Verna, a startup working at the intersection of nature and climate tech has just secured a new equity investment to take its total funding to over €2.5 million. The UK-based company encourages carbon and biodiversity to be seen holistically, looking at the linkages to make better decisions for our planet.
As consciousness around the climate crisis rises across the globe, there’s another connected issue that we need to keep in mind – biodiversity. Referring to the different kinds of life you find in one area (including plants, animals, microorganisms and so on, biodiversity centres on how different species work together in an ecosystem and the implications this has in maintaining, balancing and supporting life. As our planet struggles to cope with modern life, biodiversity is at risk and the impact can have far-reaching consequences.
Innovators and scientists are now bringing ‘nature tech’ into the spotlight, regarding it as a way to solve the climate and biodiversity crises that takes into account the linkages between carbon, biodiversity and wider environmental issues. Nature tech essentially approaches these issues as interconnected rather than approaching them in isolation, and it’s a growing space.
Today, UK-based Verna has secured new funding for its nature/climate tech venture. We take a look.
Verna’s co-founder, Dr Matthew Brown, said: “Around the world, people are waking up to the fact that the biodiversity crisis matters as much as the climate crisis and that the two are linked – you can’t solve one without solving the other. Nature-tech is increasingly in the spotlight because solving climate and biodiversity together is a complex science and data challenge. Biodiversity can’t be reduced to a single number like carbon, and making the best choices means taking account of the linkages between carbon and biodiversity impacts – and often other environmental issues as well.”
- About €999k (£860k) raised in new investment from Vanneck EIS and Octopus Ventures
- This follows on from a €1.6 million (£1.4 million) UK Government Innovation contract
- This brings total funding to over €2.5 million for the startup
Dr Matthew Brown: “Making the best decisions about how to use land is vital to addressing the climate and biodiversity crises, but is an increasingly complex challenge. With backing from Vanneck EIS and Octopus Ventures, our new tools will help landowners, investors, and public bodies combine data across science, economics, and regulation to see the potential of land and choose the right way forward.”
Encouraging sustainable land management
Founded in London, Verna is on a mission to use geospatial data science to address the escalating climate and nature crises. The statute helps landowners, investors and policymakers to use land in a way that reduces carbon, enhances biodiversity and generates sustainable returns – for example, via woodland creation, habitat creation, and regenerative agriculture.
The company does so by using its ForestFounder software system which finds and assesses sites for tree planting. The soliton has gathered a range of large customers including National Highways, the Environment Agency, and Forestry England.
Dr Matthew Brown: “Verna is focused on helping people who make decisions about land to find a path through this complexity, so that our customers can be confident they’re taking actions that will pay off – for them and for nature and the climate.”
This new investment will be used to widen Verna’s tools beyond tree planting, identifying the best carbon and biodiversity options for land across a range of interventions – such as peatland restoration and grassland enhancement.
Vanneck EIS said: “Verna is some incredibly smart folk applying digital innovation to a critical global question; how best to use and make returns from land? They are already coming up with compelling answers, and we expect Verna to be driving forward the market and public policy in this crucial area for many years to come.”
Kirsten Connell, Principal at Octopus Ventures, said: “We’re so excited to add Verna to the Octopus Ventures community, as it has the potential to make a real difference for nature and the climate at scale. The Verna team have years’ worth of both public and private experience, deep knowledge of their sector and the network to deliver their vision.”