Deal To Watch: Certifiably Is Disrupting A $6 TRILLION Industry With Sustainability

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In recent years, we have seen a significant rise in the number of businesses focused on the triple bottom line, which refers to social, environmental, and economic impact. In this climate of consumer activism driven by a combination of access to data and growing populations, which are putting more strain on the environment, we have seen consumers become more insistent on businesses doing well and doing good.


In a 2014 study analyzing US and UK companies, it was estimated that over $15B a year was spent by organizations on corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategies. In addition to growing consumer sentiment demanding change in corporate behavior, there has also been several studies completed to suggest that these types of strategies actually lead to better long term business outcomes.


Take this visual from Aspiration, an innovative new bank focused on building financial products that incorporate corporate social responsibility, which shows  that from 1994 to 2014, companies, which invested in sustainability initiatives more than doubled the growth of companies, which did not do the same.

Source: Aspiration

With more data driven studies and consumer demand pushing large corporations to adapt to a new age of consumer activism, it is likely that we will only see increased focus on this topic moving forward and thus continued investment in this space as well.


If corporations are truly going to execute on the vision of implementing more corporate responsibility and triple bottom lines into their business model, then they will have to prove a willingness to not only ensure internal CSR controls but also external controls.


What I mean by that is that the $6.6 trillion dollars in 2020 global e-commerce procurement sales that occur between businesses will need to reflect a culture of social responsibility.


Incidents like that of Apple’s relationship with Foxconn, which took advantage of poor Chinese labor practices and Nike’s labor sourcing issues in the early 2000’s will become increasingly intolerable by the American consumer.


That is where the Certifiably e-commerce B2B procurement platform focused on bringing together similarly minded organizations that care about CSR can transact with the knowledge that they are buying from organizations that reflect their own values.


he Solution


Certifiably wants to provide a third-party B2B e-commerce platform that enables procurement departments to find and purchase from other certified value-driven businesses. Be it women owned businesses, B-corps, LGBTQ owned businesses and more, Certifiably wants to make it easy to connect buyers and sellers with similar values across corporations.


Source: Certifiably

As we move beyond the basics of doing well and doing good, corporations are increasingly pushed to focus on their complete supply chain to ensure they are acting with a sustainable and ethical lense.


Certifiably takes the guesswork out of it with a 3rd party platform that vets organizations and ensures they meet certain sustainability metrics. Think Amazon Business with a sustainability lens.


Go-To-Market Strategy


To get the platform off the ground, Certifiably is creating a SaaS subscription models where corporations pay to have their rating featured and to list products for sale. Though the recurring revenue model is attractive and reasonable for developing early traction, we think the opportunity really lies in the longer term transaction model.


Once they gain enough market traction and presence, Certifiably will have the opportunity to charge transaction fees on all sales completed on the platform. With over $6 trillion in global procurement sales, the oppo rtunity to become a massive market participant on transaction fees alone is tremendous.


The key challenge will be driving early adopters to make the platform relevant. Based on our discussions with management the progress being made in this arena looks very promising for creating real movement early on. A few large corporations can set the entire business in motion, as these early adopters will become feeders for SMEs to join the movement and drive even further adoption.


With almost 72% of supplier diversity managers agreeing that it is quite challenging for them to find diverse suppliers, we think Certifiably meets a real need.


Attractiveness of the B2B e-commerce space


In 2016, over $140M was invested in US B2B e-commerce startups and we think the market is ripe for startups investing in CSR initiatives especially as it relates to procurement.


Companies like Suplari, which provides AI driven decision making to help reduce cost associated with the massive problem of inefficient B2B procurement spending, has raised over $10M in VC funding. This Series A is an example of how Certifiably can be expected to be received by the investment markets in the coming year or two.

Why We Like it

  1.  Large Market Opportunity: With trillions transacted between businesses the market opportunity to become even a niche procurement e-commerce platform for the B2B space is attractive. With no sustainability minded platforms out there today, we think Certifiably can benefit from a first-mover advantage.
  2. Increasing Demand: As the move to become more socially conscientious as an organization grows and with more focus on how bottom lines and top lines are impacted by being genuine and true through all facets of the business we think Certifiably is well positioned to meet the growing need to work with a certified 3rd party provider.
  3. Unique Marketplace: Amazon Business is currently completing over $10B in sales on a yearly basis, however they have not figured out how to certify B-corps., female owned businesses and sustainably minded partners, which means that Certifiably has a unique market niche. Whether it stands alone or is eventually acquired, we like that they have a specific moat to that of Amazon, and we think positions it for a better successful exit and return for investors.

The Founder

The Founder & CEO, Anne Chambers spent over 10 years at P&G in their beauty care division and knows first hand the challenge faced by large CPG companies in this day and age as they work to create clean labels for their products.


She has also spent time running her own certified B-corp. brand agency Red212 working on behalf of major clients including P&G and Fresh Express creating engaging marketing campaigns for sustainably minded businesses.


Her passion for sustainability, her entrepreneurial drive, which has enabled her to thrive in creating a successful brand marketing agency, and her experience/ relationships at a large CPG firm all position Anne well to execute on her current vision for Certifiably.


The Recommendation: Deal To Watch


Certifiably is recommended as a Deal To Watch on KingsCrowd because it meets a beckoning need with a B2B solution that provides an easy way to certify and enable CSR compliant procurement. This is something that will continue to recieve more attention in the years to come and we think Certifiably is well positioned to be an early mover in the space.


You can imagine if it attracts even a handful of Fortuner 500 organizations that it will have chance to thrive as a standalone business or be acquired by a platform like Amazon that is looking to have tailored offerings for its customers needs. Either way we think the return profile on the attractively priced Certifiably will present meaningful exit opportunities.


The reason we have slotted the organization into the Deal To Watch category is out of concern that the team will be able to acquire enough corporations to make the platform really have value. 4 to 5 major Fortune 500’s should move the needle in their favor. Early signs are promising but betting on acquiring several does require a certain leap of faith.


This will be key to its success and long term viability.

About: Chris Lustrino

A Boston College Eagle for life, on a mission to democratize startup investing for all people at KingsCrowd, with a passion for Fintech, investing, social impact, doing well and doing good, and an avid runner, cyclist and writer.

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Deal To Watch: Certifiably Is Disrupting A $6 TRILLION Industry With Sustainability
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