Practically Green says it has raised $3 million in Series A funding for its online tools that encourage employees to act more sustainably.
The company launched with a product dedicated to consumer sustainability, but it has since shifted its focus to powering similar programs for customers like NBC Universal, eBay, MGM Resorts, and Unilever. Founder and CEO Susan Hunt Stevens told me that 90 percent of those programs are “employee-facing,” but companies can use Practically Green’s technology to create their own consumer sustainability programs, too.
When setting up their programs, customers identify the areas of sustainability that are most important to them. Environmental sustainability is the obvious one, but the company says it also includes things like family and fitness. Then they can choose the actions that they want to encourage (“from riding your bike to work to eating more healthy”) or create actions of their own, which are then encouraged and tracked through a variety of company channels including mobile apps, intranet, and email.
Other features include recommended products, explanations on “Why This Matters” and “Your Impact” to motivate employees, and information on who at a given organization has already accomplished a given goal.
Stevens said there are sound business reasons for embracing these programs. First, there are the cost savings from activities like using less energy. (She said some customers are seeing savings of as much as $100 per participant.) Second, it helps companies attract employees who want to work for sustainable organizations. And finally, some businesses see sustainability “as key to innovation and competitive advantage.”
The funding comes from CommonAngels (a network of Boston angel investors), Pan-Asia, LaunchPad Venture Group, and Clean Energy Venture Group. Stevens said she was particularly pleased to be bringing top software investors and top cleantech investors into the round, because she believes Practically Green sits at the intersection of both industries.
The company is also announcing that it has hired Mark Bissell, an early employee at SuccessFactors, to be its head of customer success.