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upbeat | Tech. For. Good. - Issue #22

upbeat | Tech. For. Good. - Issue #22
By Niels Achtereekte • Issue #22 • View online
Hi there! Welcome to the last issue of upbeat for 2021. As usual, we’ll take a look at the bright spots in the digital world. To get back to work with new ideas and perspectives to improve the world around us.
In this issue: How Ecosia builds ‘purpose’ into everything it does | Startups incubators chasing impact | Why companies need a Chief Impact Officer | A wider overview of the climate tech vc landscape | And much more.
So let’s get to it: Make the change at work!

Lessons learned after 5 years of climate tech entrepreneurship
Olivier Corradi started Tomorrow in 2016 with a desire to find scalable digital solutions to climate change. During the 5 years that followed, Tomorrow created a B2B enterprise data service (electricityMap), a B2C carbon accounting app (North) and a B2B carbon accounting SaaS (Bloom). Now Corradi shares his lessons learned building these data products.
Climate tech startups are at a higher risk of burnout: “we were simply trying to fix too many things. Saying no was not an option, although we should have realised that by dispersing our attention, we were preventing each product from having a real chance at becoming successful.”
Realising the magnitude of the climate emergency takes its toll: “Staying optimistic remains difficult, and I personally coped by working more and trying to be part of the solution.”
How Ecosia builds 'purpose' into everything it does
With each new lockdown announced, Ecosia saw its usage figures spike. The German ‘search engine that plants trees’ strikes a chord with its predominantly young target group that wants to take action against climate change. Moreover, the company is nesting itself in more and more ecosystems and with a different business model it is growing into an attractive alternative to regulars such as Google and Bing. “The company is its own and can never be sold,” said Chief Marketing Officer Hannah Wickes in an interview I did with her. (In Dutch)
Impact incubators are on the rise
Lately we’ve seen more and more vc’s focussing on impact driven companies and startup incubators are sarting to show a similar move. Lets look at three of them:
EIT Community Booster
Launched by the European Commission, the New European Bauhaus translates the European Green Deal into a tangible, positive experience in which all Europeans can participate and progress together. With this in mind, the EIT Community Booster is set to identify and support the startups and scaleups integrating the three core dimensions of the New European Bauhaus:
  1. sustainability, from climate goals, to circularity, zero pollution, and biodiversity
  2. aesthetics, quality of experience and style, beyond functionality
  3. inclusion, from valorising diversity, to securing accessibility and affordability
Startup Bootcamp Sustainability
SBC new ‘branch’ has presented its first cohort including:
Ecofye: a platform that rates the ESG performance of small and medium companies. Providing autonomous and personalised sustainability solutions and carbon footprint calculations.
For Purpose Job: a platform that enables purpose-hungry people to find impact-driven jobs.
Unspendr: an independent review platform that helps eco-conscious consumers on their journey to sustainable consumption. 
Rockstart rebrands
Along with its 10th anniversary Rockstart has rebranded to double down on helping impact driven founders grow their businesses. “At the core we are the same, but we will move forward with a new statement. Why stop at rock the world, when you can change the world”, said Rockstart CEO & co-founder Rune Theill.
Having started acting as a early growth investor - besides being an incubator - Rockstart this year invested in companies like EV charging platform Soolutions and zero-waste e-grocery startup Lyfa.
'5 reasons startups will need a Chief Impact Officer'
“While it sounds like a rebranding effort for the Head of CSR position, it’s actually more analogous to the role of a Chief Revenue Officer,” says Kat Borlongan about the role of a Chief Impact Officers. If a CRO is responsible for every process that generates revenue in a startup, a CIO is responsible for every process that generates any kind of social and environmental impact, defined by their company’s mission and values.
Borlongan urges to look into the relatively new role because: the market expects more out of startups (and other companies) now, you need someone to pick your battles or you’ll end up under water and impact is really hard to coordinate at a strategic level.
Chop chop!
💧 This app allows people in East African communities to maintain and diagnose their own water systems.
👚 Fashion platform Otrium has partnered with Good On You to enhance sustainable offerings. Shoppers will see a sustainability score based on Good On You’s research and calculations.
🌎 Planet will acquire VanderSat to deliver advanced agriculture data products to customers.
💰 Plan A, that helps companies measure, reduce and report on their business carbon footprint using science-based methodologies, raised $10 million in Series A funding.
👀 Artificial Intelligence for the energy transition: 8 challenges for the Netherlands. (NL)
🌳 Get a wider overview of the climate tech vc landscape with this map or this list from Sifted.
Bycatch
Not necessarily tech for good, nonetheless relevant:
1. Insights from spatial data - When it comes to science-based targets, accounting for impacts and dependencies on nature is just as important as accounting for carbon emissions, Metabolic writes. Only by addressing both can we move towards a decarbonized, nature-positive business model. The difference is that when it comes to nature, knowing where company activities are located and the context of those regions is critical for an accurate understanding of the impacts. Read more here.
2. Jonathan Pie: The World’s End (COP26 short film with George Monbiot, Caroline Lucas & Ed Miliband) - COP26, right, what should we make of it? Reporter Jonathan Pie - a fictional character of British actor/comedian Tim Walker - investigates the truth in a comical yet painfully brutal way.
Jonathan Pie: The World's End (COP26 short film with George Monbiot, Caroline Lucas & Ed Miliband)
Jonathan Pie: The World's End (COP26 short film with George Monbiot, Caroline Lucas & Ed Miliband)
3. Putting Post Growth Theory Into Practice - Melanie Rieback, founder of the Post Growth Entrepreneurship (PGE) Incubator, digs into what Post Growth Entrepreneurship is, the problem with current businessmodels and lessons learned in practice.
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Niels Achtereekte

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