For Atlanta-based Ubuntoo, the increased focus on sustainability from consumers and companies alike has helped its marketplace grow over the past few years.
As Chief Marketing Officer Yuri Pereira explains, “sustainability and profitability used to not necessarily be aligned…but not anymore. That’s bringing a surge in terms of interest we’ve seen [for Ubuntoo].”
By building an AI-focused collaboration platform for those looking to accelerate sustainability goals, Pereira says Ubuntoo can be likened to a “matchmaking service of solutions and companies looking to innovate and reduce their environmental footprint.”
That service helped the team land a $3.3 million seed round, led by the Belgian-Dutch Volta Ventures.
The funds will help Ubuntoo open its European offices in Amsterdam, according to a company press release.
The physical expansion is not the only sign of growth for the sustainability-focused startup. The team just hired its first CTO, Jason Merkoski, to further develop the platform and expand its offerings.
Merkoski brings a strong background in the product space both in the startup and corporate environment.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Ubuntoo team,” he adds. “After 25 years of building technology-enabled marketplaces at companies like Motorola, Intel, and Amazon, it’s incredibly exciting for me to lead technology for a company that’s committed to making a global impact on environmental sustainability. Ubuntoo is a bold idea whose time has come. I look forward to harnessing the power of AI, and building a best-in-class technology platform at scale to enable powerful change in the environmental sustainability space.”
The platform has grown to include a community of over 18,000 innovators, academicians, and experts at corporations and research institutions.
One important way the platform is growing community is through its Greenhouses, or private collaboration spaces designed to address a specific environmental challenge.
Greenhouses allow companies of any size to ask specific questions and brainstorm potential eco-friendly projects, be it launching a digital recycling program or learning more about sustainable packaging options. The team says there are over 3,500 sustainable solutions currently being worked on by community members.
Frank Maene, Managing Partner at Volta Ventures added in a statement: “We are quite impressed with what Peter and Venkatesh have built and this is our second investment in the environmental space. We like how they bring the different stakeholders together. Both founders have a corporate background and are very experienced in working with corporations that seek environmental solutions. It is a nice coincidence that we, as a fund that was started in Gent, Belgium, will be working with Peter who was born and raised in Gent and who will be returning to his roots.”