Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Startup spotlight: Project Canary

Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Startup spotlight: Project Canary
Project Canary's products collect the data necessary for effective emission reduction. (Kristi Wiebe)

Alabama NewsCenter is highlighting the inaugural class of 10 startups participating in the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator. The companies specialize in technology and business models to enhance the future of energy, including a digital marketplace for the electric wholesale industry, battery storage and microgrid solutions, and smart home software. Learn more about Techstars here. Also read profiles of Shipshape Solutions, Con.doit, TruSpin, Elektrik, Ashipa Electric, EnergyHawk, Sync, Resilient Power Systems and Virimodo.

Today we look at Project Canary.

Company Name

Project Canary Inc.

Company hometown

Denver, Colorado.

Leadership team names

Chris Romer, CEO; William Foiles, COO; Jory Caulkins, executive chairman.

Chris Romer, CEO of Project Canary. (contributed)

Alabama NewsCenter: What is your company’s overall focus and mission?

Project Canary: Project Canary is here to help clear the air, protect our industries and protect the environment. We collect trusted environmental data for our ESG (environmental, sustainability and governance) platform, which provides our partners with the ability to empirically prove their responsible operations, which can lead to a premium on gas, reduced interest rates and improved access to capital.

Alabama NewsCenter: What inspired you to develop this company?

Project Canary: Project Canary began with the understanding that most actors in the energy industry lack the data necessary for effective emission reduction. Every year companies in the energy industry implement aggressive goals for emission reduction, yet communities, capital markets and regulators are oftentimes critical of their efforts due to a lack of empirical evidence demonstrating their progress. Project Canary was born out of the idea that if you could provide real-time data on pad level emissions, coupled with independent certification of your wells’ impact on air, water, land and community, companies would be able to avoid accusations of green-washing and be rewarded by markets, regulators and their communities. We believe it’s no longer enough to say you fixed the leak; now companies, and those that buy their product, must prove that they fixed the leak.

Alabama NewsCenter: What attracted your company most to the state of Alabama and the Techstars Alabama EnergyTech Accelerator?

Project Canary: Southern Company‘s commitment to net-zero GHG emissions by 2050 exemplified the spirit we hope to work with. The program’s connection with Alabama Power‘s Growth and Innovation arm provides our company with the opportunity to see inside the decision-making process that industry leaders are taking toward ESG platforms. With over 85% global market share of certified Responsibly Sourced Gas deals (and 100% of completed U.S. deals), Project Canary is positioned better than anyone to act as the independent arbiter of ESG data.

Will Foiles, COO of Project Canary. (contributed)

Alabama NewsCenter: What does enhancing the future of energy mean to your company?

Project Canary: Over 1.2 billion people still live in energy poverty globally. The future of energy needs to address the energy needs of our global population, and the oil and gas industry in America is uniquely positioned to solve that problem by providing low-cost energy to the communities that need it. At the same time, the growing impacts of climate change become more prescient every day. Only by dramatically reducing the emissions resulting from our current energy system will we be able to provide the world with the power it needs without compromising the environmental health of our planet for our children and grandchildren. Empirical data is the only way to catalyze effective emission reduction and the only way we can pave a successful future for our families.

Alabama NewsCenter: Other than moving your startup forward, what is the most meaningful, long-term learning or takeaway you hope to gain for your company by participating in the Techstars class?

Project Canary: Over the last two weeks, our company has had the chance to meet with a myriad of founders, innovators and leaders from Alabama Power, but have yet to fully understand how our approach to ESG ratings is perceived by Southern and its other subsidiaries. The biggest learning we could achieve is a deep understanding of other utilities’ appetite for rate-based Responsibly Sourced Gas and our ESG platform.

Alabama NewsCenter: What is the No. 1 thing you would like potential investors to know or understand about your company?

Project Canary: We have proven product-market fit with over $1 million ARR (annual recurring revenue) in only 200 days of selling in the midst of a pandemic to customers facing some of the worst commodity prices of all time. Proper ESG will demand full transparency of supply chains, and we are the first mover in providing that transparency for products that generate 69% of America’s energy.

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