Cologne, May 22, 2023 The Cologne-based software startup Sunhat has secured two million euro in seed funding to automate the processing of sustainability questionnaires and ESG ratings for leading suppliers. The financing round is led by early-stage investors Capnamic Ventures and xdeck from Cologne, as well as industry expert WEPA Ventures. In addition, various business angels from the tech, compliance, and sustainability sectors believe in the software solution for enterprise customers.
A rapidly growing market
Due to new regulations such as the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), sustainability in the supply chain is becoming increasingly intricate. The changing market situation offers growth opportunities for providers specializing in assessing and rating sustainability in the supply chain. Consequently, sustainability professionals within the supplier industry are confronted with an array of questionnaires and certifications concerning sustainability criteria from various providers. Customers and partners demand well-founded evidence and detailed statements on sustainable developments, such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the management of internal sustainability targets. Failing to provide this evidence can lead to substantial financial losses, including the loss of customer relationships and possible future fines worth millions.
"Instead of driving change in the organization and anchoring sustainability in relevant processes, sustainability teams today spend much of their time on the administrative workload associated with external questionnaires and requirements. Our mission is to give them back some of this time and enable them to make their work more productive and impactful," says Lukas Vogt, Co-Founder and CEO at Sunhat.
Sunhat increases the productivity of sustainability teams
Sunhat automates the entire process from mapping questionnaires to collecting and verifying evidence for responses. The specially developed "Similarity Score" compares existing answers with incoming sustainability requests, allowing the software to quickly meet new requirements from customers and other stakeholders. Via API, the resulting database can be connected to various third-party portals for verifying sustainability criteria.
Taking into account fundamental sustainability standards and the requirements of rating systems, Sunhat creates the basis for a central management of compliant evidence for suppliers. Since its successful launch last year, the startup has managed to convince several well-known enterprises of its software solution, including the hygiene paper manufacturer WEPA.
Dr. Stefan Gräter, Director Group Sustainability at WEPA, says, “Collaborating with Sunhat enables us to optimally manage our internal processes and ensure the reportability and verifiability of our sustainability data. This forms the basis for facilitating the fulfillment of future reporting requirements and making the progress of our sustainability strategy transparently presentable."
Jörg Binnenbrücker, Founding Partner of Capnamic Ventures, adds: "We see software in many enterprises as a solution to become more efficient, as expertise and budgets are insufficient to keep up with new requirements."
B2B companies, including suppliers, raw material traders, and consumer goods manufacturers, who encounter numerous sustainability requirements, can greatly benefit from Sunhat's software solution. The seed funding will be allocated towards advancing the technology and expanding the product offering for enterprise customers. Besides ensuring compatibility with all traditional systems, Sunhat also strives to establish industry-specific integrations.
Sunhat is a software startup that streamlines the processing of sustainability requests from B2B customers and partners. By reducing the operational workload required for processes such as preparing responses, reviewing evidence, and collecting data, the software empowers corporate sustainability teams to save valuable time and resources, and focus on their essential responsibilities. Founded by Lukas Vogt (CEO), Alexander Behr (COO) and Ali Kamalizade (CTO), the company is headquartered in Cologne, Germany.
More information on Sunhat at: www.getsunhat.com
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About Capnamic Ventures
Capnamic is a leading European early-stage Venture Capital firm, with offices in Cologne, Berlin and Munich. The VC invests in outstanding teams from the German-speaking regions from Pre-Seed up to Series A. Capnamic’s investments include companies such as LeanIX, Staffbase, Adjust (exit to Applovin) parcelLab or Capmo, amongst others. All portfolio companies can rely on Capnamic’s unique network of global investors and industry partners as well as hands-on support, mentoring and knowledge exchange. The vast expertise of the Capnamic team includes more than 100 investments, a high turnover of successful trade sales and IPOs, as well as a strong entrepreneurial track record within the investment team. The managing partners are Christian Siegele, Christian Knott, Jörg Binnenbrücker and Olaf Jacobi.
For more details: www.capnamic.com
About WEPA and WEPA Ventures
The WEPA Group is a future-oriented European family business specialising in the production and distribution of sustainable hygiene paper. WEPA offers sustainable and innovative hygiene solutions that provide a safe feeling of hygiene and contribute daily to the well-being of millions of people. With 4,000 employees, the WEPA Group manufactures hygiene products such as toilet paper, paper towels, tissues and napkins at 13 European sites. WEPA is among the three largest European manufacturers and leading the market in the production of hygiene paper from recycled fibre. Its annual turnover is roughly 1.3 billion euros. In the Consumer business area, WEPA is a private-label specialist for European retailers. The Professional business unit with the brands BlackSatino and Satino by WEPA stands for sustainable and professional hygiene solutions which are used, for instance, in public washrooms, the industry, offices or health care facilities. The WEPA Group has its registered office in Arnsberg, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany. Through WEPA Ventures as a Family Venture Capital firm, the WEPA Group invests in early-stage start-ups that are driving innovation in areas such as circular economy, sustainability software or renewable energy and water technologies.
About xdeck ventures
xdeck ventures is an early-stage venture capital investor focusing on tech companies with superior solutions in process automation, applied big data / AI, and sustainability tech. xdeck ventures invests in inspiring teams with deep domain expertise and a distinctive understanding of the problem they are trying to solve. Moreover, they are looking for differentiated products or services that solve a real pain point for customers and teams who are building something significant with the spirit to walk the extra mile. As investor on eye level, xdeck ventures empower founders to constantly challenge their status quo by being their biggest critic and close sparring partner at the same time.