Earlier in 2021 I shared a fascinating article about Black Swans, Octopi and Elephants, so when I saw a company called Green Swan Lab, I was intrigued.
Mr Boaz Nol is the Co-Founder and CEO of Green Swan Lab, and I had the privilege to speak with him at the 2021 NOAH Conference in Zurich.
With a solid financial services and academic background, in June 2021 Nol turned his attention to helping solve our collective global climate crisis using the collaborative power of human and artificial intelligence.
NOAH Conference, 2021
Impact Tech Leader Interview With:
Green Swan Lab
The full round up of Green Swan Lab's founders adds even more credibility and capability to the venture. Nol is joined by fellow founders Prof. Joseph Klafter, former President of Tel Aviv University, Chemistry scholar and winner of Israel’s Prize in Physics and Chemistry, Boaz Benrush leads strategy and Yonatan Naor leads heads the technology function as Chief Technology Officer.
Nol shared with me that despite the immense challenge that the climate crisis presents our civilisations, there is room for hope and optimism - but we don’t have many chances left to get this right.
It is with this in mind that Nol and his co-founder set about trying to help the world’s brightest, most influential experts co-operate in a way that has never been done before to help sift through the tsunami of climate focused startups, identifying those with the most promise - accelerating the most promising climate change technology solutions.
Green Swan Lab is a platform that aims to incentivise scientific enquiry and expert-led collaboration to rapidly find credible answers to some of the toughest climate problems. Describing the platform as the “Uber of smart people”, Nol explained how he’s assembling global experts who get paid to answer questions in their field of excellence.
“You know, when we talk of the climate crisis, there's a huge gap of knowledge in order for the average investor or organisation to even start making decisions.” Says Nol, “The biggest issue we see is that the topic is very scientific, very complicated and very hard. We were at COP26 in Glasgow, and everybody talked about this data, that data, this big data and that big data. But within all that data, there's real lack of actual knowledge.”
Green Swan Lab intends to help accelerate solutions from startups that have the best and brightest chance of helping mitigate and reverse the climate damage. To achieve this, and help close the knowledge gap, their approach is to create a grading system that helps bring clarity and priority to the ambitions, proposals and approaches of ClimateTech businesses.
Rating ClimateTech Startups
This grading systems, which Nol liked to a financial rating such as S&P, would call on the expertise of the global community of scientists, technology, political and climate experts to analyse and rate the proposed solutions.
Whilst there are many formal ESG types of grading systems for large organisations, Green Swan Lab is primarily aimed at helping identify promising approaches from younger companies, helping startups get the funding they need to succeed at pace.
Whilst the approach of gathering opinions from a global audience sounds very much like the kind of crowdsourcing methodology you might find in a TrustPilot or Glassdoor, Nol puts the emphasis on the qualifications of his “crowd”. GreenSwan Lab is more of an expert peer review platform that operates at scale using automation to create the question framework, engage the correct experts and analyse the results.
It is intended to derive wisdom from a crowd, but the crowd are experts with verifiable, relevant credentials and capabilities. In fact this peer review aspect is what makes Green Swan Labs so unique, as Nol says, "The peer review element of what we are doing is what makes us so unique. No one else is doing this, definitely not for young companies and definitely not in the Green arena."
Investors get a report for every measurement, for example environment impact, society, technology, biodiversity as a grading. They can then dig deeper and see the full report including exactly what each expert said. They get a full and total ranking of the business and potential impact.
The platform plans to allow investors to ask the global expert community questions about the startups, but also to enable startups to learn more about the problems they are trying to solve. The questions are, at first manually crafted by experts themselves, but moving forward Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will not only help curate appropriate questions for the given need, but also create the questions.
Beyond this, AI will be used to matchmak questions to experts and enforce statistical confidence and accuracy by managing the pool of experts invited to answer specific questions. In practice this means that if the initial group of expert responses don’t coalesce around a common answer, the algorithms will invite more experts to contribute until there is statistical confidence in a peer-reviewed consensus.
AI also creates a gamification element to the system, rating and grading the experts by the credibility of their responses, thereby creating additional rewards for the more respected, credible experts in the system.
From a startup point of view, Green Swan Lab can provide cost effective access to scientific guidance and support that might otherwise be out of reach or just unknown.
Investors benefit from being able to create a credible climate-focused deal flow, and the experts benefit from both new income opportunities as well as enhancing their exposure and reputation.
Green Swan Lab already has some significant backing and success, with Europe's MediaMonks, McKinsey and Wolfram signed up as strategic partners, and investment from yet-to-be-named well-known foundation (stay tuned for that).
With a specific mention of McKinsey and Wolfram, Nol notes that helping solve the climate challenge is the primary focus of Green Swan Lab, but clearly the scope of this goes way beyond one area.
Green Swan Labs is already operating and scoring ClimateTech companies, but the official launch isn't until early 2022.
If you're interested in knowing more, from an investor, founder or expert point of view, head over to their site and register you interest today.
The climate challenges we’re facing are big. Too big to be solved by one person or one idea, however brilliant it may be. We all have to be part of the change to make it happen. And as we all know, the time to act is now.