Nectar - Making environmental data auditable and easier to collect

Unlocking Efficiency and Accuracy in Corporate Sustainability: Nectar's Innovative Approach

In today's world, where climate change concerns have taken center stage, companies are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability. One of the critical aspects of this commitment involves collecting and reporting carbon emissions data accurately and efficiently. Meet Nectar, a startup founded in 2022 by two MIT alumni, Allen Wang and Katherine He, that aims to revolutionize the way large companies collect and manage their carbon emissions data. In this article, we'll dive deep into Nectar's journey, their innovative solution, and the impact they are making in the world of corporate sustainability.

Who Are the Minds Behind Nectar?

Allen Wang: A Wizard of Magic Moments

Allen Wang's journey in the tech world began with his studies in Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Mathematics at MIT. Prior to co-founding Nectar, he honed his skills at Scale AI, where he scraped data from the vast expanse of the internet. Before that, he contributed to the tech giant Google. Allen's superpower lies in making magic moments happen, and this trait has played a pivotal role in Nectar's success.

Katherine He: A Record-Breaking Poet Turned Sustainability Advocate

Katherine He, another MIT graduate, holds degrees in Computer Science and Business Management. Her prior experience includes working at Two Sigma, where she played a crucial role in building financial pipelines responsible for moving millions of dollars daily. Notably, Katherine also holds a US record in poetry memorization, showcasing her diverse talents and interests.

The story of how Allen and Katherine came together is one steeped in innovation and a shared passion for making a difference. They first crossed paths at MIT while organizing HackMIT, the nation's largest hackathon, and Blueprint, a high school coding bootcamp. Driven by a common frustration with the lack of social impact in big tech, they made a bold decision in 2022. They dropped their summer internships to dive headfirst into the world of climate tech.

Allen's experience in building web scrapers for Scale AI and his work on AI-based SQL translation at Google, combined with Katherine's expertise in financial workflows at Two Sigma and venture capital work at Romulus Capital, set the stage for their venture into corporate sustainability. Their journey began with an attempt to convince airport travelers to go vegan, but eventually, they found their calling in corporate sustainability, leading to the birth of Nectar.

What Is Nectar's Mission?

Nectar - Bridging the Gap in Environmental Data Management

Nectar's mission is crystal clear: they aim to make environmental data auditable and easier to collect. The startup recognizes the urgent need for large companies to collect carbon emissions data for mandatory disclosures. With over 50,000 large companies currently required to collect utility data for upcoming regulations in the US and EU, the process has been far from efficient.

As of now, sustainability teams manually parse and manage this data, an undertaking that consumes a staggering 100 million work hours annually. This arduous process not only necessitates expensive audits but also leads to inaccurate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) scores 10% of the time. Nectar's game-changing approach involves the automatic extraction, structuring, and input of this data into existing ESG software.

Remarkably, within just one month of launching in Y Combinator (YC), Nectar had already secured contracts with two Fortune 500 companies, underscoring the pressing need for their innovative solution.

The Problem at Hand: Manual Data Collection and Its Consequences

To truly appreciate the value Nectar brings to the table, it's crucial to understand the challenges faced by sustainability teams in the current landscape. These teams are tasked with the monumental responsibility of collecting and transferring data manually, a process that spans three months of each annual reporting cycle. This labor-intensive workflow includes the following steps:

  1. Sustainability teams reach out to facility managers to request the month's data.
  2. Facility managers download invoices from online portals, manually perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR), and then send the data to the sustainability team in spreadsheet format.
  3. The sustainability team, in turn, reformats the Excel data and inputs it into an ESG platform.
  4. During quality assurance checks, steps 1 to 3 are repeated to rectify errors in the data.

This convoluted process involves dozens of Excel spreadsheets, blurry PDFs of bills, and hastily copy-and-pasted emails. It's not just a cumbersome workflow; it's a process that contributes to environmental harm by wasting valuable time and resources, all while releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere.

Companies grappling with this manual process face a multitude of challenges. It squanders thousands of hours of sustainability teams' time, errors lead to costly penalties, and the lack of visibility necessitates time-consuming and expensive audits.

How Does Nectar Solve the Problem?

Nectar's Innovative Solution: Streamlining Data Collection

Nectar's innovative solution hinges on connecting data sources directly to the ESG platform. Their software simplifies the entire process, making it as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Customers connect their utility accounts with Nectar.
  2. They describe where they want the data.
  3. Nectar takes care of the rest, automatically handling the data extraction and transfer every month.

This revolutionary tool drastically reduces a process that currently consumes thousands of hours each year to just 10 minutes of setup. Furthermore, it provides an end-to-end data trail that is invaluable for audits, completely eliminating accuracy concerns.

How Does Nectar's Technology Work?

Seamless Integrations: The Credentials-Based Approach

Nectar's integrations are akin to Plaid, the popular financial services company, in that they are credentials-based. The platform connects directly to users' online accounts, extracting data straight from webpages. This approach eliminates the friction associated with establishing formal relationships with utility providers and ESG platforms, a process that typically takes months. Instead, Nectar's solution achieves integration in just one week.

This credentials-based integration streamlines the entire process, making it accessible and efficient for companies of all sizes. It's a solution that not only reduces the burden on sustainability teams but also accelerates the transition towards more sustainable business practices.

The Road Ahead: Nectar's Role in a Greener Future

With the imminent rollout of new rules, such as the SEC proposal in the US and the CSRD in the EU, over 57,000 companies in the US and EU will soon be required to disclose their carbon emissions and conduct independent audits of their Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Sustainability teams across the board are facing this impending challenge, and Nectar is uniquely positioned to be their ally in this endeavor.

Nectar's journey, from its inception in 2022 to its rapid growth and impact today, serves as a beacon of hope for a more sustainable future. By eliminating the manual, error-prone, and time-consuming processes associated with data collection, Nectar is helping companies of all sizes reduce their carbon footprint while simultaneously improving their operational efficiency.

In conclusion, Nectar's founders, Allen Wang and Katherine He, have embarked on a mission to transform corporate sustainability by making environmental data collection auditable and effortless. Their innovative solution is poised to revolutionize the way large companies manage their carbon emissions data, contributing significantly to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious business landscape. As we look ahead to a future where climate change mitigation is paramount, Nectar's role in simplifying and enhancing the accuracy of environmental data collection cannot be overstated. This startup is not only making magic moments happen; it's making a greener future possible.