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Planet Metrics this morning said it has raised $2.3 million in Series A funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson for its carbon footprint modeling software. The Burlingame, Calif.-based company says it hopes to be the tool of choice for companies, from technology firms to grocery chains, that are ready to dig deeper into their business’s carbon footprint.
Andy Leventhal, CEO of Planet Metrics, says companies are increasingly keeping tabs on the basic carbon impacts of their business — via utility bills, transportation fuel use, and other easily tracked data. However, these initial areas, most of which belong to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol’s Scope 1 and Scope 2 categories, aren’t always enough for companies seeking a strong competitive advantage from carbon accountability — and may not be enough to satisfy future regulations. Planet Metrics also allows motivated companies to track Scope 3 emissions — which AMD told us “is not for sissies,” earlier this year. That includes indirect emissions from suppliers, employees, and product over the course of their life from manufacturing to disposal.
Part of the software’s mojo is in the richness of the data that it has gathered and licensed from other vendors. “We have this massive data repository of publicly available economic data, scientific data, and carbon data to use to help a client model the carbon impacts of the goods they’re selling,” Leventhal says. The biggest chunk of that data comes from the GaBi tool, created by PE International, which provides detailed life-cycle analysis information from more than 4,500 data sets.
Once the baseline data, gathered from the Planet Metrics database, allows the software to sketch a model of carbon use, clients can evaluate where they need to get more detailed information — the “hotspots,” as Leventhal calls them. Gathering company-specific supply-chain data can take 2-3 years, Leventhal estimates; Planet Metrics’ estimate-then-get-specific approach allows companies to get started right away. That can significantly reduce the amount of time needed to identify the biggest emissions impacts and get started whittling them away.
Currently, Planet Metrics customers work with company reps over a 2- to 4-week period to establish which areas of their business they want to model and how they want to use the information from the model. Planet Metrics’ staff scientists set up the modeling program and help clients perform initial visualization of their carbon impacts. Leventhal says the software can help companies quickly ramp up a carbon reduction program by providing an actionable model within about 30 days. Once companies have working models, they can input more detailed company-specific data into them to fine-tune actual emissions numbers.
Over time, Leventhal says he’ll work with customers to find out where else supply-chain and material input data is stored in order to help determine which other software programs Planet Metrics will integrate. Leventhal, who headed up strategic alliances for Red Hat, says it’s crucial to understand what kind of data customers need to interact with, first. “We have a very comprehensive plan — we don’t just want to jump into a relationship with an Oracle or SAP,” he says.
The software is a web-based system built on the Software-as-a-Service model. An annual subscription to the beta offering, which includes a set number of users and professional services bundled with the software, can cost anywhere from $25,000 for a small engagement to $75,000 for a more complex set-up.