As a profit-for-purpose, social enterprise, our whole reason for existing is to inspire action on climate change. We also have a social arm to our startup (BillBuddy), where we help low income households and those experiencing financial stress to reduce their utility bills. 10% of our profits also go toward supporting disadvantaged communities to implement sustainable and low carbon initiatives.
Our team may be small, but we have a big vision! Our vision is to create a safe climate, and a bright, low carbon future. Our mission is to create a network of climate champions in our communities that are leading the way in climate action.
Read on to learn more about how we got started!
How we began
The idea for ClimateClever was borne after its Founder, Dr Vanessa Rauland, helped to certify the first Carbon Neutral School in Australia in 2012 while she was doing her PhD. She was utterly inspired by what the school managed to achieve. They saved hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings on utility bills, significantly reduced their carbon footprint, educated their students around sustainability, climate change and resource efficiency, and engaged their community in the process. Vanessa and her colleague, Dr Samantha Hall, were determined to help more schools achieve the ambitious aim!
In 2016, the team delivered a two-year ‘Low Carbon School’s Pilot Program’ through their first startup ‘SimplyCarbon’, in collaboration with the City of Fremantle, Curtin University and the CRC for Low Carbon Living (LCL). A total of 15 primary and secondary schools across metropolitan Perth participated in the pilot. Despite only using excel spreadsheets and google docs to manage the program, this ‘low tech’ pilot successfully proved the concept and delivered fantastic results. You can see the pilot’s final report here.
Thanks to the generous support from the CRC LCL, a PhD student, (now Dr!) Portia Odell was able to document the pilot in depth, examining the barriers and enablers, as well as exploring the role youth lead in creating intergenerational change. For more inspiration, check out her thesis here.
With schools across the country eager to join the program, Dr Rauland began building the first version of the online platform in late 2017 and ClimateClever was formally launched nationally in January 2018. Kathy Anketell, who helped lead the two year pilot program, remained as the Schools Sustainability Program Manager.
In early 2019, ClimateClever raised their first round of funding from Impact Investors, which enabled Dr Rauland to leave the university and dive into ClimateClever full time. In April 2019, she hired her CTO, Alexander Karan, who became her co-founder. Sam Nelson also came on board as their Environmental Accountant/Advisor. Ryan Forte joined the software development team in June 2019, and Tess Nicholls joined in Nov 2019 as Program and Partnerships Coordinator, based in Sydney.
In June 2020, after a second round of investment, ClimateClever hired two more software developers, Ellie Salimi and Clayton Forte in the Fremantle office. Luke Vanderzeil also joined the Sydney team in June as Outreach Officer, and Nina Barrow joined the WA team as an Intern in PR and Communications.
Dr Vanessa Rauland – Founder and CEO
Dr Vanessa Rauland is an entrepreneur, academic, author and public speaker. She is the founder and CEO of ClimateClever and has led the startup through two rounds of impact investment since 2019. She is also an Adjunct Research Fellow at Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, where she was a researcher and lecturer in the field of climate change and sustainability for 10 years. She has a keen interest in innovation, STEM, social impact and entrepreneurship and is passionate about tackling climate change. She is also a Founding Board Director of WA Social Enterprise Council (WASEC). She is a carbon nerd, a yoga junkie, an outdoor enthusiast and an eternal optimist.
Alexander Karan - Co-Founder and CTO
Alexander is the co-founder and CTO at ClimateClever. He is full-stack developer with over ten years experience. His current tech stack is Node.js, Express.js, Mongo.DB, AWS and React. Alexander has previously run an App development agency, where he managed a variety of teams both in Australia and abroad and has helped to scale numerous startups. His strengths are in system architecture design and being able to communicate complicated tech in a simple and accessible way. He has been featured on the Jamstack podcast and will be giving a talk at TEDx Youth Perth in 2020. He is devastated by the state of the world, loves a good political rant, enjoys blogging and can often be found swearing at no-one in particular.