Oxford, United Kingdom – EcoBalance® (EcoBalance.io), a pioneering, integrated app for measuring natural capital and ecosystem services using only remote data, has closed its first investment round to bring its groundbreaking technology to market. The Downforce Trust, which funded the R&D phase of EcoBalance® , has invested alongside Perivoli Innovations and private investors.
EcoBalance®’s carbon sequestration, water quality, and soil health analytics integrate remote sensing data with a deep scientific understanding of the agro-ecosystem and farming practices. EcoBalance® will enable banks, asset managers, and corporates to develop products and funds that require low-cost, reliable, and impartial measurement of natural capital on agricultural land. Policy-makers and researchers will also have access to a new wealth of information on natural capital.
Chief Executive, Ida Kubiszewski, Professor at The Australian National University said, “Through the use of remote data only, we are enabling on-the-ground, nature-based solutions to restore carbon balance and the world’s climate. By measuring and tracking critical parameters globally, we can help channel investment and policy decisions into one of our most valuable natural assets: soil”
Jacquie McGlade, Chief Scientific Officer, previously Chief Scientist for the UNEP and Director of the European Environment Agency, said, “In response to the growing interest in managing natural capital we can now provide credible, up-to-date scientific evidence and reliable analytics on the short and long-term health of land under different uses.”
The E coBalance® founding team also comprises Maria Whittaker, Chief Development Officer, who brings extensive expertise in building data businesses and James Nurse, Chief Technology Officer, who contributes knowledge and experience in successful technologies , including in agtech.
Adam Parr, Chair of The Downforce Trust, and former chairman and chief executive of the Williams Formula One team, said “We have taken an F1 approach to climate change: identifying that the most urgent need is to draw carbon out of the atmosphere so that we can buy time to reduce emissions.
Regenerative agriculture is the solution, because it is modular, scalable, the technology is available today, transformation is immediate, there is minimal upfront cost and there are economic benefits for farmers. The missing piece was data: how to measure performance so as to unleash the vast pool of capital looking for ways to address climate change and loss of biodiversity. EcoBalance® is the solution and we are delighted to have brought together such an outstanding founding team to take it forward.”
EcoBalance® provides soil health, water, nutrient provision and carbon assessments. Its groundbreaking approach uses only remote data from satellites and other sources, making EcoBalance® highly cost-effective, objective and scalable (without the need for soil samples) and its insights comparable across countries and regions around the world.
EcoBalance® works with land stewards (such as farmers), financial institutions, corporations, and local and national policy makers to support them in their transition to sustainable land investment and management.
- Land stewards can better understand their land and how to manage in a way that maximizes both commercial products and sustainability.
- Financial institutions such as banks, investment managers, and Insurance companies, can evaluate investments and financial products and mitigate their climate change risks, while tracking progress on agreed to sustainability goals in their portfolios.
- Global corporations can work with suppliers to enhance resilience to natural disasters and ensure sustainable targets and practices, while providing transparency to their consumers and investors.
- Governments and multilateral agencies can set targets and incentives, inform international negotiations, fund climate change mitigation schemes, and encourage optimal land use around the world.
The E coBalance® technology was built by a world leading team of academics with expertise in soil, water, environment, ecosystem services, natural capital, and big data.
They have developed a system dynamics model which integrates remote sensing data with an understanding of the agro-ecosystem and on-farm practices to provide estimates of the health and resilience of the land.
EcoBalance® is a global enterprise with current presence in the UK, Australia, and Kenya.
Ida Kubiszewski, Co-founder and CEO. Ida is Associate Professor at The Australian National University. Ida holds a B.A. in Astronomy and Physics and an M.A. in Energy and Environmental Analysis and a Ph.D. in Ecological Economics. Ida’s background in astronomy, physics, and ecological economics together with her work as a climate change negotiator and with farmers and the banking sector have given her a unique insight into the opportunity and need for EcoBalance®.
Jacquie McGlade, Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer. Jacquie is a highly respected and experienced scientist and technologist. Jacquie was Chief Scientist of the UN Environmental Programme and Executive Director of the European Environment Agency. Jacquie has been a pioneer in the use of satellite technology for measuring and understanding the environment. Jacquie is also a hands-on technologist.
Maria Whittaker, Co-founder and Chief Development Officer. Maria brings extensive experience building data businesses particularly in the financial sector. She was the Director of Strategy at DataExplorers (successfully exited to Markit), Global Head of Machine Readable News and Head of Ratings amongst other roles at Thomson Reuters (now Refinitiv). Maria began her career in Investment Banking at JP Morgan and Salomon Brothers, has an MBA from INSEAD and a family background in farming in Argentina.
James Nurse, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer: J ames brings commercial experience of building and launching successful software products. He was most recently team lead at Agspace, bringing agricultural solutions to market. He is an experienced Senior Full Stack Developer and Software engineer with experience in start-ups such as WorkGaps and multinationals like Microfocus. James’ passion is developing his team and well architected products to solve the trickiest and most important problems.
DownForce Technologies Board
Chair of the Board. Mary Catherine DiNunzio is a Chemistry graduate, a qualified lawyer in New York and England, and a US patent attorney. She is a Trustee of the Downforce and general counsel for several companies, including AI spin-outs from the University of Oxford.
Director. Charles Brecque was one of the first employees of Mind Foundry, an Oxford University spin out specialising in automated data science and AI. As an engineering graduate of the École Centrale de Lyon, one of France’s leading schools, Charles both mastered Mind Foundry’s technology and built up its commercial presence. In April 2020, Charles struck out on his own and founded Legislate, a legal tech start-up. Charles has been on the technical and main steering groups of EcoBalance® from day one. Charles is also a Trustee of The Downforce Trust.
Board Member. James Alexandroffstudied law at the University of Bristol, qualified as a solicitor in London with Clifford Chance before becoming a fund manager in Edinburgh and then Hong Kong. He co-founded Arisaig Partners, an emerging markets focused investment management firm headquartered in Singapore, gifting his ownership to the Perivoli Trust. He now advises the Trustees of Perivoli Innovations, which invests in early stage businesses which aim to have a positive social impact, and is a Trustee of the Perivoli Foundation which supports in particular a nursery school teacher training programme in Sub-Saharan Africa, where he serves as Programme Director, and the Perivoli Africa Research Centre at the University of Bristol.