20th April 2022, Berlin: Vaayu, the climate tech start-up that helps retailers reduce their carbon footprint in real-time, has closed an $11.5 million seed funding round led by Atomico, with follow on from CapitalT and participation from Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian’s Seven Seven Six, along with a select group of angel investors including Cristina Stenbeck, Chairperson of the Zalando Supervisory Board and non-Executive Director of Spotify and Bryant Chou, co-founder and CTO of Webflow. As part of this round of investment, Atomico Partner Terese Hougaard will join Vaayu’s board, making it 75% female.
This is the second investment the business has attracted in eight months, taking the total seed amount raised to $13 million. Vaayu will use the funding to double down on its mission to help the retail sector reduce its carbon footprint, which is currently responsible for 20% of all global emissions – more than international flights and the maritime industry combined.
Vaayu is the world’s first and only carbon-tracking software designed specifically for retailers. Its priorities over the next twelve months will focus on helping businesses optimise their carbon footprint by providing access to real-time data that delivers clarity on company emissions across the value chain, from product to packaging and shipping. Connecting to shop platforms via their point-of-sale systems, Vaayu’s automated software accurately calculates the carbon footprint of all daily transactions using its proprietary database of more than 600,000+ data points.
The investment will enable Vaayu to help retailers to measure emissions against their peers through the expansion of its benchmarking capabilities. It will also help the business to scale its world-first product footprinting technology so consumers can see the carbon footprint of individual items and make better purchasing decisions. Vaayu will continue to serve a range of emerging retail use cases and is developing models to address the changing commerce landscape, including recommerce and deadstock.
Founded in the midst of the pandemic by the previous head of sustainability at Zalando, Namrata Sandhu - and software engineer and data scientist CTO, Luca Schmid - Vaayu has gone from strength to strength. Just twelve months since its launch, Vaayu has on-boarded more than 50 customers, including some of the world’s biggest brands like Klarna and Wunderman Thompson Commerce, where Vaayu powers its newly established Sustainable Commerce Practice, as well as Europe’s leading Amazon aggregator SellerX, Astrid & Miyu and Missoma.
Namrata Sandhu, CEO and co-founder, Vaayu, said: “We have just nine years to meet the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and as one of the industries with the largest global carbon footprint, the retail sector is facing mounting pressure from all sides. If the sector continues to grow at its current rate, modest predictions suggest that emissions will surge by more than 50% by 2030. This simply cannot become a reality.
"There is no shortage of funding for climate tech startups so it was particularly important to us to find an investor whose values, approach, understanding of the sector and vision aligned with Vaayu’s. Atomico fits the bill in every way and we look forward to working together to cement Vaayu's position as the go-to carbon reduction platform for the retail sector."
“At Atomico, we like to partner with today’s boldest founders to solve the future’s biggest challenges. Nam and Luca's vision for Vaayu, to build a platform that enables retailers to view and reduce their carbon emissions in real-time, combined with their deep retail sector expertise, was a perfect fit for us and we are looking forward to supporting them on their next stage of growth,” said Atomico Partner, Terese Hougaard.
“Retailers' ability to quickly and confidently respond to the climate crisis has to-date been hampered by low-quality data that takes a long time to compile, and even longer to action, but with Vaayu the retail industry as a whole is now able to make considerable reductions to its carbon footprint.”