Case Study



Case Study - EcoHedge


In conversation with Robert Smallcombe

Hi, I'm Robert Smallcombe and I'm one of the founders of Eco Hedge. Prior to founding the company, I worked in a number of different corporate roles, predominantly in software sales.

Prior to that, I'd studied philosophy at university. All of that led me here today, which is helping small businesses with small budgets to make better green claims.

Eco Hedge is all about helping those busy business owners with small budgets to make better green claims. They're under a lot of pressure to understand the footprint of not just their operations, but the products that they sell. So, we developed software that automates the capture calculation and categorisation of value chain emissions data, and packages that up into a beautiful report.

The idea really started to take form as I've always thought that people are often told what they shouldn't be doing, but they're not given the tools to help them make better decisions. So, we started Eco Hedge with the idea of giving people a way to quickly understand their impact, and then help them to make better decisions, so they can make better choices and reduce their environmental footprint.


I think the main motivation for starting my own business was really around having the control to do what we wanted to do, which was to develop a product that has a tangible impact on business owners.

We had lots of ideas previously, and we'd worked in different companies where you could see ways that you could enhance the lives of those people that you're working with. But it's very difficult until you are in control of your own destiny, to actually take those steps and to make a change.

The journey

The journey so far has been quite something. I mean, a baptism of fire - there's been highs, there's been lows. I sometimes use the analogy that I once heard about airline pilots, who describe their job as hours of boredom mixed with moments of terror.

The startup world is slightly different. There are no hours of boredom - it's been a lot of fun, but there are those moments of terror when you're up in the middle of the night and you're thinking “gosh, did we make the right decision?” So, the journey so far has been great. There are those moments of terror, but it has been a massive learning experience.

The growth curve

Eco Hedge was founded about a couple of years ago, and we had to go through the process of putting the team together, speaking to what would be our prospective customers, and building out a solution that really met their needs.

Now, in those early days it was quite slow, and I think you need to take the time to really get in the minds of your prospective customers, to build something that is going to solve their problem eventually.

So, we did that, and it was very slow at first. Then at the back end of last year, we launched Eco Hedge Express, which is our flagship carbon reporting product. Since then, we've been growing at around 40% compounded monthly growth rate.


We’ve had two main challenges so far. Sometimes, when you are in a small business, going from concept to startup to maybe an early-stage scale-up, you are working on deals and opportunities that really can move the needle.

When they sometimes go against you, you can lose momentum quite quickly, and it's difficult to keep your head up and stay positive, when you've had a string of things that haven't quite gone the way that you wanted them to.

The second is that we've got so many things that we'd like to do, and only a set amount of money for us to play with to be able to solve some of those challenges. So being quite focused and rigorous means that sometimes we don't do everything we want, but it enables us to do those things that we choose very well.


The thing that I enjoy most about running Eco Hedge is working with the team that we've got. We're all on the same page, working towards the same goals, we’ve got the same mission, and on a day-to-day basis, it’s just so much fun, because we're not serious all the time.

We can have a lot of laughs, but that collective mission really binds us, and that's something, because we're quite small and early in our journey, so it's really powerful.

The future

I think the future for Eco Hedge is very bright and exciting. We've got a number of interesting avenues that we're exploring at the moment. For example, we've just signed a memorandum of understanding with a company that will give us access to many different geographies.

That’s 15 different countries and 110 million small businesses, and we think that we can use that platform to really take Eco Hedge out to the market on a global scale, and impact as many businesses as possible in helping them to streamline their reporting.


Go and speak to your target customers as much as possible, because it might not actually turn out that the problem that you think you're solving is the problem that they actually have.

Otherwise, you'll end up doing all of this work, developing something amazing, without an actual market for it. So, I'd really recommend going out and speaking to the customers, finding out what keeps them up at night, and then you can incorporate that into your plan, and make sure that you're building something immensely valuable.

Using 1st Formations

We found 1st Formations through Google a number of years ago. We were looking for a quick, easy, and seamless way to get all of the corporate infrastructure set up, so that we didn't have to worry about it, and we could focus on getting the business off the ground, getting the team together, and making sure that we were able to create a product that generates revenue.

When we came across 1st Formations, they sorted all of that for us, and made it really easy to get to a position where we could do business.

The company formation process

The company formation process was streamlined and as simple as we needed it to be. In our case, we wanted to move away from model articles of association and set up some different share classes with slightly different structures, and the team at 1st Formations were literally just a phone call away.

So, we were able to pick up the phone and talk to them about something a little more bespoke, and they helped us get that all sorted quickly, and made sure that we had the company set up in an appropriate manner.

1st Formations today

We use 1st Formations today for a number of different things, such as a corporate office address and service address for directors, so we can get all of our mail in one central location.

The key part is that there’s one less thing for us to worry about, because we're growing quickly. We might be moving around the country, or looking to bring on new team members who might join the board, etc. But having 1st Formations there to deal with all of that in a centralised location really helps us.


I really enjoyed reading 1st Formations' blogs. They gave me the confidence to make a purchase online and find the right package for myself.

Paul Tavener, Marvellous Escapes View customer story