The past two years have seen a boom in carbon computing startups, and long reigned. (We need all the help we can get to avoid the disaster of global warming and climate change). Among these startups are those like https://plana.earth/ or https://www.planetly.org/ But many of these new companies, welcome as they are, tend to be more generalist in their approaches. The new wave of companies in this sector is likely to focus on specific industries. But of course, each of these industries will likely be quite large verticals.
Signs of this are appearing with the emergence of startups like Vaayu’s offering – so it claims – is real-time retail sales tracking at a granular, transaction-specific level, designed to help retailers reduce their carbon footprint. The carbon footprint of the retail sector is believed to be responsible for 20% of all global emissions, more than international flights and the shipping industry combined. It is therefore crucial to reduce it. We covered its first round of funding last year.
Berlin-based Vaayu has now closed an $11.5m seed funding round led by Atomico. This includes follow-on funding from CapitalT and participation from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s company Seven Seven Six. As part of this investment round, Atomico Partner Terese Hougaard will join Vaayu’s Board of Directors (which will now be 75% women). The round brings the total seed amount raised to date to $13 million.
Vaayu’s platform connects to store platforms through their POS systems and claims to calculate the carbon footprint of all daily transactions using the company’s database of over 600 000 data points.
The investment will allow Vaayu to offer retailers an emissions benchmark against their peers and detail the carbon footprint of each item, it says.
Vaayu was founded during the pandemic by former Zalando sustainability manager Namrata Sandhu and CTO software engineer and data scientist Luca Schmid. It now has 50 customers, including Wunderman Thompson Commerce and Berlin-based SellerX, Astrid & Miyu and Missoma.
Namrata Sandhu, CEO and co-founder of Vaayu, said in a statement: “We have only nine years to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and, as one of the industries with the largest global carbon footprint, the retail industry is facing increasing pressure from all sides. If the sector continues to grow at its current rate, modest forecasts suggest that emissions will increase by more than 50% by 2030.”
“At Atomico, we love partnering with today’s boldest founders to solve the biggest challenges of the future. Nam and Luca’s vision for Vaayu, to build a platform that allows retailers to visualize and reduce their carbon emissions in real time, combined with their deep retail industry expertise, was a perfect fit for us,” added Terese Hougaard, partner of Atomico.
The round included investors including Cristina Stenbeck, chair of Zalando’s supervisory board and non-executive director of Spotify, and Bryant Chou, co-founder and CTO of Webflow.