At USV we look for businesses that have network effects and use the internet to do things that simply weren’t possible before. We are particularly thrilled when we can find opportunities that also have the potential of having a positive impact on society. This is why I am excited about what the team at amee in the UK has come up with over the last year: a networked approach to environmental and financial risk (amee is a USV portfolio company).
Amee now publishes an amee environmental score for every business in the UK. That is not a typo. For instance you can find Madame Tussaud’s and of course also amee itself. How does amee do this? They are combining multiple data sources and are applying techniques from credit scoring to environmental and business data. This by itself is an incredibly important innovation: prior to amee score, environmental data in the UK was available for only a few thousand companies, now there is comprehensive coverage for 2.8 million businesses. What’s more, however, amee is providing this score entirely free of charge.
The computed amee score is only the beginning though. Any business can claim its profile page on amee and update the information found there, replacing the computed numbers with actuals. Why would a business do this? Because amee scores are used by larger companies and by the UK government in the analysis of their supply chains. This is how amee makes money: the company charges for finding environmental and financial risk embedded in supply chains. Amee contacts suppliers on behalf of its customers and asks them to update their profile data which then becomes publicly available creating a potentially powerful feedback loop.
There are analogies here to other networked information businesses such as LinkedIn: individual profiles are free but in aggregate it becomes possible to create unique insights for customers. For LinkedIn those customers are large corporations and recruiting firms; for amee it is companies and governments that have large supply chains. The need for such analysis is more timely than ever: atmospheric CO2 levels have exceeded 400ppm for the first time, which is 25% more than the highest amount over the last 800,000 years (for comparison, homo sapiens split off only about 200,000 years ago). As more evidence about the relationship between CO2 and the climate piles up, this is rapidly becoming one of the largest “hidden” economic and financial risks.
The next steps for amee are to grow its customer base in the UK while at the same time investigating data sources that will let it score US businesses and eventually every business around the world. In the meantime, if you are a UK business please claim your profile and, if you have a large supply chain, contact amee for an analysis. Everybody else can stay up to date through the amee blog or via twitter.