DNA-based biodiversity monitoring company NatureMetrics announces $15M in new funding to bring nature data to the boardroom

Published: 26th May 2022

DNA-based biodiversity monitoring company NatureMetrics today announced that it has raised $15m in new funding. The investment is led by urban sustainability-focused VC fund 2150 with participation from Ananda Impact Ventures, SWEN Capital Partners’ Blue Ocean and BNP Paribas Solar Impulse Venture Fund, and follow-on from Systemiq Capital.

  • Nature data requirements expected to surge as it becomes the ‘next carbon’ for data disclosure

  • New investors include urban climate tech investor 2150 who leads the round, Ananda Impact Ventures, SWEN Capital Partners’ Blue Ocean fund and the newly-launched BNP Paribas Solar Impulse Venture Fund

  • NatureMetrics new digital SaaS platform will include products to support quantification of net gains on biodiversity and marine health monitoring 

  • Total funding sits at $26m to date 

The UK founded company, which has sold its DNA-based biodiversity monitoring products in more than 80 countries, plans to use the funding to build a series of new digital products to enable its customers to set and monitor long-term targets on nature whilst accelerating its expansion into international markets. NatureMetrics already runs two eDNA labs in the UK and Canada, which have delivered comprehensive data from soil, freshwater and marine samples on species from bacteria to blue whales. To date, NatureMetrics has served more than 450 clients across the renewable energy, infrastructure, marine water and banking sectors.

The new investment will enable the NatureMetrics team to combine ecological statistics, machine learning and data visualisation to give unparalleled decision-making power to clients in a wide range of sectors critical to a nature-positive economy. The company and its investors are responding to an anticipated surge in nature data requirements from ESG-conscious investors and regulators as nature becomes the ‘next carbon’ for data disclosure. As a result, industries as wide ranging as infrastructure, energy, marine, conservation and construction will increasingly be affected by requirements to manage biodiversity related risks and impacts at an asset level.

NatureMetrics’ first long term data product in development is called iNPI (Intelligent Net Positive Impact) – a long-term managed service for site-based clients wanting to demonstrate a quantifiable net gain in biodiversity. The product combines eDNA with geospatial data to deliver landscape level maps of biodiversity value and pioneer client Anglo American has agreed to pilot the product at a number of its key operations globally. Other products in development include a marine health monitoring dashboard and a restoration tracker enabling long-term monitoring of ecosystem improvements suitable for remediation and also with potential for the growing nature-based solutions sector.

The incoming investors bring attractive new expertise to the table for the company in a range of the high-impact sectors that NatureMetrics serves. Lead investor 2150 is on a mission to deliver sustainable technologies to the ‘Urban Stack’ targeting sectors in the built environment such as infrastructure, buildings and energy.

The World Bank has estimated that an additional 300 million houses will be needed globally by 2030 to account for anticipated urban demand. The challenge is to meet this demand in a Net Zero Carbon and Nature Positive economy. DNA-based nature monitoring will enable such challenges to be met at scale by both quantifying impact and guiding better decisions to minimize, reduce and compensate for such impacts.

Ananda, a Munich and London based pioneer impact investor, has expertise in SaaS based tech and will be instrumental in supporting NatureMetrics’ digital product development. SWEN Capital Partners’ Blue Ocean fund will support NatureMetrics in democratizing biodiversity measurement and building standards whilst BNP Paribas Solar Impulse Venture Fund will help NatureMetrics to move beyond site-based biodiversity data provision to serve the growing ESG data market at the portfolio level, combining eDNA data and other biodiversity data layers. Systemiq Capital will continue to support NatureMetrics to build its profile with leading stakeholders in nature, and navigate the synergies between carbon markets and the emerging demand for biodiversity outcomes.

Katie Critchlow, CEO of NatureMetrics said: “For too long society has been failing nature because we haven’t had the tools to set and monitor targets. We want to make biodiversity data simple and easy to understand for decision makers.”

She added: “Our labs and our data engine are making sure biodiversity data is delivered at scale and across the whole tree of life, not just what we can see with our eyes. Our new Nature Intelligence team led by our co-founder Professor Doug Yu will take that complex ‘big data’ on nature and enable good decision making by transforming long lists of species into simple metrics which can be discussed in a boardroom and used to drive better investment, buying and impact mitigation decisions.”

Margarita Skarkou, Investor at 2150 said: “To truly solve the climate crisis we need a data driven approach to understanding how we as human beings are causing the sixth extinction. Biodiversity data in particular has not been quantified as effectively as other data sources, yet its measurement at scale is critical to protecting and preserving it. By leveraging the decreasing costs of genomics and its world-leading academic expertise in environmental DNA and analytics, NatureMetrics is essentially creating the Google Maps for nature, so we in the future can understand and report on how the Earth is doing in a heartbeat. This will enable any industry with physical presence to make more sustainable decisions and facilitate acceleration of nature-based solutions to combat climate change. We are excited to back the team to help them scale globally.”

Olivier Warnan, Partner at BNP Paribas Solar Impulse Venture Fund said: “The promise of NatureMetrics to turn a deeptech science such as eDNA into an affordable, ready-to-use and highly scalable digital service is both unique and fully aligned with BNP Paribas Solar Impulse Venture Fund’s mission to invest in promising start-ups committed to the ecological transition. We expect the coming years to be full of opportunities for NatureMetrics while needs for nature data to support the whole financial services sector are rising, as illustrated by BNP Paribas’ commitment to evaluate all its corporate customers on criteria linked to biodiversity by 2025.”

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