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Sunhat helps navigate the shoals of ESG questionnaires

The Sunhat founders from left to right: Ali Kamalizade, Lukas Vogt, and Alexander Behr

Do you feel it too? The pincers that exert more and more pressure? This pressure originates from two sides, the government side and the side of current and potential customers. There is hardly an industry, if any, that does not intensively address the complexity of being compliant with ESG requirements.

Sunhat addresses this issue of growing requirements for verified sustainability, due to newly introduced legislation or industry requirements on the one hand, and requests from a company’s customers on the other. Therefore, Sunhat’s solution helps companies scale their sustainability practices and automate responses to stakeholder requests.

Reducing the noise

In the coming years, the requirements for proven sustainability will increase significantly due to newly introduced legislation or industry requirements on the one hand and the wishes of a company’s customers on the other. Failure to live up to these requirements poses numerous risks. It is predicted that sustainability scandals, for example, may cost S&P 500 companies a market capitalization of USD 534 billion.

Although this issue is receiving significant coverage in the media and in everyday business, few companies are truly dedicated to addressing the full range of ESG requirements, especially for companies at the beginning of the supply chain. These “upstream companies” are forced to answer questionnaires every year, multiplied by the number of players at the end of the supply chain which are utilizing different technologies and services to send out their questions. This task can be both tedious and labor-intensive, leaving many to wonder why software isn’t being used to streamline the process of responding. With increasing standards and requirements, this answering process is becoming even more complex, which makes an automated solution that maps the entire workflow urgently necessary. The risk of a major loss of trust among key stakeholders, in turn, results in a significant portion of a company’s revenue being at stake due to consumer backlash or non-compliance. Overall, these processes already waste an additional workload of several billion euros, considering alone the +80,000 companies that are required to answer EcoVadis questionnaires every year. With hundreds of millions in funding, players like Ecovadis are expected to grow even faster in the coming years.

Automating responses with Sunhat

This is where Sunhat comes in, targeting priority industries like agriculture, food & beverages, pharmaceuticals & chemicals. The company has already onboarded the first customers, providing measurable impact early on.

“Collaborating with Sunhat enables us to optimally manage our internal processes and ensure the reportability and verifiability of our sustainability data.” Director Group Sustainability at WEPA (Hygiene Paper Manufacturer)

In short, Sunhat lets suppliers quickly build and continuously monitor their own management system in their software — to be ready for any type of request with the most recent evidence for sustainability activities.

Request overview in the Sunhat inbox

The team that makes all this happen

Lukas, Alex, and Ali are absolute ecosystem veterans. Lukas as the CEO of the company has more than seven years of business experience. Sunhat is not the first business he started, as he co-founded a sports agency several years ago. Additionally, he proved his capabilities as an Investment Manager at Capnamic leading several investment rounds in category leaders of various industries. He holds a Master’s degree from the University of Cologne in Finance & Econometrics and gained further knowledge through a special course at the University of Cambridge on Business Sustainability Management.

As an Innovation Principal at Axa Ventures, Alex is also quite familiar with both the startup and investment landscape. At the time, Alex was driving business innovation on the corporate side by implementing automation software. Prior to Axa, he founded his own startup, Snooze Project, where as CMO he was, among other things, leading sustainability efforts. Alex holds a Master’s degree from Copenhagen Business School in Management of Creative Business Processes.

Finally, the third member of the family, Ali, is Sunhat’s CTO. Ali holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Informatics from the University of Cologne and has many years of experience as a software developer, where he developed carbon accounting software. He co-founded Sedeo, a SaaS solution for hybrid workspaces until he left the venture in 2018 to join LeanIX. There, he led a team of developers as a senior software engineer and gained experience in the enterprise architecture management space. Along the way, Ali reaches a large audience of tech enthusiasts through his Medium blog.

The Sunhat team

In the meantime, the company grew to 12 “Sunnies”, building a team of industry experts and tech enthusiasts.

Why we invested in Sunhat

The decision to invest early in Sunhat was made quickly. Firstly, we are deeply familiar with Lukas and his work ethic as well as content expertise. On the other hand, the three founders complement each other perfectly and have been convincing from the first second with their awareness of the problem at hand and the ability to lead a new category. Besides the team, we believe in the urgency of the problem and the immense ROI that Sunhat offers with its own solution. This can result in significant time and cost savings, as companies struggle enormously with the huge pile of questionnaires that need to be processed. The size and dynamism among vendors for supply chain assessments alone, such as EcoVadis, thus also highlights the importance of fast and automated processing of any questionnaires for the future.

This is proven by the great interest Sunhat has already received at the beginning from large corporates from various industries. We at Capnamic are very happy to be part of this truly inspiring company and are immensely excited for the time to come. Happy to have a more extensive chat on the overall space with everyone interested!

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