Building a better tomorrow

We meet Joseph Michael Daniels, CEO and Founder of Etopia, to find out how Barclays has been supporting his journey to building low carbon sustainable homes.

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Turning ambition into action

Joseph Michael Daniels founded Etopia with the aim of turning his ambition into action, "creating smart, connected, eco communities of the future with the aim to solve global housing and environmental crises for the long term". * Founded in 2017, Etopia began building homes in the UK, and over the last 4 years has expanded internationally building in Saudi Arabia, the USA and Namibia, with circa 200 homes built to date.

*Joseph Michael Daniels: www.projectetopia.com

Joseph Michael Daniels [00:00:02] I remember running out of electric, putting my emergency key in, having zero money, in debt I think for rent like two months. And I put the key in and it was already on the emergency and that was the start of what became one of the most traumatic experiences I could have ever had. It’s a spiral because the cost of living and the amount that you need to live in and survive effectively you’re constantly in this debt cycle. It’s you’re choosing electric, your choosing food, choosing quality food, and then you’re choosing rent. Next thing you know, they kicked me out. My stuff’s outside the front, had nowhere to go. Couldn’t really get hold of many people. Didn’t even have credit on my phone at the time and then spent a cold, cold few nights  in the park.

Jon Spatz [00:00:51] Hello.

Alex Rius [00:00:51] Hello. Nice to meet you.

Jon Spatz [00:00:53] Okay. Ready to go?

Alex Rius [00:00:55] Etopia is trying to make construction to evolve. This is the next generation. Remember about 40% of the emissions are coming from this industry. We are very responsible in what we’re doing, so we need to change the way we are doing things.

Eleni Polychroniadou [00:01:07] I think what Etopia is doing is really trying to change the perception of what a green home is and really looking at that intersection of affordability and green. Changing the way that things have been done and really looking at a different business model that can tie the two together and make it accessible.

Lee Mcardle [00:01:22] You need to be able to have a home that will produce enough energy to be able to look after you rather than just keep piling money into a home. It needs very little to heat, it keeps your electric bills down. These houses are really the next step forward.

Joseph Michael Daniels [00:01:34] Having a roof over your head, having security, having people, having a life, having a family, these things are important to your development as a person. When you feel lost and you feel powerless and homeless. You feel like you're not a poor society. You feel like people don't care. This is it man. This is where I slept, this is where I spend a fair few nights, October, freezing cold.

Jason Constable [00:01:55] I get a real sense of personal and professional pride in backing companies like Etopia. We can lend our guidance and support in many ways, be that through mentoring all the way through to financial investment, in terms of really helping some businesses like this grow and prosper and really take them to the next level so they can really deliver on their ambitious plans.

Alisdair Gayne [00:02:15] Unreasonable Impact is a unique partnership that we've built over the last six years and it's a programme that we're incredibly proud of at Barclays. We're trying to back real world commercial solutions to some of the world's biggest challenges.

Lee Mcardle [00:02:29] An Etopia house is very cheap to run, so I should be able to afford it. Our technology is very cutting edge, but it's affordable.

Joseph Michael Daniels [00:02:38] Home is where the heart is, and I think me not having that has made me focus so much on building that and making it available for people because spreading that positivity through actions is what's going to change this society into being a better one.

Joseph Michael Daniels [00:02:58] I'm Joseph Michael Daniels, founder of Etopia. And when regulation changed in 2015, that meant 1.5 million more homes were built that were subject to fuel poverty due to being built badly and using gas. Etopia address this by building the net zero smart homes of the future, combining energy, construction and intelligent technology to make sure we can save the planet and save our pocket.

Joseph Michael Daniels [00:03:23] This is possible. It is being done. We have built in Africa, here in the Middle East building in America.

Joseph Michael Daniels [00:03:32] Without Barclays and Unreasonable Impact, I don't think that step could have been taken so quickly.

Joseph Michael Daniels [00:03:38] Build better and build for the future and everyone can then access property that's good for them.

Etopia’s challenge is to "give people the opportunity to own their own home. Homes that are future-proof, cost effective to run and with technology that is cutting edge." 

Ours is a philosophy within a social economic movement, a new sustainable vision where energy, net zero, low carbon housing and Internet of Things technology create a utopian like world.

Joseph Michael Daniels

CEO and Founder of Etopia

How we've supported Etopia

We first engaged with Etopia through our Unreasonable Impact programme, a partnership that supports growth-stage entrepreneurs focused on solving some of the world’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.

Since our initial meeting with Etopia we’ve continued to build on the relationship, working with them to help deliver their strategy to increase environmental house building both by Etopia and the wider house builder community.

Our teams are well placed to support the changing needs of entrepreneurial, fast-growth consumer companies like Etopia, from financing working capital, growth expenditure and acquisitions, to facilitating supplier and consumer payments across new territories and to imparting industry expertise across a multitude of key industries.

We’re committed to helping our clients to address key global issues and realise their sustainability plans.

I get a real sense of personal and professional pride in backing companies like Etopia. We can lend our guidance and support in many ways, be that through mentoring all the way through to financial investment, enabling businesses like this to grow, prosper and deliver on their ambitious plans.

Jason Constable

Head of Real Estate, Barclays Corporate Banking

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