Skalata Ventures backs climate tech startup NetNada to help SMEs become carbon neutral

- August 31, 2022 2 MIN READ
NetNada cofounders Lochie Burke and Afonso Firmo
Small business carbon footprint measurement startup NetNada has raised $200,000 in Seed funding from Skalata Ventures to make reporting easier and more affordable for SMEs.

The backing from Paul Little and Darrell Wade’s Melbourne VC comes amid a shift in focus from bi-annual cohorts to now invest in up to 5 early-stage companies per month, on a rolling basis.

Skalata COO Maxine Lee said they listened to what founders wanted to make the change.

“It wasn’t application deadlines or program dates,” she said.

“Our new Venture Development model enables us to support more companies, more effectively than ever before.”

Sydney-based NetNada’s platform integrates directly with accounting software like Xero. It uses AI to automatically assess a company’s data and identify the impact of expenditure on the environment, then suggests the best ways to reduce impact, while also identifying cost savings and automating communications with stakeholders.

Cofounders Lochie Burke and Afonso Firmo previously founded the Kolkata-based River Rangers charity and sustainable household product marketplace, Little Pepino, respectively, and identified the affordability of small business being able to act sustainably as a big issue and set out to “democratise” it.

“Doing your ESG reporting and knowing your carbon emissions is going to be just as essential as doing your taxes is right now,” Burke said.

“Two million Australian SMEs want to do the right thing, but with typical ESG consultant fees hitting $100,000, they’re priced out completely. Sustainability is a huge and complex area. Offsetting carbon, cleaning up supply chains, and searching for green solutions amidst the greenwashing is a minefield for non-experts.”

As terms such “carbon neutrality,” “net-zero” and “climate positive” become part of business language, Firmo said the fundamental issue remains that you can’t offset what you can’t measure.

“The first step to reducing your carbon footprint is understanding how big the shoe is,” he said.

“Our focus is on making complex and opaque data clear and actionable, so business owners can self-regulate.”

The team is predicting 10x customer growth over the next 12 months and has already signed several clients, including United Resource Management and Renew IT.

NetNada scored an MVP Grant from the NSW Government, and also took part in the UNSW Founders and CSIRO ON programs. David Burt, who ran the ON program before going on to become Director of Entrepreneurship at UNSW, has joined NetNada as an advisor.

Skalata co-founder Darrell Wade, founder of Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest carbon-neutral travel company, said he admired NetNada’s approach.

“With impending changes to accounting standards, carbon accounting will become an essential part of a company’s reporting framework,” he said.

“Fortunately, companies can now do the right thing whilst also getting ahead of the compliance curve by using NetNada.”