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London Tech Week

Ex-ContentCal and a Fresha executive back sustainable marketplace startup founded in a field


There is a lot of research (and time) involved in finding fair trade and sustainable products. However, now there are a lot of options available online that curate their products based on their own set of values, including fair labour standards, organic ingredients, and give-back initiatives. One of them is UK-based Canopey, an online marketplace for environmentally sustainable and eco-conscious brands and they are going to launch soon.

Now they have secured investment from two leading technology executives. Currently, the pre-seed round stands at just over £280K, with the second tranche closing in May. Jim Hodgkins, ex-Managing Director of ContentCal, and Mark Khoury, Chief Analytics Officer of Fresha, have become the latest investors to back Canopey’s multi-vendor marketplace.

Currently, the pre-seed round stands at just over £280K, with the second tranche closing in May 2023. The investment is part of Canopey’s pre-seed ahead of its launch scheduled for later this month. The round follows an earlier one led by Capital Pilot and the University of East Anglia’s Enterprise Fund.

CEO Thomas Panton said: “It’s clear the smart money is on companies that not only help consumers live their values, but provide investors with long-term sustainable returns. I’m pleased to be welcoming Jim Hodgkins and Mark Khoury as investors at a hugely exciting time for the company. Canopey is the only platform that rigorously verifies green claims and provides customers data on their shopping in this way.”

Jim Hodgkins was EVP of Marketing Services at Experian and Managing Director at ContentCal, which was acquired by Adobe in 2021 for a reported $100m+ figure.

Jim Hodgkins said: “I’m looking for businesses that can disrupt the current marketplace and be challengers to the status quo, and Canopey strikes me as a potential game-changer.” 

“The concept is key to the journey we have to go on environmentally, and the team gets that you need an attractive proposition, not just a worthy one. Key to this is that the founder has a history in a disruptive organisation, Greenpeace, and is therefore wired to make change happen.”

As a seasoned venture capitalist, Mark Khoury has worked with MEVP, one of the largest independent venture capital firms in the Middle East and North Africa. Currently, he is Chief Analytics Officer at Fresha, a leading marketplace for beauty and wellness appointments, used by millions worldwide.

Mark Khoury said: “Canopey has set out to simplify the process of sustainable shopping, and is building a future where you don’t need to be an eco-warrior or a climate activist to better serve the planet. Canopey’s unique portal is miles ahead of the current options, empowering eco-conscious shoppers and investors alike to act on their values.”

Canopey is due to launch in May to its community of 6,000 customers. Over 200 green businesses have signed up to sell on the platform, including KeepCup, Wild deodorant, Naked Sprout toilet roll and more.

One of the key features of the Canopey platform is its in-built impact calculator, which shows customers stats on carbon emissions, water waste and plastic waste for a product compared to its mainstream alternative.

The startup was Tech Nation City Winner for Norfolk and was recently nominated for three 2023 StartUp Awards. The company also successfully closed a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube last year with more than 350 investors.

Founded in a field

Canopey mission is to make shopping sustainably easier for everyone and create a future where shoppers don’t have to worry about their impact on the planet and people.

While Amazon was founded in a garage by Jeff Bezos – Canopey was founded in a field by Thomas Panton and Hugo Douglas-Deane. Thomas Panton spent more than a decade campaigning for Greenpeace and other environmental groups, bringing tens of thousands of people into the movement, and found they all needed a better place to buy green products online. This led to the foundation seed for Canopey and it was planted.

The platform’s product categories range from beauty and skincare, clothing, food & drink, homeware, cleaning products and more. Sustainability values include vegan, plastic-free, biodegradable, recycled materials and more. 

Further, the Canopey Calculator gives powerful impact stats on the CO2e, water, and plastic saved on every purchase, and gives shoppers the power to track their impact over time.

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