Why we invested in Sust. Global

One of the big questions that arise with regards to climate change is what exactly does the future hold? Vala has recently closed its investment into Sust Global to try and help people to answer that question — at least in relation to medium-term climate risk. Our investment is part of a $3.2 million round where we joined investors including Hambro Perks, Powerhouse Ventures, Thirdstream Partners as well as UK and US-based angels.

Sust Global is helping some of the leading companies to protect against, mitigate and reduce the risk and threat of climate change. Its cloud-based data platform helps its customers, who include leading financial data providers, financial services firms and corporates, to better understand climate risk by using a ‘geospatial first’ approach to transform climate models. Ultimately this means that its customers can make more informed decisions as to the climate risk associated with their decisions and the assets that they might own.

Sust Global’s approach is novel in its integration of multiple geospatial datasets. Its product integrates historic and near real-time data from satellites and ground-based sensors, coupled with forward-looking global climate models, using novel statistics and deep learning techniques.

It has previously been funded by the European Space Agency and its research has been recently featured in the Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) conferences.

Sust Global will use this funding to grow the size of its commercial and technical teams — and to expand its climate product into new markets such as real estate and banking.

Team: Co-founders, Josh and Gopal, are leading thinkers in the climate risk modelling space and have made significant progress in demonstrating this know-how to major global blue-chip customers over the course of our discussions with them. It’s already well on its way to recruiting an all-star team across its bases in London and San Francisco.

We believe this team’s technical capability, customer service focus and vision. They are the vital ingredients to delivering a world-leading solution that will ultimately help all of us, directly or indirectly, to better navigate the incredible challenge created by climate change.

Josh Gilbert, Sust Global CEO, says: “At the UN’s COP26 summit, world leaders, CEOs and celebrities announced promises to address the climate crisis. But how hollow are these promises? Corporates, investors and governments are accused of greenwashing and will likely fall short of their commitments. A large part of this is due to a lack of accurate, validated and transparent data.

“In an increasingly crowded climate data sector, our geospatial-first approach to climate risk data and emissions insights is truly unique. As our recent customer traction indicates, existing data on climate impacts is often inaccessible. We’re thrilled to secure this investment to further our mission to deliver credible climate data to business and finance.”

Gopal Erinjippurath, CTO and head of product at Sust Global, says: “We see a massive opportunity and an unmet need for data-driven interpretation of the latest climate models. Through fusing data sources across different time scales, we are developing the essential inputs and data transformation tools for more sustainable, climate-aware capital allocation.”

Impact:
We’ll be honest with you — this was a difficult one for us to break down. Sust is helping large, global firms, who themselves provide services to clients large and small around the world, to make more climate-sensitive decisions. That is self-evidently positive. However, as we often see with B2B digital climate start-ups, measuring their direct impact is an exciting, albeit intellectual challenge.

Whilst there isn’t necessarily a clear, direct metric — like tonnes of CO2 saved — what is clear from speaking to its customers is that the data and the climate models that Sust can deliver are sorely needed to help firms transition to net-zero, become more climate-resilient and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

We’re excited to welcome Sust Global to the Vala family of portfolio companies and look forward to supporting it through this next chapter.You can find out more about the company and its mission here.

Be sure to watch this space for further updates on mission-driven teams building great businesses — we’re going to be backing quite a few.

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