There’s nothing like an increasing level of regulations to create spaces for new startups to appear, especially in SaaS. Asset managers, banks and other financial institutions need to calculate their financed CO2 emissions footprint in a manner that is auditable and compliant with both the Greenhouse Gas Protocol and the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) methodologies. Thus, we’ve seen the rise of the likes of Plan A, South Pole and Watershed. And, of course, Salesforce’s sustainability cloud is a huge player.
Persefoni, a Climate Management & Accounting Platform (CMAP) for enterprises and financial institutions, is the latest to benefit from this rising tide, with the news today that it has raised $101 million in its Series B financing round. Persefoni's pitch is that it is an “ERP for Carbon Data", which replaces the traditional manual and consulting-based approach and avoids proprietary approaches, which could create problems when it comes to auditing.
Leading the round were Prelude Ventures and TPG's The Rise Fund. Also participating for the first time are Clearvision Ventures, Parkway Ventures, Bain & Co., EDF Group (Électricité de France) (through its corporate venture arm EDF Pulse Holding), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), The Ferrante Group, Alumni Ventures Group and New Valley Ventures. Existing investors including NGP Energy Technology Partners, Sallyport Investments and strategic angels also returned to participate. Persefoni is claiming this to be the largest round for a SaaS climate tech company, although TechCrunch could not confirm that at publication. Certainly, it’s significant. The Series B investment brings Persefoni's total capital raised to $114.2 million.
Persefoni helps asset managers, banks and other financial institutions calculate their financed emissions footprint in the compliance methods mentioned above. It now claims to have four of the 10 largest global Private Equity firms and four of the world’s 20 largest banks using it, along with several global insurance companies and pensions/endowments. It also works with corporates across manufacturing, agriculture, energy, apparel, retail, software and business services.
Kentaro Kawamori, CEO and co-founder of Persefoni, said: “Carbon and climate disclosures will be the biggest compliance market since the advent of Sarbanes Oxley and GDPR, but with even greater complexity. The market is rife with data and software solutions that create new proprietary methodologies every day, and our customers are beyond tired of that approach. We work daily with the world’s pre-eminent industry standards setters and regulators to enable transparency and trust at the highest levels.”
Persefoni has recently struck strategic corporate partnerships with Bain & Co., EDF (EURONEXT: EDF) and SMBC (TYO: 8316), expanded into the Japanese market and released a free tier of its base carbon accounting platform for SMBs. It also launched a Temperature Scoring Model to enable users to instantly create 1.5C or 2C implied temperature rise models for their organizations.
Speaking to me over a call, Kawamori said: “We cracked the code on taking the best from the financial ledger technology, where the accounting process is completely automated, so we don't do any services. We’ve got a pretty significant channel strategy mirroring very similar to what you might have seen from UiPath in the early days where the primary route to market was through, big four and significant consulting partners.”
He added that while Persefoni partners with the Patch offsetting platform, it doesn’t take a revenue stream from that, since to recommend offsetting platforms would be a conflict of interest.
He said: "We partnered with Patch and we’re doing that in a completely commission-free, pass-through way, because we actually think it's a massive conflict to be doing both the accounting and selling people offsets for profit, which is what some of our competitors do. We think that's terrible, doesn't scale and doesn't pass audit at scale.”