Startup Of The Week

Startup Of The Week:

In Europe alone there are over 30 companies that help corporates track how much carbon they are emitting; nearly half were founded in the past three years. It can be difficult to differentiate between these startups as well as others that promise to reduce industrial carbon emissions, store captured CO2, and navigate the complex landscape of alternative materials.

That is where comes in. The Swedish startup bills itself as the world’s first discovery and customer-review platform focused on climate tech solutions. Its aim is to optimize the match between B2B & B2G buyers and sellers of decarbonization technology solutions and services through a digital platform which will provide decarbonization metrics such as CO2 emission reduction/ avoidance potential, Technology Readiness Level (TRL), Scope 1,2,3, emissions impact and commercial maturity, data driven recommendations for decarbonization solutions and verified customer reviews.

Qurator, which launched in November, has five co-founders, including two former World Economic Forum staff members: Joanna Kolomanska a PhD in applied chemistry who was the Forum’s Manager, Transforming Industrial Ecosystems, and Cristian Citu, who formerly worked as Digital Transformation Lead at the Forum.

“Decarbonization solutions are today discovered and purchased based on meetings at trade fairs, the serendipity of a discussion with a peer, or the result of spending hours on search engines,” says Citu, Qurator’s CEO. “Through, we empower decarbonization solutions buyers and suppliers to build successful partnerships for GHG emissions reduction. We are technology agnostic and instead of promoting any particular solution, we help to answer the following question: How do we build a portfolio of complementary decarbonization technologies and services across various offerings and suppliers to get to Net-Zero?”

Potential customers include companies of all sizes as Europe’s Green Deal, a set of proposals that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and minimize the use of resources while achieving economic growth, will require companies to meet higher environmental and sustainability standards. There is no fee for buyers or sellers to join the platform.

Just like in a marketplace buyers and vendors can find each other in one place, says Kolomanska, Qurator’s Chief Decarbonization Officer. “We want to help decarbonization buyers to accelerate their solution scouting and shortlisting process by enabling transparent comparison of vendors’ offerings, this is why we describe Qurator as a discovery and customer-review platform,” she says. However,Qurator will not participate in transactions between buyers and sellers, neither will trade  carbon credits, for example.

The Swedish startup says it is solving problems for both buyers and sellers. “It’s really hard for buyers to figure out which solutions are right for them and what are the latest developments on the decarbonization market,” says Kolomanska, who for three years worked as the World Economic Forum’s Lead, Low Carbon Emitting Technologies. “It takes a ton of time and money to research all the options. Meanwhile, climate tech vendors are struggling too. Even if they have great products, buyers don’t know enough about them to feel confident partnering and/or purchasing. They are unable to build trust and credibility, also due to lack of proof points from existing customers that underline the value vendors offer, their capacity to deliver at scale, team skills and project implementation capabilities.”

“Most of the decarbonization projects require complex project implementation involving several parties,” says Kolomanska. “Projects might take months or years to implement and track results. For that reason, we plan to have high-quality reviews that cover the technology, team, project management – essentially anything that showcases the value of the decarbonization vendor’s solution.”

The Swedish startup is hosting decarbonization solutions across all categories: hardware, software, and services.

So far, it lists 1000 selected vendors on the platform, in more than 200 categories, with plans to grow that number to tens of thousands. “By leveraging the latest in machine learning and generative AI ,we can scale  in a relatively short period of time,” says Citu.

Decarbonization vendors selling on Qurator’s platform can be any company of any size (start-up, scale up or corporate) whose solutions either directly contribute to reducing carbon emissions or energy consumption, or indirectly help companies lower their footprint such as  ESG intelligence  or carbon accounting platforms.

While it is free for vendors to join the platform, Qurator makes its revenue from a range of paid upgrade packages that promise to help boost sales conversion rates by, for example, offering vendors deeper understanding of their profile page visitors, see who has shown interest in their competitors and to discover perspective clients visiting their category’s page.

Qurator has secured pre-seed funding from business angels, a major EU energy tech investment fund and a grant from Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency.

Its competitors include companies that sell catalogs of vendors in particular niches or websites with lists of companies. “Unlike competitors that charge up front to access their databases, anyone can use our marketplace to discover decarbonization solutions, free of charge,” says Citu. “The main difference to any other marketplace/aggregator is that Qurator platform will be 100% geared towards promoting decarbonization and in the future other sustainability solution categories to the buyers of such technologies,” he says.

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About the author

Jennifer L. Schenker

Jennifer L. Schenker, an award-winning journalist, has been covering the global tech industry from Europe since 1985, working full-time, at various points in her career for the Wall Street Journal Europe, Time Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Red Herring and BusinessWeek. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Innovator, an English-language global publication about the digital transformation of business. Jennifer was voted one of the 50 most inspiring women in technology in Europe in 2015 and 2016 and was named by Forbes Magazine in 2018 as one of the 30 women leaders disrupting tech in France. She has been a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneers judge for 20 years. She lives in Paris and has dual U.S. and French citizenship.