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A tool for assessing the potential climate impact of startup ventures



ImpactAlpha, June 12 – Measuring the current impact of new technology is hard. Measuring future impact is even harder. Investors looking for climate solutions are keen to know which companies hold the most promise.

Cambridge-based PRIME Coalition, which mobilizes philanthropic and commercial capital for early stage climate solutions, last year developed a method for assessing early-stage ventures’ potential to reduce future carbon emissions. Now PRIME is open-sourcing its “Emissions Reduction Potential” and making it available to any early stage investor or venture.

  • Streamlined and standardized. The software, known as CRANE, for “Carbon Reduction Assessment of New Enterprises,” will reduce cost, labor and time for calculating climate impact. Standardized, comparable results will be useful in both due diligence and ongoing management of climate-related investments, says PRIME’s Sarah Kearney.
  • Track record. PRIME has syndicated investments for 13 early-stage climate ventures, each with the potential to eliminate more than a gigaton of CO2 emissions by 2050. PRIME has mobilized about $60 million from 95 philanthropies, including 42 first-time philanthropic investors and 30 first-time climate investors. One of its earliest investees, Quidnet, attracted the first investment from the billionaire-backed Breakthrough Energy Ventures.
  • CRANE for X. Metric sets like IRIS+ identify metrics for past and current impact. Kearney says CRANE fills a gap for tools to make data-driven, future-looking estimates. The software could be replicated for any vertical with forward- looking impact, like clean water or sustainable agriculture.

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