Trace is a carbon footprint offsetting company based out of Australia. Its goal is to make it easier for companies and individuals to take action to support the climate. The website currently gives priority to individuals but from what the founders have said, they are moving to focus more on business customers.  

The key product components are:

  1. A carbon footprint calculator - 9 steps, simple to understand and seemed good enough to give solid estimate of my carbon footprint. The business product is set to provide more custom coaching and support.
  2. Subscription to carbon offsets - calculate or pick your level and pay monthly or annually to buy offsets.
  3. Sharing tools -  Trace give you certificates and other social materials as proof to share with your friends, employees, customers and maybe even regulators in the future.  

Business Customers

Given the size of this opportunity, it's a good idea to start with more focus. The Trace team are looking to B2B as the way to grab the first piece of the market. The proposition seems to be appealing to businesses that either already are climate-conscious, or have employees and customers who are pushing them to do it.

It may be harder to convince business owners to sacrifice profit for the good of the environment by itself. But if there is an opportunity for employee and customer acquisition or retention, then that could be enough to get them to pay. This is probably a small segment right now, but growing and eventually will become regulated (hopefully).

Business customer quote: "We've talked to some of your competitors and we think you are much better fit. We want employee engagement - that's the biggest thing for us".

Business offering:

  • Free carbon emissions assessment
  • A portfolio of high-quality carbon credits with no minimum order size
  • Shareable content including project stories, badges, email signatures, company impact page
  • Employee engagement campaigns
  • Employee perks - companies buy a subscription to Trace for their staff
  • COMING SOON: Online platform to help businesses manage and track CO2 emissions over time

Challenges

Carbon measurement and offsetting is now a busy space. There are a number of players globally who are offering all or parts of this service. The challenge is to find the differentiating factor which is sustainable as they scale.

From what I can see with Trace, they are trying to find a good balance between easy calculation, high trust credits and positive, public sharing to add social value.

There is some good and bad with the subscription model. The bad is that it doesn't track or reward changes. The good is that at least you're still doing some offsetting without having to manage it constantly. The right mix of these could also be positive.

A few things missing for me is my job and my company and the impact that has. This may be more in the business tool. I also saw all these good projects and it seemed like it picked the projects for me. I would love a more Kiva style model where I pick my projects. Maybe this is the upsell?

The project that I offset via Trace
The project that I offset via Trace

Highlights

The product is simple to use. It said it would take 30 seconds, but I think it was more like 2 minutes for me to consider all the items.

The offset certificates seemed to be credible and I liked the diversity in the projects and link to the SDG's. There is still a huge element of trust. The average customer can't fully understand what these projects do and the full, net climate impacts. There is a really tough balance here of simplicity and understanding

The Trace carbon footprint calculator is free and worth 2 minutes to test.

Report Card

  1. Team: Huge care factor and excellent hustle.
  2. Product: Simple, useful, but unclear if it's different enough to scale.
  3. Market: Good size in Australia if they can get businesses. Huge globally but very hard.
  4. Momentum: It's hard to tell from the outside, but it is early days for the Trace team.
  5. Impact: Offsetting by itself is one piece of the climate puzzle and Trace has the chance to help millions of people do this and care about it daily.

From The Founders

Company Name: Trace
Themes:  Reduce emissions, Improve the environment, Business, Consumer
Summary: Trace is your digital partner on the journey to net zero emissions.
Product stage: Traction
Founder: Cat Long
Capital raising: Pre-seed round through Antler VC and Angels.

Company mission:
We're on a mission to remove the barriers to net zero through simple, affordable and rewarding technology solutions to help individuals and businesses measure, reduce and offset their CO2 emissions. Trace's tech enables individuals and businesses to measure, reduce, offset and manage their CO2 emissions and share their impact with the World.

Why the team wants to solve this problem:
We call ourselves climate conscious hypocrites - we care deeply about the planet we live in and do what we can to mitigate climate change, but we know it's not enough and that our lifestyles still leave a carbon footprint. And we know we're not alone. We built trace to help people like us take immediate action, so that we can all leave a positive trace for future generations.

What other climate tech companies they admire:
https://www.getgreener.com/
https://ecologi.com/
https://emitwise.com/
https://www.regen.network/

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Posted 
Jun 22, 2021
 in 
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