Dr Zsuzsa Mayer, co-founder of EcoSync

Photo of Dr Zsuzsa Mayer

Dr Zsuzsa Mayer, is the co-founder of EcoSync, a company which is revolutionising energy saving for large organisations. Large organisations like hotels and office buildings spend millions on their energy bills each year while 70% of their heated rooms are empty – therefore 40% of the energy is wasted.
EcoSync is a platform for existing building technologies to synchronise; we harvest occupancy information from the room booking system and from motion detectors and use the data to pre-set the temperature of the right rooms at the right time. EcoSync currently has 5 pilot locations in Oxford and working with 7 developers and looking for investors to launch our product/service in October 2018.

What is your background? What made you decide to become an entrepreneur?

We were frustrated not finding an existing solution for an obvious problem. The development started as a hobby, now a full-time commitment of the co-founders.

What is your definition of entrepreneurship?
EcoSync Logo

“Scientists study the world as it is; engineers create the world that never has been.”
Theodore von Kármán (1881-1963)
An entrepreneur is someone also considering the market/business/viability aspects of that new world.

How and when did you know your idea was good enough to develop it?

We have received very positive feedback (and awards) at an early stage of the development.

What would you say are the top 3 skills that needed to be a successful entrepreneur? Why?

Depending on the field a solid engineering background is the best thing to have. And an MBA is a great plus.
Not a skill but you must be happy to use your savings at the beginning – and be able to let it go if there is no fund/support as it means your work might not be valuable enough. I might be wrong though.

What is your favourite part of being an entrepreneur?

The potential impact we can make by ourselves – not by following the vision or goals of someone else.

What individual, company or organization inspires you most? Why?

That 5 % of start-ups who made their business work/survive. They are heroes.

If you had 5 minutes with the above indiv/company/org, what would you want to ask or discuss?

Their strategy and pitfalls to avoid. We learn the most from those companies’ only 1-2 steps ahead of us.

What would you say have been some of your mistakes, failures or lessons learned as an entrepreneur?

Burning up some bridges with potential customers – a good relationship is crucial all the time.

How have you funded your ideas?

Personal savings, small grants/awards and pre-seed fund/investment.

Are there any sector-specific awards/grants/competitions that have helped you?

Social Enterprise Award of the University
Low Carbon Hub award
Carbon Innovation award
LEV8 (accelerator)

What is good about being an entrepreneur in Oxfordshire? Bad?

Bad: most of the support opportunities are in London.
Good: the community is relatively small, easy to get to know other start-ups to help each other out.

If a new entrepreneur or startup came to you looking for entrepreneurship resources, where would you send them? (Anything Oxfordshire especially!)

Facebook groups – like Start-up Therapy and Entrepreneurship Centre.