Startup Spotlight: EcoCart

All Things Venture #021

Hey Everyone - Dez here from All Things Venture. First of all, great news everyone. The pandemic *knocks on wood* is coming to an end. Our good pal Joe Biden announced last week that the US will have enough supply of vaccines, “for every adult in America by the end of May.” Hot damn. That’s incredible, it’s an amazing milestone for our country and well deserved. But we can’t be complacent. The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly shown me that, when truly challenged, the human population, the global population can and will adapt. Through hell or high water life will go on, but what are we going to do if the actual challenge is hell or high water?

2020 was recorded as the warmest year on record and we’ve continued to see extreme weather occurring as a result of the sustained damage we’ve done to our climate, most of which has occurred since the mid-20th century. Make no mistake, climate change is here, climate change is real, and climate change requires our attention. Climate change requires our actions, which is easier said than done. Look, I totally get it, as adults we are all asked to take care of our health, our jobs, our relationships, our friendships, our families, and a myriad of other activities. At times, life, the multitude of responsibilities we all have, can be overwhelming, and it’s not like there’s an Amazon Prime membership for saving the environment.  But there is EcoCart, which is the subject for today’s newsletter. I had the opportunity to sit down with Dane Baker, one of the co-founders of EcoCart. Dane is a serial entrepreneur with a background in e-commerce and venture, and we talked a bit about where Ecocart is today and where they plan on going in the future. Check out our conversation below.

All Things Venture: What is EcoCart?

Dane: EcoCart is on a mission to make the fight against climate change easy, affordable, and accessible so that everyone can do their part. EcoCart makes shopping online more sustainable by automatically calculating and offsetting the carbon footprint of online shopping orders at the point of purchase. We have a solution for businesses that plugs right into their eCommerce website and we have a solution for consumers that they can install right into their browser. 

All Things Venture: What led you to build EcoCart?

Dane: I've always believed strongly that entrepreneurship is the best vehicle for making positive change in the world. Previously, my co-founder and I started an online peer-to-peer rental marketplace because we thought that renting, in stark contrast to consumption, was a far greater net benefit for the environment - especially with high-plastic items like kayaks, snowboards, etc. Ultimately, as we scaled it became incredibly complicated and expensive to maintain sustainability rigor. We tried everything from hiring consultants to go through our business operations, to buying offsets. Everything was incredibly complicated and expensive and so we knew that there was a big need in the market for a solution.

All Things Venture: How did you all go about figuring out the carbon footprint of an online shopping order?

Dane: We’ve developed a proprietary algorithm that estimates the amount of carbon emissions required to produce a given product, from a given supplier. We’ve worked extensively with scientists and consultants leading the fight against climate change to make sure we’re able to provide our consumers with an accurate estimation on how to offset their carbon footprint. 

All Things Venture: Who do you believe EcoCart is best positioned for? 

Dane: EcoCart is truly making the fight against climate change easy, affordable, and accessible so that everyone can do their part. We are truly democratizing what it means to shop and ultimately live sustainably. Sustainable shopping and living traditionally has been reserved for only a certain subset of consumers due to financial constraints. EcoCart is looking to really break down that preconceived notion.

All Things Venture: What are some of the challenges that you face at the current stage for Ecocart?

Dane: We have grown really quickly and have experienced a bit of growing pains in the past. We are now starting to think about what will look like 2 to 3 years down the road and starting to plan for that from an organizational and management perspective.

All Things Venture: What defines success for EcoCart over the next few months?

Dane: EcoCart is incredibly focused on integrating with as many merchants as possible over the next few months, as well as on boarding as many consumers onto our platform as we can, so we can truly make the biggest impact that we possibly can on the planet.

All Things Venture: What advice do you have for any aspiring entrepreneur?

Dane: It’s all about passion. Running a startup is a hard life - there is nothing easy about it and times truly get tough. Therefore, the absolute most important aspect of running a successful startup is “the why.” Why are you setting out to do what you’re doing? You need to be obsessively passionate about your business and the problem it’s solving and that will push you through any challenge you face.