG advisory services in the DACH region were the foundations of an outstanding first 18 months in the region.  Her global expertise across multiple sectors and experience in growing strong teams has been critical to the success of our 20-strong team (and growing) and I am delighted that we now have her wisdom and insights formally at Board level.”

Philippa Gill, Director Europe

EVORA Global strengthens team with new hire

EVORA Global is excited to welcome Helen Cave-Penney to the newly created role of Head of Growth, Europe. Helen will be instrumental in driving the continued development and expansion of EVORA’s proprietary ESG software, SIERA across the UK and Europe.

Helen brings with her 18 years of experience, having spent the last 2.5 years as Head of UK Sales at Coyote Software, a commercial real estate software company. She has spent over 13 years in the real estate industry providing strategic business development and sales within companies such as BNP Paribas Real Estate and CBRE.

As EVORA continues to position itself as the leading ESG advisor and software provider to the real asset investment markets, driven by its purpose to accelerate the flow of capital to ESG investment, Helen will support its strategic growth plans with specific focus on the rapid global expansion of its ESG software platform, SIERA.

Chris Bennett, Co-Founder and Managing Director said:

“I am incredibly excited that Helen is joining our business in such a key role. Helen’s wealth of experience of commercial real estate and investment, combined with a depth of knowledge and enthusiasm for PropTech, perfectly positions her to support the market and our clients evolve their ESG investment strategies through technology.”

Helen added:

“I am excited to join such a forward-thinking company such as EVORA at such a pivotal time when ESG strategies are so important to the real assets market. EVORA’s already strong position as the leading ESG advisor and software provider offers huge scope and potential to grow globally and I look forward to becoming part of the journey with a great team.”

Simon Clouston joins EVORA as Director

EVORA Global is delighted to announce that Simon Clouston has joined the business as Director. He brings with him 30 years’ experience of advising organisations on environmental and sustainability strategy, having joined EVORA from WSP.  In recent years Simon has focussed on providing sustainability services to real assets investors. His wealth of experience and the relationships he has developed will be of huge benefit to both EVORA and our clients as together we seek to deliver on our mission to make buildings productive, profitable, and resilient to change.

Simon joins during a period of significant growth for EVORA and will support the next stage of our journey. Simon will lead a number of our key client relationships as well as providing leadership and mentoring for our client delivery teams. In particular, his experience of both developing strategy and implementation programmes for the net zero carbon transition will be invaluable in helping us address this number one priority for many of EVORA’s clients.

“I am really excited to have joined EVORA Global as a Director in their Consulting business. It’s been a pleasure to start to get to know the hugely talented and passionate team here. We are doing fantastic work with fantastic clients who are challenging themselves and us to accelerate the adoption of sustainable real estate. And within that to prioritise the transition to net zero. I can’t wait to get stuck in!”

Simon Clouston, Director

“I have known Simon for some time now, we used to bump into each other at events and when working for mutual clients.  I am delighted that Simon agreed to join us. Simon brings that magical blend of technical knowledge, experience and, perhaps most importantly, the ability to articulate what can be a daunting and complex agenda clearly and simply.  The whole EVORA team look forward to working with Simon to progress our vision

Paul Sutcliffe, Founder and Executive Director

10 Years of EVORA

It started out as a table on a spreadsheet. A handful of prospects with some numbers against them that added up to £360k. It was September 2010 and I was 44. It was a now or never moment. I’d always wanted to run my own business from a young age, but doing what? For the first time in my life I knew exactly what, there was no doubt in my mind.

I’d trained as an accountant with PWC, left to travel the world with Schlumberger, an oil and gas contractor, dabbled briefly in telecoms and then emersed myself in property for nine years at DTZ. And it was at DTZ that two independent events occurred, which together lit the touch paper and set me off on my journey.

The first event was pure irony. DTZ had invested in a professional coach for me and after a few sessions, my coach said “You don’t fit in the corporate world. I suggest you leave and set up your own business”!

The second event was a Dragons Den type competition where a number of us were asked to pitch to the DTZ Board and management team, an idea or project to invest in. Having been a keen advocate of DTZ’s small sustainability team, I pitched to significantly expand the team and develop a sustainability software platform for the real estate industry. I came last with one vote.

Less than a year later I had left DTZ with my £360k prospect list and a sketchy business plan to create a market-leading sustainability business for the real estate investment market. I just needed some help.

A quick trip to Bolton and Paul Sutcliffe was on board once I’d persuaded his wife Eleanor what a great opportunity it was. Paul was sustainability Director at DTZ and had fantastic technical knowledge.

Evora Siera ESG reporting team

One down one to go. Ed Gabbitas, another great technical consultant, signed up shortly afterwards who jumped at the opportunity. Job done. Three is never a crowd for a new business, it’s the magic number. It provided just the right mix of skills, lots of ideas to bounce off one another and most importantly, a level of resilience. Evora was formed – well, not quite. We started off as Sustainable Commercial Solutions but that’s quite a mouthful. The EVORA name came later.

That was ten years ago. If the strapline back then was “Sounds interesting but maybe next year”, now it’s more like “I need an ESG strategy, can you start Monday”! A lot has changed over those ten years and we’ve been very fortunate with the way market sentiment has changed towards climate change. But it’s also been tough at times and a lot of hard work. When I told Mandy, my wife, my plans, her first comment was, ”Can’t you just get a job like a normal person” but her support has been unwavering. As for Paul and Ed, I marvel at just how amazing they are – no more to be said.

If 3 was the magic number back then, 10 years on it feels like 100 is the magic number now. Having recently employed our 100th employee and gained our 100th client, we’re set to achieve 100% growth this year. If that wasn’t enough we are also bringing a number of highly innovative software products to the market this year through our SIERA ESG platform.

Are we the market-leading sustainability business for the real estate investment market? Maybe, maybe not, it depends who you ask, but I don’t think that’s important anymore. As a business we have a bigger purpose, ‘To accelerate the evolution of real estate sustainability for the planet and its people’, and that is an ambition that needs the whole industry to get behind and collaborate on.

And behind the numbers is an incredible bunch of people at EVORA who all really care – for one another, for the work they do, for their clients and for our planet. Here’s looking forward to the next 10 years.

Finally, for those wondering or vaguely interested, of the £360k of prospects on my sketchy business plan that I enticed Paul and Ed with, £11k came off. And why EVORA? EVOlution of Real Assets through sustainability – you know it makes sense 😊