$101M for Climate SaaS | Plant-based Investor Market | Market Map of 400 Climate Startups
Plus, 100% green electricity for 3 million customers (CEO interview), RIP Bishop Desmond Tutu, and design thinking for your life (book).
Good morning, folks.
We’re changing this newsletter’s name from ZERO to Entrepreneurs for Impact…
…just like the climate CEO peer groups we run at, uh, Entrepreneurs for Impact.
Simple. Is. Better.
If you have any feedback on how to make this newsletter more awesome, email me.
High fives and such,
$101M for a climate management and accounting startup.
Led by CEO and Co-founder Kentaro Kawamori — Persefoni is a SaaS platform that enables companies and financial institutions to measure, disclose, and reduce their carbon footprint, thereby meeting stakeholder and regulatory climate disclosure needs with the highest degrees of trust, transparency, and ease.
They recently raised a $101M Series B, led by Prelude Ventures and TPG RISE Climate, which is the largest known funding round for a climate tech SAAS company in history.
What is Persefoni?
Think of us almost like an ERP for carbon data. We run that data through the carbon accounting methodologies that exist, such as the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, and we come out with calculations that can be used in highly auditable, regulatory, and investor-grade carbon and climate disclosures. You are now seeing that very classic digital transformation happening, which is a route manual process dominated by flat files undergoing the digitization process to a platform-first approach.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you — outside of your own family?
This is an easy one. One of my co-founders Jason Offerman, just ripped up his life and moved all his family from Oklahoma to Tempe in the earliest days of our venture to join me in starting this business. You heard me say it earlier, but you have to be a maniac to start a business at the early stage with no product and no investment. Having a partner that you can do that with you in the earliest of days, for sharing the vision and supporting each other, has been amazing.
What recommendations do you have for our audience — e.g., books, podcasts, quotes, or tools?
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull, which is about Pixar and the culture and business they built.
No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reid Hastings, which is all about the Netflix cultural philosophy, but most importantly about Netflix’s secret weapon, which is its reinvention going from a mail-in DVD business to streaming giant to Hollywood production company.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Bob Iger, who was the long-time CEO of Disney and oversaw massive transformation and made bets by buying Lucasfilm and Pixar, which at the time seemed controversial. He is just one of the great CEOs of our time.
The Colombia Energy Exchange by Jason Bordoff, the Dean of the Colombia Climate School, which provides excellent economic and macroeconomic analysis around the energy transition. I don’t think you can pack more high-quality information per minute on any other podcast besides, of course, your podcast, (chuckles).
20VC by Harry Stebbings, who has been so prolific that he has now turned it into being a fund manager.
Acquired by Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal, wherein they do one- to four-hour readings of iconic companies and how they came to be. They do fascinating research and storytelling around how those companies became as influential as they were.
We’re excited to welcome Kentaro to the third Climate Mastermind peer group at Entrepreneurs for Impact. Hopefully, Covid will get the hell out of the way so we can enjoy that sake bottle he identified on my bookshelf during the podcast.
Read or listen:
Plant-based investing marketplace: Beyond Animal
If you're working on alternative proteins, cruelty-free food, vegan snacks, or the like, you might just love this:
Beyond Animal — a fintech platform to help founders and investors to find each other, assess fit, and scale together.
The catalyst behind this marketplace is not just some fair-weather proponent of plant-based opportunities. Instead, President Claire Smith is a 35-year finance veteran and vegetarian/vegan since age 15.
I’m excited to be their US partner and help them to expand this important marketplace.*
If you’re an institutional investor or growth-stage CEO, contact me for more details.
And if you think the vegan industry is just for Birkenstock-wearing incense-lovers (wait, that feels too personal), then think again:
Bloomberg Intelligence projects the plant-based food category growing to “$162 billion by 2030 as products like Beyond Meat and Oatly continue to grow in popularity.”
Below is a blurb.
“Beyond Animal is a fintech platform for companies created to solve the problem of access to capital for companies accelerating the transition to an economy free of animal exploitation. Our purpose is to facilitate a kinder, cleaner, and healthier world.
We connect the entire ecosystem of stakeholders in the vegan economy and offer digital tools such as online funding, networking, and business services. Through these tools, companies can find the right people, partners, products, and resources to turbocharge their business.
Beyond Animal is democratizing access to financing for vegan businesses, allowing them to secure funding to grow their businesses. By facilitating introductions and providing much-needed structure around the fundraising process, we hope to make it much easier for these companies to find the financing that they need. We provide a service to all types of investors (be they individual, professional, or institutional) by providing access to high-quality vegan-vetted deals.”
