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Subak – World’s First Climate-Focused, Non-Profit Accelerator Launches

Subak launches today as the first global non-profit accelerator to combat the climate emergency.

Subak selects, funds and scales organisations which want to work collectively to keep the planet habitable, using shared data, infrastructure and tools. It connects the best tech, environmental and science talent to drive mass behaviour and policy change.

Subak will support data scientists and campaigners to transform understanding of the climate problem and drive change. The members’ coal tracking map and electric car sales tool already have an impact on global policy. Subak’s founders include environmental pioneer Baroness Bryony Worthington and ex-Google DeepMind and Songkick tech builders.

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Co-founder Baroness Bryony Worthington, a lead author of the UK’s Climate Change Act, said: “We need more people devoted to the task of fighting the climate emergency, and we need more support for people with radical world-changing ideas to grow and scale. A climate accelerator for data-focused organisations has the potential to influence policy and legislation and change the way people act. It is vital to harness and share data and skills and we’re delighted so many talented people have agreed to work together to help make this initiative a reality.”

The Subak accelerator is home to the following founding organisations:

  • New AutoMotive is a transport research group that supports the rapid uptake of electric vehicles in the UK by opening up data about the transition. It helped support the government decision to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK from 2030.  It has developed new tools including the Electric Car Count which splits electric vehicle sales data by manufacturer and region to track progress and hosts ElectricCar.Guide, a consumer guide to EVs which uses tools like a novel cost-saving estimator that creates personalised costs, tailored to a person’s own vehicle usage.
  • TransitionZero is harnessing satellite data to provide insight into global energy markets. Its recent Turning the Supertanker report assessing China’s ambition to reach Net Zero by 2060 was hailed by former US Vice President Al Gore as “ground-breaking”.
  •       Ember has built the first open-source dataset of global power generation with maps showing global coal flows from mines to power and steel plants. It is using these tools to influence policy to end the use of coal power globally. It also exposed the cost of subsidising a power giant’s wood-burning power plant in North Yorkshire – more than £30 billion – equivalent to £500 for every British home.
  •       Open Climate Fix, co-founded by former Google DeepMind machine learning engineer Dr Jack Kelly, has been awarded funding from Google.Org to support its work in forecasting solar electricity generation to help optimise the grid.
  •       Climate Policy Radar is mapping and analysing the climate policy landscape globally using machine learning and AI to support evidence-based policymaking. It will build on the work that founder Dr Michal Nachmany did at the Grantham Research Institute at LSE where she led the work to map national climate legislation in every country in the world.

Subak has a growing global network with operations underway in the US and Australia. Around 500 members and fellows are projected to join the international network in the next five years. Its leaders include:

  • Baroness Bryony Worthington, co-director of the Quadrature Climate Fund, the anchor funder of the Subak initiative.
  • Michelle You is an entrepreneur and co-founder of Songkick, a live music and ticketing app that was funded by Y Combinator, Index, and Sequoia and was acquired by Warner Music. She previously was a venture partner at Local Globe VC and invests in climate tech.
  • Gi Fernando, MBE, serial entrepreneur and investor, was one of the pioneers of algorithmic social media advertising. His first company Techlightenment was bought by Experian and he was at the forefront of the Silicon Roundabout tech boom in the early noughties.
  • Steve Crossan was head of product at Google DeepMind and spent a decade at Google working on Maps, Gmail and Search.

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What Inspired Subak’s Inception?

Baroness Bryony Worthington was inspired to launch Subak after reading about the cooperative water management system developed for Indonesian rice fields in the 9th Century in Roland Kupers’ book ‘A Climate Policy Revolution’. The system allowed for the sharing of critical resources to ensure the survival and growth of the community. Baroness Worthington saw the potential for organisations to collaborate and share data, infrastructure and skills to speed progress.

Subak selects, funds and scales non-profit organisations that are tackling climate change through open-source data. The community will allow Subak members, fellows and other organisations to develop stronger environmental insights and opportunities to measure climate impact. Subak seeded £250k and its founding members have already raised over £8.5 Million in funding, while delivering remarkable data-driven achievements. Individual Subak fellows can receive a £10k grant with an idea for an innovative, data-driven climate project. Fellows receive selected access to Subak support and learning resources. Subak is based at County Hall on the banks of the Thames alongside a growing hub of sustainable tech startups.

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Subak Member Accelerator Program 

The Subak member accelerator programme is open to early-stage non-profits that have ambitions to scale their impact. Tackling climate change must be the organisation’s core mission, with data being an integral part of its approach. Organizations will get top-level access and advice, in addition, to learning in six months what would usually take five years. Subak will seed fund the organisation and will line up funders for demo days.  

Subak Fellowship Program 

The Subak fellowship offers individuals up to £10k grant funding to conduct innovative climate-focused data projects. The programme provides an opportunity to drive personal impact on climate change. The program is open to researchers, data scientists and employees from corporations who will dedicate their time to create open data resources that address real-world climate issues. Fellows will learn from a like-minded community and if they wish to can use it as a stepping stone onto the accelerator program.

Subak Is Funded by Quadrature Climate Foundation 

Quadrature Climate Foundation (QCF) was launched by Quadrature Capital Limited in 2019, committing a portion of annual profits to fight the climate emergency. Its mission is to urgently shift the current global climate trajectory towards a better future through philanthropic giving and the persuasion of others to join in the effort.

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