This North Carolina cleantech startup is helping the business world get to net-zero

A month after President Biden signed an executive order effectively mandating companies to disclose their climate risk, one Durham-based cleantech startup is poised to lead the charge.

“[We’ ve] been scaling to prepare for this very moment,” says The Climate Service (TCS) co-founder James McMahon. “Our mission is to embed climate risk data into every decision on the planet and facilitate the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy.”

With a team of experts, including four Nobel Prize-winning scientists and partners like IBM and Aon,  TCS has built a scalable SaaS platform, Climanomic, that helps other companies quantify their climate risk and “treat climate risks like any other business risks — such as cyber or political — and report to regulators and investors,” adds McMahon.

As a whole, McMahon says climate risk is estimated to cost financial markets $23 trillion between now and 2050.  Understanding this risk means leveraging experts from multiple disciplines, from physics to economics to technology.

Physical risks are the direct costs related to the impacts of weather, floods, droughts, and natural disasters on operations, immovable property, and real assets. Transition risks relate to the financial impacts of policies and regulations, emerging technologies, reputational shifts, and litigation.

“But most corporations don’t have climatologists on staff, let alone climate economists,” McMahon says. “[Climanomics] models the climate-related financial risk of assets anywhere on earth, from any time between now and the end of the century, for nearly any type of asset,” says McMahon.

Prior to co-founding TCS, McMahon served as a senior advisor to the director of Asheville’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NOAA) and CEO of The Collider climate center, also located in Asheville.

Already, TCS says it counts “some of the world’s largest banks, asset managers, real estate investors, Fortune 500 firms, and public bodies including the US Federal Government, as clients.”

The company says it only expects that figure to grow and is scaling to meet the demand.

To date, TCS has raised a $2 million seed round and a $3.8M Series A round. Key Investors include Persei Venture LLC; MBP Climate LLC; and Wells Fargo Startup Accelerator, LLC.

It has 25 employees with offices in Durham and New York and recently beefed up its team by adding two senior scientists.

Among them: Dr. James Kossin, a former atmospheric research scientist in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Center for Weather and Climate; and Dr. Timothy Hall, a former senior scientist with the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City.

“The company is building a global sales force, creating analytics products for new asset classes and industry segments, and enhancing the existing products to meet the growing demand,” McMahon.

“The company is looking forward to supporting our customers as they respond to growing pressures from investors and regulators to measure, manage, monitor, and disclose climate-related financial risks.”


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Photo by NOAA on Unsplash