Carbon Credit Cart recently chatted with Vishwas Ganesan, Founder and Owner of YellowTin.
CCC: What is YellowTin?
Vishwas: YellowTin helps companies be proactive contributors to climate-action by allowing them to engage and empower their stakeholders – employees and customers – to transition to clean energy. Our platform provides stakeholders with personalized recommendations on how to save money and cut carbon by switching to clean technologies such as solar, EV, e-bike, battery, heat pump, induction cooktop, etc.
CCC: What is the potential emissions reduction impact of the YellowTin platform?
Vishwas: Data from the EPA suggests that 42% of our emissions come from our energy lifestyle choices i.e. how we power our homes and cars. To eliminate these emissions we must transition to clean energy and electrify everything. However, making the switch is really confusing – even if you’re an energy nerd like us – because each technology is an industry unto its own, which results in a siloed market, and incentives are not aligned. Addressing this challenge is exactly our focus. By using YellowTin, companies increase their positive impact and enhance their sustainability brand, while their stakeholders cut emissions and save money. It’s truly a win-win.
CCC: Are you a SaaS model?
Vishwas: Today our primary revenue is through a SaaS approach, where companies pay us a subscription fee to get a customized platform that includes real-time with user engagement and emissions data. We also recently launched a marketplace that will allow us to monetize when a platform user purchases a service or technology from one of our technology partners.
CCC: How long have you been in business?
Vishwas: We’ve been in business since 2017.
CCC: How big is your team currently?
Vishwas: We’re at 9 and growing.
CCC: What spurred you to become involved with clean energy?
Vishwas: I started my career in chips and transitioned into batteries and the challenges around back-up power. While the work was interesting, I did not feel that I was addressing larger community and environmental issues. I became involved in the solar industry and started doing deep data dives around challenges associated with customer acquisition costs for solar installers along with the current homeowner journey to learn the benefits of solar for their homes. This really enabled me to understand how fragmented the residential clean energy space is today and how painful it is for households to understand the benefits of clean energy technologies for their specific situation (home type, lifestyle choices, etc.) And then the lightbulb turned on – that I needed to focus on how to use data instructively and deliver a meaningful experience to enable households to transition to clean energy seamlessly! I committed myself to exploring how the expanded, applied use of data can be used to inspire, motivate and help homeowners build confidence to make informed decisions. That thinking was the genesis of YellowTin’s mission.
CCC: How has COVID impacted your ability to get traction at this critical stage of YellowTin’s growth?
Vishwas: It’s been mixed – good and bad. On the plus side, everyone understands digital education now – so we don’t really have any hurdles educating users about how to access and use our services. On the minus side, of course, the lack of face-to-face meetings presents challenges for establishing and growing business relationships. Everyone is experiencing this.
CCC: Some have observed that COVID had the benefit of reducing the emissions associated with commuter traffic. Have there been any unintended consequences to the work-at-home model?
Vishwas: Yes, work from home emissions have increased significantly and companies need to measure and reduce these emissions. All of these emissions align with what YellowTin is working on – electrifying homes and personal transportation.
CCC: How are you reaching the business market? Are you focused on small and mid-sized businesses?
Vishwas: Currently, we are primarily working with companies with access to employees and customers wanting to make a change. YellowTin focuses on companies that are climate leading or want to be climate leading. Often they are organizations that have demand from stakeholders but don’t know how to achieve their environmental goals.
CCC: How do you start the dialog?
Vishwas: Our model is based on a cycle of inspiration-motivation-education-action. We help companies figure out how to go from an idea to an actionable plan based on their goals. And once we have a program in place, the YellowTin platform provides real-time metrics that shows them how effectively they are increasing their use of clean energy and decreasing their greenhouse gas emissions for their employees and customers. They can track their user engagement and carbon reductions, and can share data with their associates and stakeholders.
CCC: What are the obstacles to adoption? For households? For businesses?
Vishwas: For households, there are challenges in getting the message out to the right audience and normalizing the discussion about personal environmental action – creating excitement and motivation without being self-righteous. For companies, often their sustainability teams don’t have budgets to implement their ideas. To be successful, the commitment needs to be companywide – marketing and HR departments need to be involved, and there need to be budgets, blessed by the executive suite, that are in line with the organization’s goals.
CCC: What are your primary markets?
Vishwas: Currently, our core market is the US but we are soon launching a lean version of our platform to Canada, Australia, Ireland, and other countries. We see emerging opportunities where US companies have overseas employees.
CCC: How many years have you been purchasing carbon credits?
Vishwas: I don’t buy carbon offsets. No need. I use carbon-free electricity.
CCC: If you could wave your magic wand, what would be the change you would like to see immediately?
Vishwas: My number one wish would be that companies implement 401k-type universal programs where every employee is able to enroll in sustainable programs such as YellowTin and that programs such as YellowTin become part of a standard employee benefits package – and that these programs would, in turn, trickle down to employee communities as they embrace carbon-free energy.
CCC: What advice would you have for people or companies that are uncertain about taking the next steps to reduce their carbon footprint and change their behaviors?
Vishwas: I would say ‘Do what you can’! Educate yourself. Identify the changes that you can effect, that work for you and your budget. And then build on that.
CCC: With so many global companies and countries touting carbon neutrality by 2050, what do you think will happen? Can they be successful or is it all marketing and politics?
Vishwas: Yes, this is an ambitious target and will require all relevant stakeholders – starting from policy makers to shareholder to customers and employees – to come together so we can stand a good chance of achieving this.
CCC: Thank you for your time and insights. How can folks get in touch with you?
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