Vaayu, a carbon tracking platform for retailers, pulls in $11.5M seed round led by Atomico

The last couple of years have seen a boom in carbon calculation startups, and long may it reign. (We need all the help we can get to avoid the disaster of global warming and climate change.) Included among those startups are those like planA and Planetly. But many of these new companies, as welcome as they are, tend to go more generalist in their approaches. The new wave of companies in this sector are likely to drill down into specific industries. But of course, each of these industries will likely be quite vast verticals.

Signs of that are appearing with the emergence of startups like Vaayu, offering — what it claims — real-time monitoring of retail sales at a granular, transaction-specific level, designed to help retailers reduce their carbon footprint. The retail sector’s carbon footprint is reportedly responsible for 20% of all global emissions — more than international flights and the maritime industry combined. So reducing it is crucial. We covered its first funding round last year.

Berlin-based Vaayu has now closed an $11.5 million seed funding round led by Atomico. This includes follow-on funding from CapitalT and participation from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s firm Seven Seven Six. As part of this round of investment, Atomico partner Terese Hougaard will join Vaayu’s board (which will now be comprised of 75% female participation). The round takes the total seed amount raised to date to $13 million.

Vaayu’s platform connects to shop platforms via their point-of-sale systems, and claims to calculate the carbon footprint of all daily transactions using the company’s database of more than 600,000+ data points.

The investment will enable Vaayu to offer retailers emissions benchmarking against their peers and detail the carbon footprint of individual items, it says.

Vaayu was founded during the pandemic by the previous head of sustainability at Zalando, Namrata Sandhu, and software engineer and data scientist CTO, 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, Vaayu, said in a statement: “We have just nine years to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and as one of the industries with the largest global carbon footprint, the retail sector is facing mounting pressure from all sides. If the sector continues to grow at its current rate, modest predictions suggest that emissions will surge by more than 50% by 2030.”

“At Atomico, we like to partner with today’s boldest founders to solve the future’s biggest challenges. Nam and Luca’s vision for Vaayu, to build a platform that enables retailers to view and reduce their carbon emissions in real-time, combined with their deep retail sector expertise, was a perfect fit for us,” added Hougaard.

Included in the round were investors Cristina Stenbeck, chairperson of the Zalando Supervisory Board and non-executive director of Spotify, and Bryant Chou, co-founder and CTO of Webflow.