AN ESCP MBA GRADUATE IS AMONG THE YOUNG TALENTS RECOGNISED BY FORBES ITALY IN ITS ANNUAL "100 UNDER 30" LIST: FABRIZIO CUSTORELLA, CLASS OF 2022.
ESCP alumnus Fabrizio Custorella is co-founder and CFO of ReLearn, an innovative startup at the forefront of revolutionising Italy's social impact scene. Recognised as one of Forbes Italy's Top 100 Under 30, Fabrizio shares his thoughts on achieving this remarkable feat and how it aligns with his mission to create a zero-waste world.
In this interview, he takes us on the journey of creating ReLearn and highlights the importance of waste management and sustainability education. Discover the transformative power of their cutting-edge technology and the remarkable growth ReLearn has achieved.
First of all, congratulations on this outstanding achievement as one of the young entrepreneurs on the fast track to revolutionising Italy's social impact scene. What was the first thing that went through your mind when you heard that you were among the 100 under 30 selected by Forbes Italy?
I immediately thought of the ReLearn team. Being on the Forbes list is an incredible success and recognition not only for me but our mission. It means that we are working well, our brand is becoming known, and our customers appreciate our product. This achievement comes not only from my daily job but from the whole team working hard every day to make a Zero Waste world.
You are the co-founder and CFO of ReLearn, a startup with a mission to revolutionise the Clean Tech sector. What led you to create and succeed with your company?
ReLearn was born from a group of university colleagues who travelled extensively for work and realised that there was a common problem all over the world: there is no awareness of the problem of waste despite the fact that it is one of the most important problems of modern society, being the fourth most significant source of CO2 emissions. In fact, to date, there is no instrument to measure it and above all, it is evident that the population is unaware of the severe environmental damage it can cause. We realised that it was necessary to create a product that would help companies and municipalities reduce their environmental impact by monitoring the waste produced while educating the community. How do you solve a problem if you don't monitor it?
ReLearn focuses on sustainable innovation and reducing our society's environmental footprint, thanks to NANDO. What is it, and how does it work?
NANDO is a plug-and-play sensor powered by AI that can be installed in each waste bin. NANDO collects accurate data on the quantity and quality of waste generated each day, calculating the recycling rate (the quality level of waste differentiation), enabling more rigorous sustainability reports and raising awareness among the corporate and city community. Through gamification, in fact, ReLearn provides an engaging communication service that makes it possible for the company to spread more awareness about environmental and waste issues to its stakeholders.
How did what you learned at ESCP help you achieve your goals?
My background is purely engineering. After graduating from Turin Polytechnic, I worked for a German company as a project manager in the e-mobility sector. I always had the need to expand my horizons and broaden my knowledge. Thanks to the MBA, I gained fundamental knowledge in business management and its development. I finished the course with a cross-functional profile that allows me to overcome any work challenge.
What is your best memory from your years at ESCP as a student?
Certainly, the sharing of knowledge and experience with colleagues from all over the world. The opportunity to share different points of view and the exchange of opinions helped me to grow and expand my horizons. In addition, I built strong personal relationships that still exist today and are part of my daily life.
What's next for ReLearn?
ReLearn is growing very fast. In less than a year, we have reached five countries: Italy, UK, Denmark, Spain and Belgium. Every day we involve and raise the awareness of more than 6000 people. Our technology is also being used in waste streams other than office waste, such as industrial and healthcare waste. The goal in the future is to realise a NANDO device that can be installed on the household waste bin that monitors the amount of waste produced by all of us.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs out there who want to make an impact with their startups?
Don't be afraid to dare and learn to manage uncertainties. Working in a startup means living life with uncertainty and stress, so you have to learn how to manage and overcome them. Be curious because your profile must be as cross-functional as possible, especially at the beginning of the venture; you must be able to play any role: marketing, legal, accounting, R&D, business development, or HR.
ReLearn's journey to transform the clean tech sector has only just begun, with plans to expand into new territories and engage with a wider audience. We are so proud of Fabrizio's commitment to tackling environmental challenges through sustainable innovation.
We encourage young entrepreneurs to fearlessly embrace uncertainty and foster cross-functional skills that will enable them to create a lasting impact with their startups. Let's work together to build a brighter, greener future for generations to come.
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