Fires, floods, drought, heatwaves, unseasonal and devastating storms, pollution. There is a long list of impacts (and it doesn’t stop there) that our global community is increasingly experiencing, pointing to our changing climate as the number one threat facing humanity.
What’s less well understood are the consequences of decades of significant-impact human activity on our planet’s biological diversity — a fragile, interdependent ecosystem on which all life depends. Even more importantly, this risk has a direct price, with the monetary value of the goods and services provided by our biodiverse ecosystems each year amounting to about US$33 trillion.
While in more recent years, the attention of corporations, NGOs and governments has focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) planning and broader sustainability, the direct focus on biodiversity impact, measurement and improvement has never been more important.
The biggest challenge facing conservation management organisations and progressive corporations already turning their attention to biodiversity efforts is the lack of bespoke tools and technologies aimed at improving the efficacy, accuracy and multi-stakeholder collaboration required to make these programs successful.
Xylo Systems exists to serve this nascent yet rapidly growing market through its unique cloud-based platform to collect, track and manage data, as well as connect conservation projects globally and exponentially improve their chance of positive impact.
It takes just one call with the Xylo Systems founders Camille Goldstone-Henry and Jada Andersen to be totally convinced of the scale of the problem they are trying to solve, and the size of their opportunity to address it. It takes about the same amount of time to feel compelled to help them succeed in their mission.
The founders bring deep insight into and experience with the problem they are addressing, with Camille’s wildlife conservation and project management expertise, Jada’s background in ecology science combined with a technical and product proficiency, along with their shared observations of the broken system of conservation management.
This insight combined with their lean product thinking and approach to building a more scrappy minimum viable product, while simultaneously selling to customers, demonstrates they have the hustle and bias to action we value so highly in successful founders.
Throughout the Startmate program, Camille and Jada have shown themselves to be hungry for mentorship and feedback, determined to learn, and open to constantly iterating on their approach and process as they consolidate feedback from both customers and advisors. While this intense feedback process can be overwhelming for many, the Xylo founders have continued to demonstrate the single-minded passion for their mission, resilience to obstacles and the clear strategic thinking that won over Startmate mentors through the selection process.
The magnitude of the problems we face as a species due to threats to biodiversity is a very compelling driver — but this is not at the expense of a significant commercial value proposition. Xylo System’s beachhead market of conservation management organisations is critically underserved by technology and hamstrung by lengthy and complex project timelines, which results in inefficiencies and reduced gains in conservation efforts. Positive reception to Xylo’s offering through customer discovery and uptake on trial participation shows strong signals here
Perhaps more important is the size of the opportunity beyond this initial market, as organisations of every size and shape around the world begin to understand and tackle their role in biodiversity and conservation management efforts. With initial customer interest in the construction and retail sectors, Xylo is well-positioned as a niche vertical SaaS play with a broader opportunity to both expand its own offerings as well as integrate with adjacent technologies (project management, collaborative communication tools, data insights visualisation and reporting).
While environmental and conservation efforts have been fringe or relegated to the realms of ‘impact only’ for the longest time, the reality is conservation management is a large and growing industry. Conservation industry specialists and broader industry segments are turning their attention to biodiversity impacts and their role in conservation efforts and this trend will only increase.
Corporations around the world are already responsible for increased ESG reporting requirements and strategic plans toward net zero/positive — and this responsibility will only get more weighty as regulatory pressure increases. However, we still lack the tools and infrastructure to accurately track and manage a large percentage of the critical work required to get us there.
A cloud-based conservation and biodiversity-focused data management platform like Xylo — bridging data gaps, improving communication between complex project stakeholders and enriching the outcomes of conservation efforts at a global scale — has never been more urgent or important.