A radically different type of car company.
Riversimple takes a whole system approach to sustainability in mobility. Designing lightweight vehicles around hydrogen fuel cell technology, a sale of service model that prioritises longevity over obsolescence, a governance system that ensures that no stakeholder suffers at the hands of another.
Above all an uncompromising pursuit of real sustainability.
Riversimple's ambition is simple and far reaching and yet the whole system approach complex to grasp.
How to articulate the ambition and the complexity to potential backers (whether funders or partners) or to potential customers? Ostensibly this was new technology in a new business model with a new system of corporate governance. Each of those on their own would be a challenge to articulate - all together they could prove daunting.
At the same time Riversimple was necessarily in an R&D mode - most of what it was attempting had not been done before in such an integrated fashion. How to manage stakeholder expectations through the R&D program?
Whole system approach
The two aspects of Riversimple that most shaped the way Good Growth developed were the admirably sheer refusal to compromise on what sustainability really meant, and the whole system approach. Whilst the headlines might focus on hydrogen the truly groundbreaking stuff is in the business design.
The need to finance that whole system approach as a system is now clear - the approach to financing cannot be conventional. The whole system approach has to include whole system finance. Which is the financing of Good Growth has been designed in from the start as an integrated part of the whole system.
What we did
The brand story - a movement for sustainable mobility.
Market development - the idea of local "beta" tests to try out both the design of the car and the sale-of-service proposition.
Investor engagement - it was increasingly apparent that "ordinary" investment could not square with the level of ambition the company was pursuing. Pressure to deliver some form of return always translated into pressure to compromise somehow on the goal.
This was a business that needed funders who were fully bought into the ambition and the path to get there.
Riversimple - always a business focused on the local - hopped over the border from Ludlow to Llandrindod Wells in Wales. The Welsh Government has warmly embraced the ambition and the business.
The Beta tests are ongoing in Wales and plans are afoot to develop a larger car and a small van.