Acuicy, the Halifax-based maker of business intelligence software for emissions reduction, is demoing its technology with double-digit numbers of enterprise clients on the back of completing its minimum viable product last spring.
Chief executive Allison Murray founded the company with chief innovation officer Dawne Skinner last year to aggregate business intelligence data related to greenhouse gas emissions and use AI to reduce companies’ carbon footprints. The duo previously worked together at Murray’s sustainability consultancy, Upswing Solutions, helping companies to develop business-wide sustainability and climate change strategies, while Acuicy aims to offer the specific actions needed to reduce emissions.
Now, Murray and Skinner are preparing to raise a round of pre-seed funding as they eye the agri-food, manufacturing, transportation and logistics sectors as their beachhead markets.
“We've built that deep dataset and are continuing to build out our data mining and web scraping capabilities to include contextual mining,” said Murray, referring to the process by which data scientists ensure their analysis is relevant to a given situation. “So we have that database of different low carbon or decarbonization solutions for each industry.
“Our customers are large enterprises with net-zero targets. … They would deploy Acuicy via their procurement team to their thousands of suppliers. Each one of their suppliers would get their own login to Acuicy, and then they enter really easy to find information about their business. It's really designed for the non expert to use because we know that most companies don't have in-house expertise.”
So far, about 18 large companies are trialing Acuicy’s AI in real-world situations and offering feedback. The vendors hired by Auicy’s main clients are incentivized to share their business data with the software, despite typically not being clients themselves, because the operational insights generated by the AI can help them save money on expenses like fuel.
“It would be more expensive if they were to hire someone internally or go elsewhere to get this data,” said Murray. “They can see the options that will save them money, they can see the payback period and they can see the emissions reduction from a range of different low-carbon investments for their business.
“About a third of the results that we’re seeing (from the AI) so far actually have low to no payback periods. So these are process changes … rather than something that’s going to cost them a lot of money.”
Murray and Skinner head up a team of six people, mostly in Halifax, with plans to build out their sales, marketing and customer support staff in the near future as they approach a full product launch.
The AI system that underpins Aucicy has been developed with the help of scientists from Nova Scotia Community College, under the leadership of researcher Trishla Shah and with funding from Invest Nova Scotia’s Productivity and Innovation Vouchers Program. Skinner herself is also a PhD candidate at Dalhousie University, with a focus on industrial engineering for supply chains.
And last spring, the New York-based Venture for ClimateTech accelerator announced that it had accepted Acuicy into a four-day bootcamp, during which the team earned a spot in the program’s longer, three-month offering. Participation has come with five figures of non-dilutive funding for Acuicy, and on Sept. 20, Murray and Skinner will be pitching to a roster of climatetech investors at New York Climate Week.
“One thing that is really important about Acuicy is that it’s not carbon accounting software,” said Murray. “Acuicy is really business intelligence software … So we go way beyond carbon footprinting, and in fact we see opportunities to integrate with existing platforms.
“We call it the missing middle between carbon accounting and carbon reporting. There are no solutions on the market right now that are fully automated.”