“If you want to animate, I recommend acting classes.”

said my supervisor Ernesta, as we worked on empty states for the Cervest platform. Thanks to COVID-19, I did not have a chance to fully execute that insight in my two and a half months at Cervest. But I look back on my time as an enriching experience with high-speed tutorials in Adobe After Effects (AE), insights into the animation industry, and a virtual tour of how one amazing tech company carved a solution space for climate change.

At Cervest, I focused on creating empty states. These icons appear during instances such as first use, user cleared, no results, and errors to show the user there is nothing to display. Empty states lessen the amount of words users need to read, and they can convey a company’s values or aesthetic.

Here’s a timeline of the work:

In June, I did frame by frame animation with Rough Animator, with mainly squash and stretch. Ernesta and I went through branding exercises to determine what values we wanted Cervest to convey.

In July, thanks to Pluralsight and Youtube (especially Ben Marriott), I could navigate Adobe AE with ease, and sketched ideas for empty states using the branding concepts. I also studied animation concepts through tutorials, and learned about transitions, follow through, and more.

In August, I iterated the sketches into high definition illustrations with Adobe Illustrator. Then animated them with Adobe AE. 

In September, I presented my work.

It was a challenge to work remotely, and in a time zone where I eat breakfast when the team breaks for dinner. But Ernesta and the product delivery team went beyond to welcome me. They changed their meeting times and working hours to meet my schedule; I was especially touched to see them rename our “Bye Bye Session,” a designated space at their end of the day (and my beginning) for non-work conversations, to “Hi Bye Session.” I also enjoyed our Weekly Wins – Friday Zooms that look at positives of the week, as well as #Donut, an app on Slack that connects random employees for fortnightly conversation. I was very impressed and appreciative with how Cervest handled the remote work transition. As I leave Cervest, I want to thank my mentor Ernesta for her endless animation insight, design expertise, and Marbles. Thank you Jasmine, Fedo, Conan, Dorota, and Natalia for the warm welcomes and hi-byes.

If you want to help create a world resilient to climate change with bright, creative, and kind minds, I highly recommend Cervest.

And if you want to animate, I highly recommend acting classes.

Ernesta Baniulyte

Ernesta Baniulyte 
Lead Product Designer

Ernesta has been a full-stack product designer for more than five years. She has valuable experience in the B2B, B2C and B2B2C worlds, and while working at both agencies and product/service companies, she has learned to develop UX research infrastructures to support strategy.

At Cervest, Ernesta contributes to all stages of the product development process – from initial ideation to the exacting detail of UI design – finding new ways to visualise data, and ensure our product is intuitive and user friendly.

Ernesta’s decision to join Cervest was inspired by her desire to make the world a safer, better and more aware place.

Ramani Lachyan 
Junior Research Scientist

Ramani joined Cervest after obtaining her Master’s in Physics from ETH, Zurich. She brings with her valuable experience gained through working on model building and data simulation pertaining to neutrino physics.

Ramani has joined Cervest as a Junior Research Scientist and will be working on creating algorithms that allow for the extraction of physical observables from data from a range of sources.


Lukas Scholtes 
Statistical Scientist

Lukas completed his maths BSc at ETH Zurich, followed by an MSc in statistics at Imperial College. He wrote his MSc thesis in collaboration with Cervest, on the modelling of North American wheat yields via Bayesian parametric and non-parametric methods.

Following an internship in the NGO sector in Bangladesh and a stint in the world of fintech, Lukas comes to Cervest, excited to apply himself to the challenges that are arising as a consequence of unsustainable land-use policies and climate change.

Aidan Coyne
Junior Researcher

Aidan is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Science and Engineering at University College London with a focus on computer science and data informatics.

At Cervest, Aidan is working on researching and assimilating a database of articles categorising the reasons for extreme decreases in crop yields across Europe. The information will be used to help predict the impact of weather events on crop yield and contribute to  Cervest’s ability to bring clarity to decision making around climatic and extreme events.

While studying, she also volunteers with environmental conservation groups and youth engagement programmes.

Alex Rahin
Chief Product and Technology Officer

Alex is an entrepreneurial technology leader with over 25 years of hands-on experience in developing and executing innovative product and technology strategies.

Prior to Cervest, Alex served as Chief Product & Technology Officer at Beamly, a technology and data company delivering data platforms & infrastructure, data & content management solutions, and AI-powered eCommerce analytics, leading Beamly to a successful exit in 2020.

Before working at Beamly, Alex served as Chief Data Officer at Just Eat, where he built an end-to-end data organization, leading the company’s data-driven transformation with the launch of a unified customer data platform and scalable machine learning products

Earlier in his career, Alex held prominent roles at Zalando, Amazon, Microsoft, Intel, Hewlett Packard, and three technology startups achieving successful exits in all three.

Alex holds a BSc in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from UC Berkeley.