Every so often, we like to highlight a Newlab company that is doing exceptional work to advance the climate movement. This series is focused on companies participating in our Brooklyn Founder Fellowship, which supports historically underrepresented founders who are building their startups here in NYC. I’m Jack Fritzinger, Director of the Brooklyn Founder Fellowship, and today I’ll be sitting down with Miriam Roure to talk about her company, Kara.
Kara is the sustainability compliance platform for the innovation economy. We help venture capital investors and technology companies streamline climate disclosures and ESG reporting.
Investors, governments, and a whole new generation of founders and consumers are increasingly asking if their capital is building the world that they want to see: Are our investments helping solve our climate crisis? What is the diversity of the leadership of our portfolio companies? How can we decarbonize our operations and align with Net Zero goals?
In Europe, there is regulation, and this year for the first time, venture capital investors had to classify their funds in respect to sustainability approaches and present corresponding data to support their claims. In the US, California just passed SB 54 for founder diversity, and we might be weeks away from a new set of rules by the SEC on sustainability disclosures.
For climate tech funds, it feels intuitive that climate investors are making a positive impact on our planet, but how do we know how much? When we talk about climate tech we can be talking about recycled packaging, electric vehicles, or direct air capture. All of these solutions are necessary and are bucketed under the same “climate tech” umbrella, but the scale of their potential future impact is vastly different. When we look at how to quantify this impact, the current databases and frameworks have their own gaps and challenges.
Ultimately, every investment made, can move us forward or set us backward from a future in which people and the planet can thrive together. And we are building the data infrastructure and transparency needed to support this transformation.
I was working in venture capital at URBAN-X and some of our investors started to ask if we could report on sustainability metrics of portfolio companies. I quickly realized that thousands of companies, investors, and LPs were reporting on hundreds of indicators primarily through one-off spreadsheets, forms and manual processes. Not only were there no great solutions in the market, but climate and ESG compliance was and continues to be a fast growing space with regulation now already in place in both Europe and the US. Given this clear market need, I decided to start Kara.
Joining Newlab’s fellowship was a no-brainer. Newlab’s resources and climate community are second to none. Over the last few years I have seen Newlab emerge as a talent and innovation powerhouse. Given the program’s focus on climate and diverse founders, the benefits of partnering with Newlab were clear, as its mission is perfectly aligned with the future we are building at Kara.
Over the last six months we have onboarded over 200 companies into the Kara platform and have worked with 10 venture capital firms and one fund of funds to support their operations. With this momentum, we recently launched the platform to the public with great reception!
The team at Newlab understood the importance of this milestone for us and helped us celebrate it. We are grateful for having access to the space and vibrant community, as well as opening valuable introductions for us.
The biggest milestone ahead is SB 54: California recently passed a new law for venture capital investors having to report on the founder diversity of the companies they back. We have kicked off a working group to make sure that we can support the implementation of the regulation so that it reaches its full potential. We are working towards becoming the de facto solution for investors and founders reporting on SB54. We also expect further regulations on the environmental side to pass soon.
Meanwhile, we are onboarding dozens of new funds and hundreds of new companies. It’s indeed an exciting time for Kara as we are starting to roll out our product at scale! SFDR in Europe is a big driver of adoption of our platform, we are thrilled to be able to solve the complexity of regulation for our customers, saving them time and resources.
Get started! There is nothing like testing your value proposition, building and taking action. Most people just don’t take the first step.
I have also found useful thinking about volume. If you want something to scale, you have to insert volume into the equation. Instead of having 3 customer-discovery conversations in the next 3 weeks, can you have 30? Instead of posting every week, can you post every day? Instead of having one advisor, can you have five? When building a company you rely on imperfect systems and information, and when aiming for scale you need to figure out the highest output paths, so building volume in every step can go a long way.
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Thanks so much for joining us, Miriam. Best of luck on the journey ahead! We are rooting for you and Kara.