Private EquityJuly 1 2020

Sandaire Private Equity Manager Spotlights: In conversation with Ditto

3 mins read

Michael Mowlem

Managing Director, Sandaire Private Equity

Sandaire Private Equity has spoken with Daniel Botterill, the CEO of Ditto Sustainability, a direct investment managed by Sandaire for a number of our clients. Ditto was originally founded as a sustainability consultancy but has evolved its model using technology and software as a means to provide knowledge and through its Rio SaaS platform, offers a tool to allow its customers to measure its impact on the environment, drive performance improvement and deliver sustainability. Clients include NHS Scotland, Associated British Ports, DS Smith, David Lloyd, Sanne Group plc, University of Kent and JD Sports. Since lockdown, Ditto has signed up new clients including Valpak, the UKs leading provider of environmental compliance and producer responsibility services who have agreed to enter into a multi-year agreement to provide the Rio platform across Valpak’s international clients. Here are Dan’s thoughts and you can learn more about Ditto Sustainability and the Rio software platform by clicking here.

Daniel Botterill, CEO of Ditto Sustainability

What has been your business’ experience of the Covid crisis?

March was a big shock to the system for everyone in the company.  Once we took stock though, it was clear that we had the systems and processes to be able to work effectively under these conditions; it was our customers and supply chain that would be adapting. For some this would be very challenging. We therefore needed to be patient and supportive. Our business is all about helping organisations (public and private sector) be more sustainable. We kept faith in our business model and the belief that sustainability and robust Environmental & Social Governance (ESG) is the long term solution for society. The events of the last 3 months prove this to be correct. Generally, the businesses that are thriving are the ones with strong sustainability credentials and resource efficient business models.  

What has been your business’ greatest achievement during the Covid crisis?

I would say it’s the team dynamic we have forged in the period.  We have found new ways to collaborate more effectively and work more efficiently. The pace of software development has tripled, the value of our pipeline has doubled, we signed our largest contract to date in May. I’m incredibly proud of the way the team has remained motivated and committed to our goals. We were also delighted to learn in the past few days that Rio, our software platform, has been shortlisted for an award as Best New Product at the IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards.

What Government measures have you exploited during the Covid crisis?

As a default we operate prudently.  Given the unique and highly innovative concepts we are exploiting around AI and sustainability we have always benefited from R&D tax credits. We saved a few claims up which have now filed and benefited from. Otherwise we reviewed the various Government schemes to ascertain the most appropriate for us but in respect of the Job Retention Scheme we reflected that our team were sufficiently busy supporting and winning clients that there was no need to furlough people.

What do you think will be a long term consequence of Covid on your business?

Covid has made every organisation evaluate the sustainability of their business model and operating practices. We are all looking for ways to better identify and manage risk moving forwards. Rio, our AI driven ESG platform is perfectly positioned to help organisations measure this risk and capitalise on opportunities for long term improvement.

What change in your life during the Covid crisis will be permanent?

Since lockdown commenced I have been doing 5/6 High Intensity interval training sessions a week. I’m healthier, sharper and more focused than ever.  I will make sure I keep this going!