Meet the Fellows: Ben Gleisner, CoGo

Lab Fellowship 2019 is all about data! From January to September 2019, we’re working with an exciting cohort of 16 innovators building data-driven financial innovations that serve people and planet. In this Meet the Fellows blog series, we’re learning more about our Fellows, what they’re working on and their hopes for Lab Fellowship.

Ben Gleisner started his entrepreneur journey at the age of 21, when he organised a multi-day music festival promoting sustainable development, organics and zero-waste living. Since then, Ben has founded multiple businesses that support people to make sustainable living choices in his native country New Zealand. Having recently moved to London, he is now working in the UK for the first time with the launch of CoGo: an app which makes ethical living easy by connecting consumers with businesses that match their environmental and social values.

So, how does it work? Available for all smartphones, users simply download the app and select the ethical and sustainable issues that matter to them most – from minimising packaging waste, to paying staff a living wage. The app then helps users to find businesses that are tackling the issues they care about, while simultaneously sharing those values with CoGo’s business members. Users can link their CoGo account to their payment card to send real-time data to businesses too. In this way, consumers spend in line with their values and businesses receive useful data to support and encourage them to improve their practices. Underpinning their technology and work, the CoGo impact framework measures and continuously improves the impact of CoGo and its users. Ben explains:

“Through demonstrating the business case for sustainability and ethics, we can make it easier for consumers to shift their own spending habits so that they better align with their social and environmental values, creating an economy that works better for people and the planet.”

Over the next nine months, Ben is focused on raising investment for CoGo and building a peer-learning and support community with the other Fellows. He is also keen to harness the power of Open Banking and explore innovative and responsible ways for CoGo to use data. He comments:

“During my time on the Fellowship, I hope to develop a network of peers who are working on the shared goal of using technology to create a positive social impact. I also hope to receive support in securing an investment which will help us to take CoGo to the next stage of development and allow us to add new features to the app that will make ethical living even easier!”

Ben is eager to engage with the Lab community in CoGo’s development. If you’d like to support CoGo, here’s a few ways you can get involved:

  • Download CoGo, join the beta community and share your feedback!
  • Recommend your favourite ethical and sustainable businesses to be listed on the app, and let Ben know if you’re a business that wants to be included
  • CoGo is looking for individual and retail investors to help them take their impact to the next level
  • Help to spread the word to other conscious consumers. The CoGo model works on the concept of power in numbers; the bigger the community, the greater the influence – so tell your friends!

If you’d like to support CoGo or explore other ways to get involved, please contact Naomi Alexander Naidoo. Find out more about Lab Fellowship here