Celsia announces pre-seed round to accelerate growth and expand its market-leading sustainability scoring platform
The round includes investors like DNB Ventures and Finstart Nordic, the venture arms of DNB and SR-Bank, as well as industrial conglomerates Bonheur and industrial conglomerate Aker with its venture fund RunwayFBU.
Oslo, September 26, 2022:
Today, Celsia - provider of the most used software solution in the Nordics for EU taxonomy reporting - announces it has raised funding in an EUR 2 million oversubscribed pre-seed round.
The financing round is Celsia’s second after an angel round in 2021, and will allow the company to accelerate its commercialization and expand the development of its software solution.
Celsia is one of few RegTech solution providers catering to the growing need among companies for software for assessing, measuring and reporting on sustainability performance. With the rapid implementation of new regulatory requirements in the EU, tens of thousands of companies will be required to initiate or expand their sustainability reporting in the coming years.
From customers to investors
Celsia already has a number of public and private companies as customers, including DNB, Bonheur, Quantafuel and Q-Free. Celsia is also used by a number of investment firms, including Investinor and Momentum Partners. The investments by DNB through DNB Ventures and Bonheur both follow successful engagements with Celsia as customers.
“We’re humbled by having our customers invest in us, and contribute to our mission as even closer partners. With the venture arms of DNB and SR-Bank, two of Norway’s largest banks, onboard, we look forward to continuing our already close collaboration to make sustainability scoring and management more accessible also to bank clients.
“Bonheur and RunwayFBU’s investments underscore our relevance to heavy-asset industries, where we have most of our customers. Providing value to our clients is our number one priority, and we see these investments as key endorsements as we will continue to do that”, says CEO of Celsia Petter Reistad.
“We are happy to support Celsia on their continued growth journey towards further commercialization in the Nordics and the EU. The team is knowledgeable, focused and able to deliver and adapt in a fast-changing business environment. Their software is intuitive, to the point, and answers out a specific need in our organization which makes us believe that Celsia will do so also for others,” says Ellen Ueland in Fred. Olsen Investments, who manages the investment for Bonheur.
Aker’s venture fund RunwayFBU is also among the investors that through the Aker group are also clients of Celsia.
"We believe there will be a new set of standards for future accounting practices. What we see with the EU taxonomy is the early start of such new standards, getting business insight on what to improve in businesses. Celsia has taken a very active role in transforming a set of rules into a workable digital product. We have followed Celsia since its start and believe they will take a leading role in developing future solutions for future accounting principles", says Tor Bækkelund, CEO in RunwayFBU.
Increasing interest from banks
Banks face a number of EU taxonomy-related disclosures. The Green Asset Ratio (GAR), which all banks have to disclose within 2024, is based on the EU taxonomy score of their aggregated loan exposure to large public companies. Systemically critical banks, which have to comply also with Pillar 3 disclosures, also have to disclose on their broad banking book Taxonomy score, based on the complete loan exposure. With the requirements, many banks see an opportunity to combine data collection with nudging its clients in a more sustainable direction.
“To any bank, nothing is more important than being compliant with today’s and future requirements to them. Still, however, we see the main sustainability concern of the banks that we interact with isn’t the compliance aspect of sustainability, but how they can be a forward-leaning force on sustainability, that stay relevant by helping their clients become more sustainable and contribute to the green transition,” says Celsia CEO Petter Reistad.
“New regulations are introducing extensive reporting requirements. Through a pilot project with Celsia we saw that their solution and competency is highly relevant to DNB and our customers. We need sustainability data on our customers' activities, but it is equally important for us to be in position to assist them on their journey towards improved sustainability. We do this through guidance provided by our client advisors, and by providing access to digital solutions such as the one developed by Celsia”, says CFO of DNB, Ida Lerner.
During the pilot project DNB customers were given access to Celsia’s reporting solution, which they used to assess their sustainability scores within the EU taxonomy framework. In parallel a dialog was initiated with DNB Ventures.
“The purpose of DNB Ventures is to contribute to increased innovation in DNB by investing in relevant and innovative startups. Through active ownership, DNB Ventures aims to foster knowledge exchange and collaboration with startups, while supporting them in the early years of development. We saw from early on that there was a good fit between Celsia and our venture activity, and seized the opportunity to take a lead-investor role in the process”, she adds.
Along with DNB, SR-Bank make up two of Norway’s three banks deemed systemically critical. Through its venture fund Finstart Nordic, it now invests in Celsia.
“We have a strong desire to positively contribute to the green transition. We see a rising interest among companies across industries for playing a part in the sustainable transformation, that will have a need for the products that Celsia offers, such as their EU taxonomy assessment solution. In a rapidly evolving landscape, we assess Celsia to have the ability to develop products that will satisfy the changing requirements.
