- The Upright Project, a deep tech startup from Finland, has just raised €5M to scale its impact data engine that measures the net impact of companies and funds on the environment, health of people, knowledge creation and society
- With the latest investment Upright aims to expand its open-access database to include all companies globally with more than 10 employees
- German-based green-tech VC Planet A Ventures led the round alongside First Fellow Partners, a fund founded by renowned investor Risto Siilasmaa, ex-Chair of Nokia and Founder of F-Secure and WithSecure.
With the ongoing climate crisis, one question has remained central: how do companies impact the world around us? ESG reporting, the most commonly used method to assess this, solely focuses on the company’s financial risks associated with environmental or social issues. The Upright Project is bringing new analytical rigour and comparability to companies’ impact evaluations by measuring the sum of a company’s positive and negative impacts on the environment, health, society and knowledge.“
The global ESG and impact discourse is in dire need of common sense and understanding of what is bit and what is not. Currently the largest impacts of a company’s core business are buried under masses of details on ways of working and reporting. Apples are compared to oranges and facts are replaced by opinions in Twitter feuds. We need a transparent impact data platform with comparable data that is accessible for all”, says Upright’s Founder and CEO Annu Nieminen.
Upright’s AI-based impact data engine is the first to contextualize the disclosures and sustainability targets of companies with estimates of the EU taxonomy alignment, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Upright’s proprietary net impact quantifications. The data used is gathered from the world’s largest open-access scientific database (200m+ scientific articles), company disclosures, market research reports, Eurostat, OECD and other databases.
While there are several providers for ESG reporting or carbon accounting, The Upright Project is the first open-access platform to compare companies across industries not only based on their financial results but also their overall net impact. The model’s approach significantly improves the depth of most Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) measurements, such as ESG, SFDR, and others, that are currently biased by companies’ self-reporting and spending power.
Examples of choices Upright helps guide include:
⤷ An asset manager chooses how much to invest in PepsiCo and how much in Walmart.
⤷ A student chooses whether to accept a job offer from Goldman Sachs or General Electric.
⤷ A consumer chooses whether to buy regular milk from Nestle or oat drink from Oatly.
⤷ A CEO decides whether to recommend product strategy X or product strategy Y to the board.
With companies being the major source of emissions (>70% of the world’s GHG emissions since 1988 are from only 100 companies), The Upright Project’s new impact model will have far-reaching implications. Earlier this year their first product release already included publicly available data for the 500 largest companies globally.
“With 42% of companies exaggerating their sustainability claims, we need a new impact course. Enabling powerful stakeholders, from boards and investors to talent and consumers, to understand the net impact of companies and make informed decisions will lead to a step-change in companies’ actions and their effect on our planet. The Upright Project’s technology isn’t just `nice to have` but will become business critical.” says Nick de la Forge, Co-founder and Partner at Planet A.
The Upright Project’s business model is based on selling subscriptions for more in-depth results to decision-makers through measuring progress, setting objectives, and communicating results, thereby offering a holistic end-to-end approach. Customers and partners already include investors such as the financial services corporation Nasdaq, leading PE/VC investors such as Permira and EQT, and large asset managers such as Invesco and Nordea
“Upright’s goal is in their name: make impact assessments more honest and reputable. They are solving one of the most complex challenges businesses face by removing the blind spots in our current assessment of impact, while also democratizing it. When they asked me to invest I did not need to think twice,” says angel investor Risto Siilasmaa, ex-Chair of Nokia and Chair of F-Secure.
The Upright Project enables science-driven decision-making for investors, employees, and other company stakeholders. To do that, Upright develops a model based on open science and artificial intelligence to quantify the net impact of companies on people, planet, society, and knowledge. In addition, the model supports companies and investors in addressing their regulatory requirements regarding sustainability. Upright’s model has been used to quantify the net impact of more than 23,000 companies, and their customers include more than 180 organizations, e.g., EQT, Summa Equity, Securitas, Cargotec, Nordea, BlueBay Asset Management, LGT Capital Partners, Permira, Medicover, Fiskars Group, Aktia, and Lightrock. Upright’s proprietary data is globally distributed through Nasdaq Data Hub.
Planet A is an investment fund partnering with European green tech start-ups that have a significant positive impact on our planet while building scalable businesses globally. Their mission is to contribute to an economy within the planetary boundaries. Planet A supports innovation in four key areas: climate mitigation, waste reduction, resource savings and biodiversity protection. As the first in the European VC world, they offer scientific impact assessments to support their investment decisions and empower founders to manage and improve their impact. A wide network of experienced founders and experts support our portfolio companies. Investments include Traceless, Ineratec, C1, GoodCarbon and Makersite.
Planet A Ventures