Sylvera secures £4.13 million Seed investment led by Index Ventures

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Sylvera, world’s first carbon offset ratings provider, secures $7.8m, launches global platform, and announces partnership with researchers from UCL, UCLA and NASA-JPL

  • Sylvera delivers transparent, independent, ongoing and reliable assessments of carbon offset projects, accelerating the path to net-zero
  • Sylvera applies machine learning algorithms to satellite data and its own proprietary data sets developed with scientists from leading research organisations including  UCLA, the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and University College London to accurately assess the performance of projects around the world
  • The carbon offset markets are poised to grow at least 15x by 2030 as large corporates accelerate their net zero commitments, but these markets lack the reliable, independent data required for scale and impact
  • The company partners with all market participants, giving buyers, developers, marketplaces, and investment organisations greater confidence in this increasingly critical asset class 
  • The $7.8m consists of a $5.8m seed round led by venture capital firm Index Ventures and a $2m research contract from Innovate UK

13 MAY 2021 – LONDON – Sylvera, the world’s first carbon offset ratings provider that leverages geospatial data, machine learning and proprietary climate data to create a reliable and transparent assessment of carbon offset projects, has officially launched today. Sylvera  brings a new level of transparency to a market that is expected to grow exponentially in the next decade, but lacks a trusted, independent, universal benchmark and has relied on incomplete and inaccurate data to date. 

The company is also announcing that it has raised $7.8 million in funding to further expand its technology platform. The $7.8 million consists of a $5.8m seed funding round led by Index Ventures with follow-on participation from all the existing institutional investors including Seedcamp, Speedinvest and Revent. The investment is supplemented by a $2 million research contract from Innovate UK. Also participating in the investment are prominent angels including existing and former CEOs of NYSE, Thomson Reuters, Citibank and IHS Markit. 

“We founded Sylvera because we believed that in order to reach net zero, the world will require a well-functioning and scalable carbon offset market. Such a market will only work if all participants can trust in the projects they are trading. Currently, carbon offsetting is a very opaque market with little independent assurance available to guarantee an offset has taken place. The market also lacks the transparency companies need to compare projects globally across different standards,” commented CEO of Sylvera Dr Allister Furey. 

Sylvera has developed a sophisticated technology platform that draws on multiple layers of satellite data to capture project performance data at scale and at a high frequency. Sylvera then applies machine learning algorithms to analyse and visualise this data, while simultaneously conducting deep analytical work to assess the underlying project quality. From this analysis, Sylvera creates a standardised rating for a project, enabling market participants to transact according to their preferences. Sylvera makes its ratings and analysis data available to its customers through a web application, and via API. 

In addition to this analysis, Sylvera continues to expand its proprietary methods for assessing carbon performance. For example, the company has recently partnered with Dr Antonio Ferraz of UCLA and NASA-JPL and Prof Mat Disney at University College London to harness recent developments in Lidar technology to radically improve the performance of space-based tracking of forest.

“Research partnerships enable us to continually enhance the tools we use to track nature based carbon offsetting projects and get as close as possible to the real world impact,” added Dr Furey.  

Unlike legacy brokers and recent market entrants in the carbon offset marketplace, Sylvera does not sell carbon offsets. This ensures that Sylvera’s rating of a project is free from conflicts of interest that have hindered the development of the market to date. Instead, Sylvera’s ratings accelerate the flow of capital to higher quality projects whose environmental credentials are strongest. Sylvera’s approach also ensures the widest possible market coverage, enabling the transformative scale required by net zero commitments.

Today’s launch opens up Sylvera’s platform and API to a broad set of carbon offset market participants, and expands access beyond some of the key partnerships the company has struck in its pilot phase.  Sylvera is already working with some of the world’s largest purchasers of carbon offsets drawn from industries such as aviation, oil & gas, utilities, real estate, technology, and professional services. It is a partner to leading carbon offset marketplaces, and is actively working with a number of soon-to-launch new marketplaces across Asia, Europe, and North America. Sylvera is also closely partnering with the developers and sponsors of some of the largest offset projects that are coming to market.

Carlos Gonzalez-Cadenas, Partner at Index Ventures, commented:

This is a phenomenally strong team with the vision to build the first carbon offset rating benchmark, providing comprehensive insights around the quality of offsets, enabling purchase decisions as well as post-purchase monitoring and reporting. Sylvera is  putting in place the building blocks that will be required to address climate change.”

Ariel Perez, Partner and Head of Environmental Products at Hartree, stated:

Large corporates and their shareholders are demanding more transparency as they execute their net zero strategies. Sylvera gives this transparency – enabling buyers to make better choices faster, and to manage risk with more confidence.”

Rene Velasquez, Head of Global Carbon Markets at CBL Markets noted:

“The markets are at an inflection point, with more large global corporates entering than ever before. These new buyers expect more transparency than the market has historically provided – responding to this need will be critical for market growth.” 

Sylvera was founded in 2020 by Dr Allister Furey and Samuel Gill to address significant market failures in the carbon offset market. Having gained broad exposure to all sides of this market from both principal and advisory perspectives, together Furey and Gill identified the transformative impact technology could have on scaling this market and its impact as the world accelerates to net zero.  

Dr Furey has 15 years of experience developing technology and technology businesses, including 3 years at Entrepreneur First where he acted as European MD. Dr Furey holds a PhD in Machine Learning and an MBA from London Business School. Gill is a qualified solicitor and practiced at leading US law firms, advising top tier asset managers on ESG products, major offset issuances, and fund creation, launch, and management. 

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Safiya Marzook

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