“Banks have a unique position in the green transition, as we may help our clients improve their sustainability. Corporates are in the middle of a paradigm shift, where more than solely the financial return on investments will matter. SR-Bank aims to be part of the solution, and investing in sustainable activities is central to that, says Nina Moi Edvardsen, CEO in SpareBank 1 SR-Bank.
Founded in 2021, Celsia is developing a sustainability management-as-a-service solution. With it, companies can assess and report their EU taxonomy score. Celsia’s solution is one of a small number of specialized tools available on the market that are based on and compliant with the EU taxonomy.
A team of 15 people, Celsia is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, with offices in Berlin, Germany, and Copenhagen, Denmark. The company has clients across sectors, including energy, manufacturing and finance. It collaborates with multiple consulting firms that can deliver and support the rollout of its software as well as independently verify and certify the results.
Celsia was founded by Cathrine Dehli, Morten Hillbom and Petter Reistad. Chief Product Officer (CPO) Cathrine Dehli has 25 years of experience from working with sustainability, having worked with companies that include Cognite, IKEA and Nordic Choice Hotels. Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Morten Hillbom has previously worked with Cognite and Cisco. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Petter Reistad has a background from Cognite and DNB.
About the EU taxonomy
The EU taxonomy is the European Union’s new sustainability framework that more than 50,000 companies are required to use for disclosures within 2025. Large, public companies are already covered by the legislation, that will require disclosures on their performance in accordance with the framework in their 2022 annual statements.
Of 3,350 public companies in Celsia’s database, with data extracted from companies’ annual reports, 21% already fully or partly disclosed their performance in their 2021 statements. The number of companies in scope for the requirements for 2022 is estimated by the EU to be 11,700, indicating that a large number of companies are currently or will shortly begin their EU taxonomy screening.
The EU taxonomy has been called the new “gold standard” for sustainability reporting, and a number of countries across the world are developing their own green taxonomies. China, the UK and Indonesia are just some of the tens of countries that have launched or are about to launch their taxonomy frameworks. With the EU’s early development and implementation, many are looking to align, fully or partially, with the EU taxonomy, which may ease trade and cross-border financing when the taxonomies are fully adopted.
About DNB Ventures
DNB Ventures is a wholly owned subsidiary of DNB Bank that makes corporate venture capital investments in startups engaging in activities relevant to the bank. The aim of DNB Ventures is to contribute to increased innovation in DNB by fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration with startups, while supporting them in the early years of development. We are active owners and primarily invest where we can contribute with more than capital alone.
Contact person: Anders Østensvig, email@example.com / +47 916 88 673
About Finstart Nordic
Finstart Nordic is SpareBank 1 SR-Bank’s strategic investment arm in fintech, technology and impact companies that could improve or extend the banks' existing value chains. Our mandate is to invest in companies where strong synergies between both parties are identified and meaningful. Finstart is a subsidiary of SpareBank 1 SR-Bank ASA, integrated in terms of operations and distribution possibilities. Our focus is to create synergies, without limitations for future growth. We strive to be valuable, resourceful and active partners to the companies we are engaged with.
Contact: Vidar Aksland, CEO – firstname.lastname@example.org / Christopher Hjelseth, Director Investments and Portfolio Development – email@example.com
About Bonheur ASA
Bonheur ASA is an investment company with origins from 1848 and listed on the Oslo stock exchange in Norway since 1920. Fred. Olsen Investments manages new investment opportunities for Bonheur ASA. Through various Fred. Olsen-related companies, Bonheur’s core interests have traditionally been linked to the maritime and energy sectors, and with a proven history of being early adaptors into new trends, such as being an early mover in renewable energy within onshore and offshore wind in the 1990s. Bonheur continuously evaluates investment opportunities with a view to expand its footprint in existing or related industries, across technologies, services and products, seeking innovative and ambitious companies within renewables, energy storage, travel and leisure, circular economy, maritime and shipping, electrification, sustainability and others.
Contact person: Ellen Ueland, Investment Manager, Fred. Olsen Investments, firstname.lastname@example.org / +47 484 41 360
RunwayFBU is an early Stage Venture Fund and tech hub founded by Kjell Inge Røkke, the major owner of Aker Group and among the most successful entrepreneurs in the Nordics, together with Tor Bækkelund, former co-founder of StartupLab. RunwayFBU’s ambition is to support entrepreneurs building global companies solving important challenges by the use of data and technology.
Contact person: Tor Bækkelund, Managing partner, email@example.com / +47 416 95 241
Contact person: Petter Reistad, CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org / + 47 948 99 405