Plan A, a Berlin-based automated SaaS B2B startup, has raised $3 million for its platform that lets companies measure, monitor, reduce and report their environmental footprint, thus improving their ESG ratings. French VC Demeter led the round with German VC Coparion; SoftBank joined the round as a strategic investor. The cash will be used to enhance Plans A’s carbon emission and ESG management software for enterprise customers in Europe, and for international expansion.
Some estimates put the market for emission management solutions at between $10 billion and $26 billion in the next five years. The U.S. Green Deal and new “EU taxonomy for sustainable activities” is putting pressure on businesses to manage their carbon emissions, leading to the rise of platforms like Plan A. Emitwise in the U.K. has raised $3.4 million and there is also Watershed. However, Plan A says its platform is more comprehensive than other players because of its ongoing automation and monitoring of a company’s carbon output.
Founded in 2017, Plan A has managed to garner customers including Société Générale, GANNI, AlbionVC, BMW Foundation, BCG Digital Ventures and football club Werder Bremen.
Lubomila Jordanova, co-founder and CEO of Plan A, said: “Plan A’s technology has transformed companies and enabled them to turn sustainability into a competitive advantage. We have been working for multiple years on developing the best in class technology, and this investment will allow us to further tailor our carbon and ESG management platform to the needs of enterprises worldwide.”
Olivier Bordelanne, partner at Demeter, said: “There is a high demand for B2B monitoring services and platforms providing data-based insights on companies’ sustainability indicators or climate risk exposures. Among the many companies offering carbon footprint measurements that we have studied recently, Plan A and its team stood out by positioning themselves as the one-stop shop to help businesses calculate, monitor, and reduce their carbon footprint via mitigation and offsetting actions.”
Alexander Lüttge, partner at Coparion, said: “Plan A offers companies an easy-to-integrate and easy-to-use SaaS solution for carbon footprint transparency, mitigation and offsetting. In our view, their solution is not only the most versatile product for automated emissions data collection in the market, it also creates transparency in emission and cost structures, as well as a significant value-add for companies through the introduction of automated business process optimization.”
Jordanova says competitors tend to calculate carbon footprints on a one-off basis, help with offsetting and then give certificates for the offsetting without supporting doing any further work. “We offer all of those services, but also enable the company to reduce its carbon footprint and learn how to implement sustainability on an ongoing basis,” she told me.
Plan A is in a good place to benefit from new regulatory environments. The new U.S. administration and the EU have been significantly shifting their agenda, requiring a lot more transparency on reporting about emissions. In the Netherlands, more than 90 banks signed an agreement to create more transparency on CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, money is being divested from fossil fuels and diverted into ESG investments. But of course, companies wanting to get hold of that cash have to be able to prove their emissions. That’s where Plan A comes in.