Sylvera is a startup that rates carbon-offset projects. Check out the 7-slide pitch deck it used to raise $32 million from Index Ventures and Insight Partners.

Sylvera cofounders Samuel Gill and Allister Furey
  • A startup that rates the effectiveness of carbon-offsetting projects has just raised $32 million.
  • Sylvera uses 3D laser scans and satellite imagery to estimate how much carbon is stored in trees.
  • We got an exclusive look at the seven-slide deck the startup used to raise the fresh funds.

Sylvera, a startup that rates carbon-offset projects, has just raised $32.6 million in a round coled by Index Ventures and the New York firm Insight Partners.

The company, founded in 2020 in London, uses 3D scans and satellite imagery to establish the structure of a forest and estimate how much carbon is stored in it.

This is fed into a machine-learning algorithm with environmental data — such as the risk of a forest fire, the operator’s track record, and what has happened in the forest over time — to rate offsetting projects.

Carbon credits, each of which represents 1 metric ton of carbon dioxide or equivalent that will be removed or prevented, are issued by projects claiming to help reduce emissions. Projects can be nature-based, such as planting trees, restoring peatlands, and preventing deforestation, or can center on technologies like carbon capture.

The market for carbon credits could be worth more than $50 billion in 2030, according to McKinsey. Corporations are racing to meet net-zero goals, while a host of newly spawned startups offer carbon accounting and offsetting services. 

Projects do not always deliver, however, and tracking progress can be difficult, Sylvera says. The quality of a credit is not necessarily reflected in its pricing, and carbon credits are sold on unregulated voluntary carbon markets.

There is a gold-standard accreditation, but this is a “pass or fail” mechanism, not a rating, the Sylvera cofounder Samuel Gill told Insider.

Sylvera sees itself as an “overlay,” bringing an additional level of data and visibility. Its end goal is to become a “single source of truth” for the quality of carbon credits, pushing low-quality credits out of the system.

“It actually provides a powerful economic incentive to decarbonize,” Gill said. “It will become increasingly expensive to offset. Our vision is that we create a truly functioning global carbon market, which deploys huge amounts of money into nature and makes it increasingly painful to emit carbon — that would be great.”

Sylvera refreshes ratings every quarter or when there’s a “dramatic event” like a large fire.

“So sometimes, things will go wrong in projects that mean they dropped below that standard and we pick that up, we’re able to give comfort,” Gill added.

“There are also projects that significantly outperform versus their peers and those are the projects that our clients really want to buy into. They want the projects that are most impactful and successful, and high quality and high integrity.”

Sylvera’s clients include Delta Air Lines, and the company says it has “relationships” with intermediaries to traders, exchanges, and marketplaces.

It operates a subscription model for individual businesses and licenses its data to marketplaces that offer offsetting.

There are other companies using geospatial data and machine learning to observe forests, but Gill says Sylvera has just one direct competitor, London-based BeZero Carbon.

The Series A brings Sylvera’s total funding to $39.5 million. Salesforce Ventures, LocalGlobe, and angel investors also participated in the round. 

Gill added that it’s “really exciting” to see “world-renowned generalist software VCs” investing in climate-tech companies. “What that actually means for the world is really quite significant,” he said. “It’s a sign that the sector is maturing.”

Sylvera now rates nature-based projects but plans to use the fresh cash to expand its coverage to projects providing less-polluting cooking stoves in developing countries and renewable-energy storage and double the size of its team to 170 this year.

Below, check out the deck it used to raise the Series A.







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