And while we’re talking about animals, always remember these two nuggets of wisdom:
To be or not to be a horse rider, that is equestrian. (Mark Simmons)
Whenever you meet a confused dolphin, don’t worry. Just ask them to be more Pacific.
100% Green Electricity for 3 Million Customers and Counting
Led by Michael Lee, Octopus Energy U.S. is a technology-driven, renewable energy retailer, directly supplying over 3 million customers globally with 100% green electricity at a cheaper price and with a focus on incredible customer service.
Founded five years ago as a global energy retailer, Octopus Energy entered the U.S. market in 2020, forming Octopus Energy U.S. and fueling the company’s global expansion.
Octopus Energy Group (parent company) is currently valued at over $4.6 billion and is one of the energy tech industry’s fastest-growing private companies.
What does Octopus Energy U.S. do?
In the age of swipes, likes, and Siri, many energy suppliers have struggled to keep up with this digital transformation. Burdened by the inefficiencies of the past, these dinosaurs of the industry have failed to evolve with consumers’ changing needs and behavior.
That’s why Octopus has built Kraken, its proprietary energy technology platform designed to drive the smart grid, providing customers access to cheaper electricity when renewable energy is abundant. Licensed as a SAAS provider to other energy companies, Kraken ensures that the mission to decarbonize the grid can be shared and accelerated across the industry.
And by making customer service a priority, Octopus has turned energy on its head – thrown away the call centers, confusing bills, and tired systems. Instead, the company has combined their knowledge of energy and understanding of customers in the 21st century to create a better customer experience for everyone that takes into consideration how consumers interact with their energy and smart home devices, while making the experience more enjoyable, visually appealing, and understandable.
How are you funding your growth?
My journey into Octopus is unique — I originally created a retailer, Evolve Energy, which was acquired by Octopus. I now lead the US division of Octopus Energy. Octopus Energy Group is now a company with billions of dollars of revenue (after only 5 short years of existence) and support from Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management with its $600 million into Octopus Energy.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you — outside of your own family?
I had a major ski accident in 2010 and as a result, I’ve had about $1 million of reconstructive plastic surgery on my face. The world-renowned specialist who volunteered to take my complex case has really given me a second chance, and I think about that often. A few years afterward, I read Mary Oliver’s quote from The Summer Day (poem): "Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” and it’s given me the fuel to focus on what’s important.
Read or listen:
Market map: 130+ climate startups
If you’ve ever felt confused about the delightful plethora of climate tech startups — #GreatProblem — then here’s a (partial) solution:
A series of market maps covering 400+ startups and 20+ climate tech VC portfolios.
For this massive curation, a big shout out to fellow On Deck Climate Tech Fellow Diane Cozian — “a highly-energetic Frenchy in San Francisco and ex-M&A investment banker on her climate journey to break into VC climate tech.”
RIP, Bishop Desmond Tutu.
During the Christmas holiday, we lost a legend when this Nobel Peace Prize winner passed away at age 90.
When I saw him speak at the National Cathedral in Washington DC in 1994, I knew I was witnessing something historic. I can still picture where I was sitting — on the second level, the morning sun having its fun with the many stained glass windows.
A religious and humanitarian rights leader, the Arch, as he’s affectionately known, helped put an end to South Africa’s apartheid system — “the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.”
To explore some recent insights from the Arch, check out his inspiring book co-created with the Dalai Lama during their retreat together in Dharamsala, India — The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World.
My version of this book is full of pen marks noting their wisdom and joy that I hope (and fail) to remember most days. #WorkInProgress
If you’d like to appreciate his laughter and unique messaging in “live” form, check out this video from Democracy Now in 2004.
That’s all, folks.
Make it a great week, because it’s usually a choice.
P.S. What should I do next?
If you’re stuck regarding career choice or life transition, consider this #1 New York Times bestseller by two Stanford Univerity professors that argue for the use of design thinking and trial and error to find your path — Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life. “Designers don't think their way forward. Designers build their way forward.”
Dr. Chris Wedding
Founder and Chief Catalyst, Entrepreneurs for Impact
The Only Private Executive Mastermind Community for CEOs, Founders, and Investors Fighting Climate Change
* The reader agrees to the provisions set forth on those certain “Disclaimers” located at https:/www.finalis.com/disclaimers and the terms thereof are incorporated by reference as though fully set forth herein, and references therein to (i) “Company” means Beyond Impact Advisors (together with its affiliates, subsidiaries, successors and assigns), (ii) “Banker” means Chris Wedding and (iii) “Bank” means IronOak Energy Capital.