A Chat with Rana Hajirasouli, Founder at B2B Digital Ecosystem: The Surpluss

The Surpluss is a new global platform that offers a digital ecosystem to challenge the current linear business paradigms towards providing simple access to the circular economy.

On the platform, companies are able to share their surplus resources, assets, and intellectual capital, profitably. Companies looking to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by optimising their underused resources can exchange with other cross-industrial actors, track their landfill diversion rates, and link up each of their exchanges with the UN SDGs. This is the simplest way to reduce barriers, particularly for SMEs, to participate in the circular economy and a new method of doing business which does not require expensive infrastructure or unguaranteed carbon offset programs.

The same way that Airbnb has normalised staying at a stranger’s house, we want it to be the norm for businesses to thrive resource sharing to benefit both the environment and their bottom line. The Surpluss is beneficial for many different industries, especially those that generate waste. It is initially focused on targeting the most resource-intensive sectors e.g. construction, iron, steel, aluminium, manufacturing, textiles, etc.


How did you come up with the idea for the company?

The inspiration came from the unrealised potential of underutilised resources, and nature’s ability to convert apparent “waste” into value. Whilst the sustainability community is often focused on carbon as the enemy, I decided to take a biomimetic approach (by observing nature’s cycles) to offer a different perspective.

Nature works in perfect equilibrium with imperfect feedstocks. It does not condemn and squash resources or carbon into the ground, rather, it works in a broader ecosystem as a feedstock and is transferred to another cycle where it can be used and given value. This made me curious as to whether this principle could be translated into materials, spaces, and the word “waste” at large. With my previous experience in the resource-intensive manufacturing industry, I decided to conduct a pilot program for exchanges and innovation workshops.

During this time, I realised there is an untapped market opportunity to cater for businesses beyond their seasonal fluctuations and enhance their sustainability, and contribute to their bottom line. All that was required was a new perspective.


What do you think makes The Surpluss unique?

While various circular economy and industrial symbiosis solutions exist, there were always technical, cultural, financial or barriers of trust that limited widescale commercial adoption.

Rather than trying to standardise an entire ecosystem, the platform recognises there is no one size fits all approach for companies with varying challenges and needs. It celebrates incompatibility so that every participant can establish their own journey to becoming more climate intelligent.

There is also a big focus on democratisation, providing access to sustainability for small businesses, as well as large. It doesn’t require complex, expensive infrastructure, nor does it require large amounts of investment or several hours of training to use it. Companies can be onboarded and trained within 15 minutes to gain insights into the pain points within their supply chain from a new perspective. Previously, this opportunity has been missed.

How has The Surpluss evolved over the last couple of years?

The Surpluss was officially formed in late 2021, and registered in both the UK and the UAE as a climate-tech startup. In the early phases, we held physical workshops for executives from various industries and matched them to form “synergies” (or informal partnerships) – the overall goal was to reduce waste.

During these workshops, we learned a valuable lesson: materials only lose value once we stop finding uses for them. After several pilot runs, we gained some valuable insights from synergies that succeeded, but also learned that failure was a significant driver for change. It was then I decided to develop a digital product that could equip companies to use collective intelligence to make the most use of their resources, assets, materials and knowledge.

We have also had some excellent experience assessing our requirements for other markets by joining the University of Cambridges’ Net Zero Accelerator, as well as the Shell Engine Accelerator designed for clean-tech startups in the UAE.

What can we hope to see from The Surpluss in the future?

We are hoping to cater to the UK markets’ large SME base and particularly welcome partnerships from trade associations. We hope that with deep and meaningful collaborations, we can identify high-performing geographic clusters around the UK that are utilising our methodology, as well as benefiting from our platform. For SMEs that are looking for cheaper, local alternatives, we are hoping to close this gap, particularly for resource-intensive value chains that are widespread and assist them in localising their operations through collaboration.

We are also looking forward to solidifying our new sustainability standards for secondary resource exchange to create a baseline standard for our partner companies to be able to effectively navigate the often-fragmented circular economy landscape. Additionally, we are excited to partner with government, banking and insurance solutions to provide a one-stop-shop for our digital ecosystem to thrive in a changing climate that requires all the solutions to support the transition to net zero.