Data, sustainability & Loopa, a conversation with a data-preneur: Andrea Quiros

Episodio 100 - 2024-02-25

Andrea Quirós Balma, an industrial designer with a passion for furniture design, is a Costa Rican who studied in the United States (Savannah College of Art and Design) and recently completed a master's degree in engineering and management at MIT (MS in Engineering and Management). Her research culminated in the founding of Loopa, a startup that measures the carbon footprint in the furniture industry, providing vital information to consumers for more conscious purchasing decisions. With a family background in sustainability and education in the United States, Andrea embodies the fusion of creativity and environmental responsibility to drive positive change towards sustainability.

We talked about her company. Loopa is a carbon accounting platform specializing in the furniture industry, enabling companies and furniture buyers to measure the carbon footprint of each piece of furniture, facilitating informed purchases. With dynamic online inventories, users can calculate their emissions, and the platform also offers the convenience of reselling products to further reduce the carbon footprint. While Loopa's focus is on furniture, its potential expansion to other product types is acknowledged. Given that the furniture industry contributes 2% to global carbon emissions, Loopa aims to address the growing public sentiment towards sustainable purchases. Loopa seeks to empower buyers by providing objective information, managing expectations through data-driven carbon calculations, and operating on a SaaS model independent of furniture brands, allowing companies already involved in carbon accounting to use its platform.

Loopa is a Data-First company. Loopa's foundation lies in data, starting with public data and aspiring to incorporate contributions from manufacturers and consumers in the future. Throughout its journey, the team has learned to integrate and leverage data dynamically for users. Andrea acknowledges that data was not her strong suit initially, but upon identifying a problem she wanted to solve, she set out to learn how. Her experience includes classes in her master's program to work with data, and her collaboration with data experts, such as ixpantia, has been crucial in understanding how to approach challenges along the way, emphasizing the importance of communication in focusing work in the furniture industry and interdisciplinary collaboration to effectively solve problems.

During the conversation, we also discussed the collaboration between Loopa and ixpantia, where Kimberley in her role as Engagement Owner at ixpantia coordinated a team of data professionals who met with the Loopa team weekly. Over a 4-month process, topics such as infrastructure design, implementation, bots for automatic access to information, and all with constant bidirectional knowledge transfer were covered.

We also discussed what lies ahead in the cleantech and ClimateTech industry and the different ways Andrea stays up-to-date regarding the evolution of this industry.

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