Climate tech start-up URECA closes US$1.5 mil pre-seed round, allows 'virtually anyone' to trade carbon offsets

Originating from Mongolia and based in Singapore, URECA has built a marketplace platform for trading high-quality carbon offsets.

Singapore-headquartered climate tech start-up URECA has closed a pre-seed funding round from undisclosed investors at US$1.5 million ($2.05 million).

The round exceeded the company’s original target of US$1 million, says URECA in a Nov 22 press release.

Originating from Mongolia and based in Singapore, URECA has built a marketplace platform that allows “virtually anyone” to trade high-quality carbon offsets. The latest funding will be used to scale URECA’s operations across Southeast Asia and to accelerate the launch of its marketplace, planned for early-2023.

On the hardware front, URECA’s digital MRV (measurement, reporting and verification) technology consists of three components: a tamper-proof smart-meter, a verification system and a blockchain-based trading platform, which were designed and built in collaboration with the Mongolian University of Science and Technology.

This will enable individual households and SMEs to produce and sell carbon offsets, says the company. “These can range from the homeowner with a rooftop solar panel to a company owning a large wind farm.”

Orchlon Enkhtsetseg, founder and CEO of URECA, says: “We are humbled and grateful to have exceeded our targeted investment round and at the trust bestowed on us by our pre-seed investors. We believe that the level of funding we received from so many investors indicates strong confidence and interest in URECA’s business model and mission to empower and mobilise grassroots participation to take climate action on a more global scale.”

Enkhtsetseg is currently board vice-chairman at the Business Council of Mongolia. From 2016 to 2021, he was chief investment officer and board member at the Mongolian investment company Newcom Group. “This pre-seed investment round positions us to be able to get more people involved in the fight against climate change and will enable us to become a leading climate tech player in the region,” he adds.

URECA’s three other co-founders Amar Baatartsogt, Unurbat Erdenemunkh and Zolbayar Jargalsaikhan bring experience from the fintech, software engineering and administrative fields.

Meanwhile, URECA’s chief sustainability officer, Onon Bayasgalan, was formerly at the United Nations Development Programme and later, the Wildlife Conservation Society.

URECA’s blockchain trading platform is powered by Algorand, developed by a Boston-headquartered company of the same name founded in 2017.

The Algorand Foundation is based in Singapore. According to its LinkedIn page, the Algorand Foundation was founded in 2019 and aims to foster “an open and transparent system where anyone can participate, develop and innovate on the permissionless Algorand protocol”.

URECA announced its partnership with Algorand on July 18. According to the Algorand Foundation’s press release, URECA’s technology is starting to be rolled out in Mongolia in partnership with The Asia Foundation, a non-profit international development organisation headquartered in San Francisco.

Moving forward, URECA plans to expand the reach of the technology into other high-quality carbon offset projects. “The company is already working on energy efficiency programs and is exploring moving into nature-based solutions. URECA will use a combination of technology and fieldwork to ensure that the verified credits listed on its marketplace are of high quality and meet the most stringent requirements,” says the company.

Photos: URECA

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