July 14, 2022

Looking Back on Year 1 of Novata: Building the Team, Core Products, and Strategy to Contribute to a More Inclusive Capitalism

Since day one – one year ago – the Novata team has focused on how to drive towards a more inclusive form of capitalism. As Chief Impact Officer and Head of ESG, I’ve been honored to work alongside a team that is deeply dedicated to our company’s mission. One of the most exciting aspects of my role is the wide range of conversations I engage in as I work across the organization – collaborating with the Sales, Product, Marketing, and People teams – to highlight and provide resolutions to ESG data collection issues. Together we are also working to continually conduct ESG reporting on our own organization – currently, we’re assessing our own policies and performance as we prepare to pursue B Corp Certification. Additionally, with the support of the entire ESG Methodology Department, I have engaged some of the largest private markets participants on their ESG strategies and commitments, helping drive better practices at some of the world’s most influential firms. 

On July 14th, we celebrate one year of operations. As we look back on the team’s accomplishments over the past year, I am amazed by the breadth of efforts: advancing stakeholder capitalism, expanding ESG disclosure in private markets, raising the bar for support and guidance offered on a technology platform, and crystallizing our own corporate purpose, and more.

Below, we reflect on the six key areas where Novata focused and flourished over the past year – honing our methodology, making ESG reporting easy, shaping the broader conversation, building our commercial strategy, joining hands with partners, and fostering organizational strength – as well as what we will be leaning into during the year ahead.

Honing our Methodology

Novata’s Methodology team has worked over the past year to create an approach that companies can use as an “on ramp” for their ESG reporting journey. Building on leading methodologies – including the GHG Protocol and SASB Standards – we have created a Metric Library for investors to utilize in tracking and measuring portfolio ESG performance, and for companies to use as a starting point in disclosing key performance metrics. These efforts feed the work of our technology and product teams in developing our core product platform, which provides both tools for reporting and guidance for tracking, disclosure, and best practices.

Making ESG Easy

This past spring we launched the customer-facing version of the platform through an agile software development process, constantly improving upon our work with a keen focus on user experience. We are honored to have been chosen by a wide range of customers, bringing hundreds of companies onto the platform and collaborating with a broad range of General Partners (GPs) and Limited Partners (LPs) to refine the platform and our offerings.

Shaping the Conversation

Over the past year, we have gathered a team with a wealth of knowledge that is working to develop useful thought leadership and content geared towards educating our customers and to support our growing brand. We have co-created content with our ESG Advisory Council – exploring Racial Diversity on Private Company Boards with Advisor Dr. Linda Hill, Water Management with Advisor Gonzalo Muñoz, and more – and developed our brand externally through a refined website, a growing library of op-ed content, speaking engagements, media and industry events, and more. Recently, we submitted a public comment to the SEC in support of their newly proposed climate disclosure rule, bringing our voice and expertise to the public sector. We have also developed multimedia content for our web platform – including a detailed Metric Guide and videos for each sub-metric – designed to make the user experience easy and to provide guidance on building organizational muscle around ESG reporting.

Building Commercial Strategy

Alongside the development of our ESG methodology, product, and thought leadership, Novata has evolved its commercial strategy and added a broad range of GPs and their portfolio companies to our platform. Thanks to the collaborative efforts of our consortium – including our funding partners Hamilton Lane, S&P Global, Ford Foundation, and Omidyar, as well as our General Partner (GP) Advisory Council – our corporate launch helped to create a solid sales pipeline and significant demand, enabling us to evolve our product capabilities and sales process. This includes expanding our proactive marketing efforts – from paid digital advertising, to content-based marketing, to in-person and virtual events – and refining our customer service to ensure growth through word of mouth.

Joining Hands with Partners

A key lever for growing our brand and broadening our product reach has been in developing and deepening strategic partnerships with other leading organizations in the ESG space. Our growing network of partners include carbon accounting experts Persefoni and Climate Neutral, and consultants including risk and compliance firm K2. These partnerships have been crucial in supporting our efforts to open new client channels, enable data collection, streamline data usage, and collaborate on content. For example, we published a joint white paper with Persefoni in March and hosted a public webinar together in June, discussing the urgency of the climate crisis with a focus on leading standards, industry groups, and emerging reporting requirements.

Fostering Organizational Strength

None of these steps forward could have been taken without the support and leadership of our team, which continues to grow and effectively collaborate through the pandemic, a hybrid work environment, and a competitive hiring backdrop. Throughout our first year, Novata has focused deeply on corporate values, agreeing that as a team and organization we are committed to four key ideals: integrity, togetherness, agility, and longevity. As part of our efforts to align our corporate culture with our values, Novata has also established Employee Resource Groups internally to serve as support systems for the global team and feedback mechanisms to management.

What’s Next for Novata

In the coming months, Novata will be building on the momentum of the last year and continuing to work in close collaboration – as a team and with our consortium partners – to achieve our mission. As part of these efforts, the Novata team aims to:

  • Establish additional partnerships with key technology and sustainability firms in the ecosystem to broaden our offerings. 
  • Expand our metric library for companies and investors to include the metrics and guidance to track important topics such as human rights, biodiversity, and corruption.
  • Launch benchmarking services and continue to refine our analytic tools.
  • Work hand in hand with our customers through workshops and other learning tools to improve their ESG strategies and reporting.
  • Launch a series of webinars, educational resources, and tools to further support report requesters and reporters on their ESG disclosure journey.

Stay tuned for updates on our progress and the continued work of our team to build a more inclusive form of capitalism for all.