Student Startup Carbonlink Raises $350k in Pre-Seed Funding

Learn about the student startup looking to scale the carbon markets.

by Greenwashed

Student Startup Carbonlink Raises $350k in Pre-Seed Funding


The Round

Led by Miami-based CEAS Investments, student-founded Carbonlink has raised $350k in a pre-seed bridge round to further the development of their one-stop-shop carbon platform.

In early 2023, Carbonlink released Carbonisbad, a platform focused on individual climate action that allows users to calculate and offset their carbon footprints. To complement Carbonisbad, the funding round will go towards the development of their business-oriented platform that allows companies to buy, manage, and retire on-chain carbon offsets and the Carbonlink API, which allows anyone to embed offsetting functionality into their native products.

The Team

The Carbonlink team is comprised of students from universities around the country.

Born out of University of Southern California accelerators TroyLabs and LavaLab, Carbonlink has since expanded to a team of 16 students from USC, the University of Washington, Indiana University, and Southern Methodist University.

The Mission

Between classes, club meetings, social lives, and jobs at companies including Coinbase, AWS, and Disney, the team at Carbonlink has continued to work on developing the project through a shared ambition to fight the climate crisis.

As the generation with the most to lose, the students behind Carbonlink saw that it was their responsibility to take action. By eliminating inefficiencies in the carbon markets, Carbonlink aims to drastically increase the scale and effectiveness of carbon offsets and become a critical linchpin in staving off the worst of the climate crisis’ effects.

The Problem

As a financial instrument incentivizing environmental protection, carbon offsets represent one of the most promising ways to slow the climate crisis. Unfortunately, the current state of the carbon market prevents it from scaling.

Right now, a small number of brokers control the majority of the market share and offset data. Due to this, the brokers have the leverage to pay projects less than they deserve for offsets and charge companies more than they should pay, with some companies even paying up to 400% more than market value in the search for quality offsets.

The Solution

Carbonlink solves this using blockchain technology. By using the blockchain’s public ledger, data about offsets is no longer controlled by the brokers who have monopolized the market. This allows companies and consultants to conduct price discovery to pay the right amount for their offsets and for projects to receive fair compensation, which in turn allows them to fund more offset projects and scale climate action further.

The other added benefit of the blockchain is that it eliminates double-counting, an issue in the carbon markets where a singular offset is counted and sold twice, meaning that one of the buyers gets credit for climate action that did not actually happen. By operating on a publicly verified immutable ledger, Carbonlink removes the possibility of this happening.

The traditional downside of using blockchain tech is that it makes the experience more difficult. In order to access all of the benefits, users usually need to do things like set up wallets and protect their seed phrases, hold cryptocurrencies to pay the chain fees, and other various tasks that require a more in-depth knowledge of blockchains.

However, Carbonlink understands requiring that level of user expertise isn’t a good way to scale the climate action it provides. For that reason, Carbonlink built its backend to take care of all of these hard-to-learn, annoying blockchain responsibilities automatically. No user needs to interact with, or for that matter have any knowledge about, cryptocurrency or blockchain technology. A normal bank account or credit card works perfectly for purchasing, and all assets are held in custodial wallets, allowing the platform to reach the audience that it needs to.

By creating an all-encompassing platform built on a blockchain, Carbonlink hopes that it can become the climate action platform for everyone from individuals to the largest companies in the world, and by doing so, scale climate action to heights it has never before reached.