citybiz+ EcoRatings Raises $1 Million from Google and Others

New York-based EcoRatings, which has developed an AI-based sustainability ranking system, has raised $1 million in a pre-seed round from Google and India-based investors — We Founder Circle, 888 VC, Vinners and Indigram Labs Foundation. EvolveX, a startup accelerator program run by We Founder Circle, first invested in the startup last December.

The Indian trio of Aditi Balbir, Aqeel Ahmed and Shruti Anand launched the startup during last year’s U.N. Conference of Parties (COP28) summit in Dubai. Using the U.N.’s framework of 17 goals, EcoRatings awards numerical sustainability ratings to varied sectors including travel, fashion, FMCG, food and healthcare.

Driving Sustainability

“Transparency regarding a product’s environmental impact is paramount to consumers. EcoRatings’ rating methodology resonates with this ethos, utilizing a pure technology solution mapped to the 17 UN SDGs and ESG norms,” said Bhawna Bhatnagar, co-founder of EvolveX.

Balbir, an alumna of Duke University and the Indian School of Business, said the company would use the funding to buy data sources and introduce multi-modal capabilities.

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EcoRatings’ three founders bring varied skills and knowledge. While Balbir, who serves as the CEO, is an expert on sustainability, chief operating officer Ahmed brings AI and machine learning skills, and Anand is a marketing professional.

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Access to Advanced Chips
Balbir previously worked for Barings Private Equity, McKinsey and V Resorts, where she studied sustainability frameworks established by the United Nations and the World Economic Forum, among others, to drive aggregation of curated properties. In 2019, V Resorts won a sustainable tourism award established by the United Nations and the World Tourism Organization. Aqeel was a member of the founding team at travel software firm RateGain, while Shruti ran marketing at The Times of India newspaper group.

EcoRatings has been part of AI chipmaker Nvidia’s accelerator program, supercharging its progress. The program gave the startup access to invaluable resources, including access to cutting-edge technology and training. Its Unified Knowledge platform features a large language model and retrieval-augmented generation architecture, which augments LLMs. The platform is key to processing extensive datasets and delivering precise, real-time insights.