The Upright Project, a Finland-based startup, is on a mission to guide our decisions about impact. The DeepTech startup has recently raised €5 million to further build its open-access database, which adds greater objectivity and comparability to impact assessments.
The €5 million raised in a new funding round was led by Greentech VC Planet A Ventures alongside First Fellow Partners. Angel investor Risto Siilasmaa also participated in the round. The capital will be used to expand Upright’s open-access database to include all companies globally with more than 10 employees.
The Upright Project, a Finnish company, seeks to go even further by calculating the net effects of businesses and investments on society, the environment, and people’s health. In response to the growing demand for impact reporting, it has raised further funds.
Annu Nieminen, founder, and CEO of Upright said: “Common sense and knowledge of what it is and is not are desperately needed in the global ESG and impact dialogue. The biggest effects of a company’s core business are currently hidden beneath mountains of information on methods of working and reporting. In Twitter fights, facts are substituted by views, and apples and oranges are contrasted. We require a framework for transparent, comparative, and open-access impact data.
We require a new impact course since 42% of businesses exaggerate their sustainability claims, according to Planet A co-founder and partner Nick de la Forge. A significant improvement in corporate behavior and its influence on the environment will result from giving influential stakeholders—from boards and investors to talent and customers—the knowledge and tools they need to comprehend the whole impact of businesses and make wise choices. The technology developed by Upright will be essential to the company’s operations.
Upright, a company founded in 2017, has a purpose-driven ambition to develop a novel kind of quantification approach to assessing the net impact of businesses. Its platform seeks to make it easier for customers, employees, organizations, and investors to make fact-based decisions. By evaluating the sum of a company’s good and negative effects on the environment, health, society, and knowledge, it is hoped to usher in a new era of analytical rigor and comparability in the way impact evaluations of businesses are conducted.
The disclosures and sustainability goals of corporations are the first to be contextualized by Upright’s AI-based impact data engine using estimates of EU taxonomy alignment, UN Sustainable Development Goals, and Upright’s unique net effect quantifications. The largest open-access scientific database in the world (including more than 200 million scholarly publications), company disclosures, market research reports, Eurostat, OECD, and other sources were used to compile the data.
Even though many organizations offer ESG reporting or carbon accounting, Upright is possibly the first to compare businesses across industries based on both their financial performance and their net impact. The model’s methodology considerably increases the depth of the majority of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) assessments, which are currently skewed by firms’ self-reporting and purchasing power and include measures like ESG, SFDR, and others.
It can therefore be applied to a variety of application scenarios. The startup will offer fact-based insights that can help in making decisions for everyone involved in the choice, from the asset manager selecting how much to invest in PepsiCo to the student considering whether to accept a job offer from Nestle to the consumer choosing between oat milk brands.
Former Nokia and F-Secure Chair Risto Siilasmaa: “Upright’s mission is clear in their name: improve the integrity and credibility of impact assessments. By removing the blind spots from our present assessment of effect and democratizing it, they are resolving one of the most difficult problems that firms confront. I didn’t need to second guess my decision to invest when they asked me to.
Since businesses are the primary source of emissions, Upright’s new impact model will have wide-ranging effects. Their first product release from earlier this year already included publicly accessible data for the 500 top firms worldwide.
Customers and partners already include significant PE/VC investors like Permira and EQT, well-known asset managers like Invesco and Nordea, and the financial services company Nasdaq.
Image Credit: Upright Project