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Startup nets £5m to connect carbon projects with corporate financing

Opna founder
Opna founder Shilpika Gautam. Image credit: Opna

A climate fintech startup building a platform to connect corporates with carbon projects searching for financing has secured $6.5m (£5.2m) in seed funding.

Opna, formerly known as Salt, was founded in February 2022. It aims to “rebuild trust” in voluntary carbon markets, which are a marketplace for carbon emitters to purchase carbon credits generated from initiatives removing or reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The platform’s tools let corporates discover projects, facilitates financing and includes a digital portfolio to manage financed climate projects.

The London-based startup said it will use the proceeds of the seed round to increase awareness of its platform, expand the types of carbon projects available on its platform, develop its technology and make new hires.

“To achieve their net zero commitments, an increasing number of corporates are seizing control by directly financing the carbon projects underlying the carbon credits,” said Opna founder Shilpika Gautam.

“However, these businesses are having a hard time mobilising their capital due to a lack of in-house expertise, high transaction costs, analogue infrastructure, and time-consuming processes.”

Opna pointed to figures that show just 7% of companies are on track to fulfil net zero pledges. Gautam said its platform is “bridging the gap” between corporates and carbon projects.

The seed round was led by VC firm Atomico and attracted capital from previous backers Pale Blue Dot, MCJ Collective, Angelinvest and Tiny VC.

Angel investors include former Gainsight COO Cristina Stenbeck, DBT Labs board director Allison Pickens, former Klarna chief commercial officer Luke Griffiths and Collibra co-founder Stijn Christiaens.

Atomico partner Terese Hougaard, who joins the board of Opna as part of the deal, said it is a “monumental challenge” to develop impactful climate solutions at scale.

Hougaard added that Opna is “building the infrastructure necessary to transform the way that businesses interact with the voluntary carbon market and allow for meaningful emissions reduction”.

Other carbon offset startups that have recently secured capital include Isometric, which raised £19m, and Sylvera, which scooped £43.6m.