Tasmanian sustainability accounting startup Sumday raises $5.3m

Tasmanian sustainability accounting startup Sumday raises $5.3m

Sumday co-founders (L-R) Danny Hoare, Jessica Richmond and Lindsay Ellis. Photo credit: Jazz Upton, Moon Cheese Studio.

"The future of accounting includes carbon" is the message of Tasmanian startup Sumday, which has developed software for this purpose and today announced a $5.3 million seed round including new backer US-based Planeteer Capital and returning investors Blackbird Ventures, Wedgetail, and Canva co-founder Cameron Adams.

Founded in the northwestern Tasmanian port city in late 2022 by Jessica Richmond, Lindsay Ellis and Danny Hoare, Sumday is used by leading accounting firms globally and has built up a stable of high-profile clients including Xero (ASX: XRO), KPMG, Pitcher Partners, William Buck, Walker Wayland and more.

The latest capital injection follows a pre-seed round in December 2022, taking Sumday's total funding to $7.3 million as it seeks to turn traditional accountants into carbon accountants, democratising access to affordable audit-ready greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting in the process.

The software includes courses for upskilling and tools for GHG accounting and reporting work, with customers encouraged to pass these learnings on to every company in their supply chain in an effort to replace average emissions data with actuals over time.

Sumday also caters to internal finance, sustainability and procurement teams who want to make non-financial accounting and reporting a standard part of their processes.

"Few companies can afford a sustainability consultant but all of them have an accountant – and Sumday is the only carbon accounting platform that is built for accountants first, empowering a process that is robust and transparent enough for accountants to sign-off and for companies to trust," says Blackbird partner Michael Tolo.

"As emissions reporting becomes mandatory, Sumday is uniquely placed to become the global solution for thousands of companies worldwide."

Sumday's new investor Planeteer Capital, based in New York and founded by climate tech investor Sophie Purdom, chose the Australian startup as the first international investment in its fund, backed by institutional limited partners (LPs) and Silicon Valley executives, including Meta’s former CTO Mike Schroepfer. Purdom is well known for her Climate Tech VC newsletter, read by over 65,000 subscribers.

Apart from accounting firms, Sumday also has customers in a broad range of industries including mining, civil construction, banking, hospitality, government, tech and telecommunication, from public companies through to the SMEs in the supply chain.

"We see a world where accounting systems have transformed the global economy into a force for good," says Sumday CEO and co-founder Jessica Richmond.

"To make that reality, we’re reimagining the role of accounting through practical education, transparency and trust in relation to non-financial accounting data - it has to be normal and affordable for every business.

Richmond says that if Sumday succeeds, "we'll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about when it came to scope 3".

"More importantly, we will all be able to make decisions that reward companies who have demonstrated emission reduction, driving more to take action," she says.

"Whether that’s consumers at the supermarket checkout, investors writing cheques or companies making procurement decisions based on reliable emissions data, everyone needs improved transparency to collectively drive change."

Co-Founder Lindsay Ellis, a certified practising accountant (CPA) and Sumday's head of accounting and education, says the company is starting with carbon but the future of accounting extends well beyond that.

"We can’t expect to reach net-zero or nature positive if we continue valuing organisations based on their financial performance alone," says Ellis.

"If we want to bring about real change and bypass greenwashing, we have to change our perception of what accounting entails and how it can lead to better decision-making for both people and the planet."

The startup plans to use the funding to expand its reach in the US and UK markets.

"Our intimate understanding of accountants and finance teams stems from the fact that we were in their shoes less than 18 months ago. It's ingrained in our DNA," says co-founder and product lead, Danny Hoare.

"As sustainability teams rightfully steer clear of becoming accountants, we're creating the non-financial accounting platform of the future, fostering collaboration across finance, sustainability, and procurement teams, equipping them with the insights they need during this transition."

Richmond adds that the majority of emissions originate from the supply chain.

"SMEs make up 90 per cent of businesses worldwide. The solutions to the biggest problems corporations face do not lie in costly enterprise platforms that, at best, send forms asking for data that SMEs simply don't have," she says.

"The future of accounting must be as accessible and valuable to a small family-owned business as it is to the public company or bank that’s requesting that data in the first place.

"The fact Sumday has customers at both ends of the scale demonstrates this is not only possible, it’s happening. Quite literally, someday is now."

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