Interview with Ricardo Porteus – CEO Cuipo
Ricardo Porteus serves as the CEO and Co-Founder of Cuipo. Interviewed by Zara Amer from ‘The Climate Change Project’ for the ‘Blockchain + Deforestioan Report’. Ricardo shares his role within Cuipo, and vision for a decentralized socially responsible future.
Q: Let’s start by talking about a previous technology preservation initiative that you co-founded. Dance For One Meter (D41M) uses patented technology to help preserve the rainforest. How exactly does it work?
Over the past few years we developed a patented redemption system that allows us to lay a virtual grid over a plot of land and convert it into square meters. Every single square meter has an identifiable code which is attached to all our transactions across our different websites, platforms and initiatives. Once a user buys a product or service they automatically receive access to their redemption page where they can see the coordinates, a Google Earth satellite view and facts on habitat saved and protected. The customers can share and help spread the conservation message. The more sharing they do they can earn Rainforest Points and increase the size of their own personalised mini Rainforest which is part of the larger ‘Cuipo Preserve’ in Para Brazil.
Q. The transparency of the technology and the simplicity of the message makes for an impressive business model. Ultimately, the key differentiator between your startup and others working in this space, seems to be the way you’re marketing yourselves. Dance For One Meter, a Cuipo CSR partner initiative, sells tickets at music festivals and allows the people who purchase these tickets the opportunity to make a sizeable impact to a worthy cause by investing in an inexpensive and permanent solution. Is simplicity, transparency, engaging with the right demographic the key components of your campaign? Did I miss anything?
It’s exactly that. We are focusing on the gamification and easy adoption of endangered lands by focusing our initiatives directly at the millennial generation. The early adopters gain a sense of wellbeing, a feel good factor by joining our programs and this creates social sharing and caring.
Q: How do you think the emotional experiences and messages people receive at one of your events differ from other conferences or demonstrations?
I would say our key differentiator is we focus on ‘fun’. We focus on people when their minds are clear, open in a happy environment, they are attending events with their best friends experiencing incredible music and making life memories. This level of consciousness allows optimism, creativity and positivity to flow and this helps us to really deliver our core message – ‘Have fun, save rainforest’. Traditional ‘guilt and fear’ tactics to force people to donate or buy don’t work for this new information age generation. We can make a difference, we can stop the destruction but we need to feel good about it, not feel like its a lost cause.
Cuipo’s Dance For One Meter initiative has been partnering up with different festivals and have many events planned for 2018. Can you talk about the commercial partnerships and on the ground collaborations you have developed? How many stakeholders are you working with at the moment?
We have had a huge up take on D41M, so much so we are struggling to onboard the amount of events wishing to participate, which is an incredible position to be in. So we are now launching in batches, we have festival and club partners in 15 major cities, over 360 events in the next 12 months. It’s going great and this year ‘Dance For One Meter’ will become a global initiative for good.
Q: Can you talk a little about the educational element of the initiative and the measures you’re using to raise awareness of deforestation?
When a customer attends a D41M event, buys a bottle of water, or participates in any transaction through the Cuipo CSR protocol, the customer redeems their 1sqm on our website and immediately receive access to their’ dashboard’ page which showcases what they have saved and the habitat in that 1sqm they have protected. The customers then have the opportunity to dig deeper and join mailing lists or follow through on further education on deforestation and how as a community they can help spread the message. The goal here is simplicity in education not overload of data and information.
Q. I read some very frightening statistics on your website. The scale of the damage is alarming. Are we at all close to engineering a sustainable, proportional response to deforestation?
If everybody takes action, if we demand change and we never ever ever give in, we can absolutely achieve our goals, we will halt the deforestation and we can create balance that will allow nature to heal and repair over time. Educating and enabling local farming families to grow sustainable cash crops instead of adopting slash and burn approach can be achieved, we can bring public attention to corporations who continue to covertly destroy our environment. The power individuals have at their hand using the social media sites they frequent, or changing the products they choose to purchase is where the future of this lies. It’s a simple change of mindset, we are doing our bit to help in this global challenge. Have fun, save Rainforest, 1 person, 1 ticket, 1 square meter at a time!
Q: Who is taking the lead here and who’s remit of responsibility does this fall under?
It’s a company and partner responsibility, we provide the technology and marketing and our partners provide the conservation and preservation efforts.
Q: How do you distinguish between raising awareness of the issue and the start up?
The issue, message and activation of SQM’s is all we are concerned about, the delivery mechanism and sharing drives the adoption of the startup.
Q. Can you provide clarity around the patented technology that you built? All transactions and land saved are now registered in the blockchain – how does this work?
All land purchase, titles, converted meters, assigning of the land to individuals via ticket purchases, or other initiatives will all be blockchain based for total transparency. The more transparent we are the more positive impact we can have.
Interviewed by Zara Amer – The Climate Change Project