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Monitoring biodiversity: Cambridge-based Pivotal snaps £4.5M funding to expand eco-data access

Pivotal funding
Image credits: nito103/DepositPhotos

UK-headquartered biodiversity data company, Pivotal, has snapped £4.5 million in seed funding. The round was led by London VC Octopus Ventures that recently backed Perci Health and Little Journey. The round also saw participation from AENU, The Clearing Ventures, and existing investor Pale Blue Dot.

The investment will help Pivotal transform the economics of biodiversity tracking and build the definitive platform to measure biodiversity at scale.

Zoe Balmforth, Co-founder of Pivotal said: “Companies struggle to track their supply chains, and governments and regulators lack the data to enforce regulation and effectively pursue biodiversity goals like the UN’s 30 by 30. With affordable, scalable analytics of species-level data, we can better incentivise and track change in biodiversity over time, and open up new, impactful and secure mechanisms of investment.”

Co-founder of Pivotal Cameron Frayling said: “By focussing on incentivising real, measured outcomes, we can increase the effectiveness of investment into nature and biodiversity – an area the world is rapidly realising is fundamental to human quality of life and to our global economy.”

Jorn Jansen Schoonhoven, investor, B2B software, Octopus Ventures commented: “Pivotal’s model is positioning them to become the vital data source for biodiversity restoration and the catalyst for a range of new ways to understand, improve and link financial rewards to biodiversity.”

Appoints new CTO

In addition to the investment, Dr Ben Tregenna joins as CTO, bringing world-leading expertise in AI and biodiversity from Evi Technologies and UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Ben Tregenna, CTO added: “It’s exciting to see how site-based biodiversity data and analytics can be combined with outcome-based investment mechanisms. Investment into outcomes, rather than projects, could profoundly change the incentive structures on the ground and the economics of the restoration of nature.”

Solves biodiversity measurement

Pivotal was co-founded in 2022 by Cameron Frayling, an experienced founder of life science businesses Lightcast and Biofidelity, and Zoe Balmforth, a former British Diplomat and ecology PhD who has spent 25 years working on biodiversity issues from leading complex biodiversity surveys around the world.

The mission of this company is to deliver the data people and companies need to invest in positive outcomes for nature. Its platform will make Pivotal the core data source for biodiversity, serving functions including supply chain measurement, regulatory compliance and biodiversity and carbon credit markets.

By making biodiversity tracking faster and cheaper through its unique species level database and platform, Pivotal will enable greater transparency for businesses and regulators, allow ecological improvement to be linked to large-scale financial incentives and could aid the growth of new sustainability-linked markets.

It uses advances in technology from ground-based sensors to AI to build the most detailed set of annotated, species-level biodiversity datasets ever compiled. Also, it provides affordable, scalable, and quality-controlled analytics to evidence changes in biodiversity on the ground. It is touted to reduce the cost of collection and analysis by up to 98%.

Through Pivotal’s platform, both the owners of credit projects and the buyers of those credits can track changes in biodiversity over time and link the value of a credit to real, measured gains. This capability will enable large-scale financial incentives to be affordably linked to on-the-ground evidence of outcomes.

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