Meaningful Business (MB:) Please tell us a bit about your background.
May Al-Karooni (MAK): I was born in Iraq and moved to Leeds when I was young when only the classic career options were available; lawyer, doctor, accountant. I graduated as an accountant and very quickly realised there was more to life! I moved to London and worked in insurance then moved into the investment banking and asset management industry, fundraising monies for venture capital (VC), property and hedge funds for the last 10 years, totalling over £120 million in funds raised.
MB: What Led you to start Globechain?
MAK: I set up Globechain in 2015 having seen a demand for a new online circular economy within the waste management industry after my own employer expressed a need to reuse items in a more collaborative way, rather than via disposal or incineration. I wondered why no-one had digitised waste and connected businesses to people who needed assets and items.
MB: What is the problem you are trying to solve?
MAK: Sustainability is the number one priority in 2021 for enterprises. With ESG data and more solutions to help enterprises move from linear business models to circular, the market cap is hitting $4.3 trillion, with Globechain’s reuse potential hitting a £54 billion waste industry alone.
We are leading a new market in reuse / supply chain for enterprises in retail, construction and hospitality to reduce global waste and generating social, environmental and economic data on the impact.
MB: What is your biggest challenge right now?
MAK: Finding the right talent and experience to grow and execute a new business model no-one has achieved before, whilst navigating the VC arena with a business with no benchmark, that’s leading reuse and sustainability in a unique way for businesses!
MB: What is your vision for the future of your business?
MAK: A global and local supply chain of resource and redistribution of assets from businesses and people to reduce global waste and generate ESG impact that is transparent and valuable.
MB: What is your advice to other leaders who want to combine profit and purpose?
MAK: Resilience – believe in your service or product. You will get many sceptics and will have hold your vision and passion and be relentless. There are very few overnight successes so you need to be prepared for the long haul and enjoy the journey.
MB – What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
MAK – Ensure your business makes money from day 1 (by a VC).
MB – Who inspires you?
MAK – I don’t get inspired by role models and have never been like this, as there are too many people that do great things. I motivate and personally develop myself, and respect anyone who has taken risks and sacrifices to achieve their goals.
MB – How do you define success?
MAK – A feeling of contentment that you’ve achieved what you set out to, and that you’ve survived it!
MB – What is something you wish you were better at?
MAK – Stopping overthinking, and having a better work-life balance.
MB – What is the one book everyone should read?
MAK – Any Malcolm Gladwell book is a great start to anyone’s journey in starting a business. I love how he simplifies science and statistics.
MB – What do you do to relax?
MAK – Scuba-diving and travelling to unusual places.
Discover the other MB100 leaders recognised for their work combining profit and purpose to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in 2020, here.