The 25-person start-up Hara Software, which came out of stealth mode yesterday after 18 months, is a hot commodity. Their software can track not only the carbon footprint for a large corporation, but monitor a business' entire environmental impact from laptop to long-haul truck. Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers invested $6 million in venture capital thanks to a recommendation from partner Al Gore, and the product is already used by 12 organizations, including Coca-Cola and the City of Palo Alto.
Hara CEO Amit Chatterjee says the software, "is focused on understanding organizational metabolism, the input and output of natural resources and energy." Hara—"Fresh green" in Sanskrit—tracks use of electricity, water, chemicals, and gas, and compares it to outputs of waste water, greenhouse gas, and solid waste. The software identifies the "low-hanging fruit", or the simplest ways to cut energy use and waste, along with longer-term goals. Hara tracks about 1,000 objects (i.e a truck or a computer) for an average mid-sized company, with 26,000 lines of associated data.
Such complex software doesn't come cheap. Chatterjee says that Hara software costs in the low six figures, with price variations based on number of modules and facilities. But the investment pays off quickly for most large organizations—Palo Alto has already used the software to cut $2.2 million in waste and energy costs. Hara will probably have staying power, as its biggest competitors are manual tools like Microsoft Excel. Companies that don't want to go through the hassle of inputting and calculating environmental footprint data for hundreds or thousands of objects are likely to deploy Hara Software instead.