New Zealand carbon credits assessment startup CarbonCrop has raised an additional NZ$1.9 million (A$1,73m) ahead of a Series A later this year.
The startup launched in June last year and has appointed Jo Blundell as CEO, with co-founder Nick Butcher stepping across to the role of Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Blundell was previously Chief Revenue Officer at the recently acquired SaaS software provider, Timely.
“CarbonCrop is a purpose led business with an impressive technology solution bringing a greater level of integrity to carbon credit assessments,” she said.
“I’m excited to lead a team focused on accelerating climate resilience, biodiversity, regeneration and improving land-use economics. We have a big year ahead of us as we prepare for Series A and expansion beyond the New Zealand ETS.”
The startup is looking to make carbon credits accessible to landholders across Aotearoa ahead of global expansion plans. It offers free eligibility assessments to landholders underpinned by Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled technology.
In less than 12 months, the startup has already assessed more than 400,000 hectares of land across New Zealand, from more than 1000 assessment applications. The sites range from small lifestyle blocks with just a few hectares to hill stations of 5000-plus hectares. It’s now on track to deliver more than $15 million in carbon credits to landholders in 2023.
CarbonCrop’s model removes cost barriers to engagement, making carbon credits accessible to a wider range of landholders. Instead of charging upfront fees for its services, it receives an ongoing percentage of the carbon credits earned. The venture uses remote sensing and machine learning to analyse forests without the need for expensive site visits or time-consuming manual mapping.
Once a customer signs up, its technology helps to date the forest accurately and compile evidence required to register land to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Blundell said the team are passionate about native regeneration, which has traditionally been more challenging to register successfully.
“A criticism of carbon farming is that it incentivises people to plant out huge swathes of productive farmland with monocrop exotic forests, typically pinus radiata, which delivers rapid carbon sequestration but comes at a cost to rural communities and biodiversity,” he said
“In contrast, the majority of our customers seek to recognise – and monetise – areas of marginal, unproductive farmland which is already regenerating. Our software excels at mapping native regeneration. To date, 80% of forest under contract with CarbonCrop is indigenous forest.”
WNT Ventures Managing Partner Carl Jones they were excited to back the startup once again as it looks to expand internationally.
“Over the last year CarbonCrop has demonstrated market demand for a high quality, remote forest carbon assessment solution and succeeded in delivering this at scale,” he said
“Along with our mission to support innovative technology in NZ, knowing that the team is already on track to direct tens of millions of dollars to landholders restoring native forest is huge.”