Founders Spotlight: New Money
Sarah: Tell us about New Money, how did it get started?
NaJin: As an undergrad at Columbia, I studied Sustainable Development and Architecture. I really started this journey in 2016 at a Harvard Business School Summer Peek Weekend Program where I tracked and quantified the influence of impact investing through disruptive technologies. I then strategically mapped my career path to assess the pain points among the impact investor market, from carbon reporting to institutionally responsible investments. Through stakeholder interviews and direct research, I found that the current carbon reporting system is incredibly problematic. Companies self-report their carbon data without validation to rating agencies and NGOs making it extremely easy to manipulate this data. There is also a lack of transparency, consistency, and accuracy that characterizes the current reporting system. It was at this point that I saw a significant opportunity to create a disruptive technology that will bridge the gaps in the current carbon reporting market.
Sarah: What are you building?
NaJin: We have created a hardware and software solution that monitors, validates, and monetizes carbon emissions. Our monitors measure a building’s carbon output allowing building managers to view their carbon emission usage in real-time on our New Money Eco dashboard. This data is automatically validated via our ledger system and can be easily sent to the local government when reporting is due1. Our premium service, New Money Eco Boost, provides building managers with additional diagnostic tools to proactively lower their carbon output.
Sarah: What is the biggest challenge that you are currently facing?
NaJin: Our biggest challenge has been educating the landlords on the importance of carbon data reporting especially under the New York City Local Law 971. By 2050, all buildings in the NYC area are required to reduce their carbon footprint by 80%. While that timestamp seems a little far off in the future, buildings will be seeing significant penalties and license cancellations if they do not begin to proactively comply with the law.
Sarah: What is the biggest lesson you have learned since joining the IBM Launch accelerator?
NaJin: One of our most inspiring meetings was with the Director of IBM’s Digital Assets and Science Team. He allowed us to think deeply about the value that we are creating beyond just the sustainability piece to build a trusted network on chain. It turned out to be a very hard-hitting question because, at the end of the day as a for-profit organization, we want to think about who will actually be willing to pay for our technology.
Sarah: What type of support/partnership are you currently seeking? What are the next steps for your company?
NaJin: I think what we are creating is a radical concept in climate change solutions for meeting the clock of the planet. Due to the political nature of the issue, we are seeking to collaborate across governmental institutions, NGOs, and environmental sustainability initiatives. In addition, we are also looking to partner with city dwellers, building owners, and cleantech contributors who care deeply about the carbon footprint in their communities following our SoHo office pilot.
1Local Law 97 was passed by New York City in 2019 as part of the city's strict movements towards reducing its carbon footprint. This law requires building owners to start reporting their building's carbon emissions beginning in 2024. Local law 97 will affect more than 50,000 residential and commercial buildings and is the most aggressive carbon emission reduction law of any city globally, with plans to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050. If buildings fail to meet emission regulations, they will be charged a fine.