Single.Earth secures USD7.9m in seed funding round led by EQT Ventures

Single.Earth – a tokenisation platform that enables forests, wetlands, and other planetary resources to generate profit for landowners by selling them as carbon and biodiversity credits, instead of raw materials – has secured USD7.9 million in seed funding. 

The round was led by EQT Ventures, with participation from existing investor Icebreaker and Ragnar Sass and Martin Henk, founders of Pipedrive. The funding will be used to launch its marketplace for nature-backed MERIT tokens and for hiring talent.
 
The climate crisis is the biggest existential risk that humanity has faced in the last 200,000 years – but countries are still struggling to meet climate and diversity goals. None of the 2020 Aichi biodiversity goals were achieved; meanwhile, mass extinctions are rife as habitats are destroyed. Single.Earth helps solve this by building a digital twin of nature that reveals how much any area of ecological significance in the world absorbs CO2 and retains biodiversity. Using satellite imagery, big data analysis, and machine-learning to build global carbon models, Single.Earth tokenises the planet’s resources including forests and swamps, partnering with nature directly to unlock ecological value without destruction.
 
Registration for the interest in pre-sales of Single.Earth’s MERIT tokens has now officially started. Companies and investors can register their interest for the pre-sales at www.single.earth to be among the first to get access to the MERIT tokens in Autumn 2021. The platform has also opened for landowners and the research community.
 
The tokens generate profits through carbon compensations, emitting a new MERIT token for every 100 kg of CO2 sequestered in a specific forest or biodiverse area. The tokens can be used to trade as an investment instrument, compensate for CO2 footprint, or contribute to climate goals (as the token is ‘used up’ and cannot be traded anymore). Companies, organisations, and eventually individuals can purchase these tokens and own fractional amounts of those lands and natural resources, rewarded with carbon and biodiversity offsets.
 
As the market for carbon credits is estimated to be worth more than USD50 billion by 2030, this appeals to investors who want to make a tangible difference protected by a less volatile token. In turn, landowners are rewarded for preserving the ecosystems that keep people alive; in short, paid to do nothing. Through this approach, Single.Earth provides real assets in the physical world with commercial value while preserving nature. Benefits include transparency and trust, thanks to the traceability of blockchain – everything is published as open-source – and scalability. This is because the tradability of tokenisation enables immediate payment to landowners while carbon markets grow and mature.
 
Single.Earth was co-founded in 2019 by CEO Merit Valdsalu and CTO Andrus Aaslaid after winning the Garage48 Future of Wood hackathon for proving that nature can be commercialised without being sold as raw material. Experienced in building scalable technology for Pipedrive and e-Estonia, the Single.Earth team are driven by their goal to switch from today’s economy that incentivises nature destruction, through business models that reward the extraction of raw materials, to a new economy that supports the preservation of nature.
 
Merit Valdsalu, CEO and co-founder of Single.Earth, says: “We are delighted to play a leading role in making nature the investment of the future. Nature conservation is scalable, accessible, and makes sense financially; what’s more, it’s vital to engineer a systematic change. We were drawn to EQT Ventures as the team shares the same values, with sustainability at their core. Following today’s milestone, we are excited to collaborate on future-proofing the world, integrating nature’s protection into the economy by connecting our global society -- landowners, communities, public and private sectors -- to protect the ecosystem around us.”
 
Andrus Aaslaid, CTO and founder of Single.Earth, adds: “Following this milestone, we are thrilled to introduce the MERIT token to the world, a unique way of protecting our planet commercially by mining tradable tokens from intact nature – creating the world’s first financial system backed by nature. The most advanced technology solutions – blockchain, tokenization, AI, satellite data, and more – have longed for real and impactful use cases like this for some time now. Riding the wave of crypto, surpassing a record USD2 trillion market cap in 2021, we couldn’t be prouder to be leading the way in this bold new approach.”
 
Sandra Malmberg, Venture Lead at EQT Ventures, adds: “Oil was the new gold, data the new oil; now, nature is now the most precious and valuable resource of all. A company having a hectare of forest saved as a key metric to scale is a company we are thrilled to back. Disrupting the economy and financial markets with a new tradable and liquid asset class that has a positive impact on the environment is an irresistible investment. At EQT Ventures, we are beyond excited to support Single.Earth’s stellar team in their radical ambition to save our planet.”