Software with purpose

Companies will soon be required to calculate, disclose and reduce the carbon footprint of their products – but they don’t know how to do it. The startup greenable has developed a solution. The driving force behind the startup team? Purpose.

It all began with peanut curry and sushi. On a fall evening in 2020, Alexander David and Dr. Patrick Kölsch met at their favorite restaurant in the Kaiserslautern city center. Over a meal, the two industrial engineers talked about how the carbon footprint of products across entire supply chains and industries could be made more transparent.


The difficulty is: Not all companies in the supply chain are currently able to provide the data necessary for such a transparent process. While large companies have their own software departments for this, small and medium-sized companies often lack the know-how and the personnel. The two agreed that small and medium-sized businesses were in need of software they could use as easily as possible. By the time their plates were empty, Kölsch had convinced David to pursue the idea.


The two soon realized, however, that a startup plan like this would require reinforcements. After all: no IT knowledge, no software startup. So they convinced Lucas Hartmann, a friend and IT expert with whom Kölsch had worked at the university, to join them. Viktor Schiller, who had experience in the manufacturing industry and an affinity for finance, completed the team.

Support at the federal and state levels

After that, things happened fast. The four founders’ idea won the EXIST-Gründungsstipendium grant from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), which funded them for one year. At state level as well, the entrepreneurial quartet notched up successes. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate supports greenable with the start-up grant and the grant program startup innovativ. The bank Investitions- und Strukturbank Rheinland-Pfalz (ISB) also invested in the young company. And in December 2023, the startup received the Special Award for Young Businesses from Zukunftsinitiative Rheinland-Pfalz. In addition, the four founders were thrilled about an office in the Kaiserslautern Business & Innovation Center that was made possible by the Startup Support Camp.


Green footprint

It was here that the four began to develop their software. Software that aimed to make the world a little bit better, Alexander David explains: “From the beginning, we wanted to get something off the ground that would really make a difference.” In other words: purpose. The fact that David, Kölsch, Hartmann and Schiller are not just business partners but friends too, helps them in their day-to-day work.

The basic idea for software that could make supply chains transparent was one that Patrick Kölsch had had before the founding of greenable, while he was doing his doctorate at the RPTU Kaiserslautern. Back then, a research proposal of his was rejected, but the positive feedback for the idea itself (“Keep at it, this is a hot topic”) motivated him. It is indeed a hot topic: In just a few years the digital Product Passport will become mandatory. Companies will then have to disclose how much CO2 is in their products – from the procurement of raw materials to production to the product’s entire life cycle.


CO2 reduction made easy

The software from greenable makes precisely this possible. And easy: Companies only need to enter the product specifications, and the program automatically calculates the product’s carbon footprint. A company can then communicate the calculated value to the next step in the supply chain. The software thus makes it possible for small and mid-sized manufacturers to calculate, disclose and reduce their carbon footprint.


“It was important from the beginning that our software be intuitive and easy to use”


says Alexander David and points to a flat-screen monitor in a conference room. On it is a neat, clear user interface with harmonious colors and no frills.

Roots in Kaiserslautern

The company’s Product Carbon Footprint Monitor software is now available on the market, and the team has grown to 13 employees. The greenable headquarters is still in the Kaiserslautern Business & Innovation Center. Many aspiring startups work here: architecture firms, AI companies and software developers like greenable. Alexander David values the creative atmosphere: “The startups are all in various phases,” he explains. “Some are further along than we are, and we can get advice from them. Others are just getting started. But sharing ideas about our respective projects always brings us forward.”


“There are a lot of hidden champions here that are really exciting target customers for us. That’s a great opportunity for us and provides us with a lot of possibilities.”


Kaiserslautern is still the right location for David, Kölsch, Hartmann and Schiller’s startup – even though they don’t all live in the city anymore. They are from here and have their network here. “But most of all, small and medium-sized companies are particularly well represented in Rhineland-Palatinate,” David says. “There are a lot of hidden champions here that are really exciting target customers for us. That’s a great opportunity for us and provides us with a lot of possibilities.”



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