Unveiling the finalists of Sustaintech Xcelerator 2021

DBS Innovation
Published in
4 min readJun 15, 2021


As a cosmopolitan city with limited natural resources, Singapore has long recognised the need for sustainable innovation. DBS has launched a multitude of initiatives to help boost such innovation — one premiere example being the Sustaintech Xcelerator programme.

Co-organised with Google Cloud, the Centre for Nature-based Climate Solutions at the National University of Singapore (NUS), Temasek, the World Bank and Verra, Sustaintech Xcelerator is a six-month global virtual accelerator is aimed at increasing investor and buyer confidence in nature-based solutions (NbS).

As such, we are thrilled to announce and welcome the Sustaintech Xcelerator 2021 Cohort! The program kicked off in April, and our finalists will be showcasing their progress in July 2021, right before the Demo Day taking place over at Ecosperity Week on the 29th of September. Without further ado, we’d like you to meet our Sustaintech Xcelerator finalists and their respective mentors:

1. Cloud Argonomics
Cloud Agronomics is a technology company that produces solutions for players in the agriculture sector to improve soil health, offset emissions, and feed the planet well. They use hyperspectral imaging, satellite data, and machine learning to make food production more sustainable.

The founders discovered an innovation gap in agricultural analytics — prompting them to develop solutions that would provide scalable, accurate information about soil health. Based in Boulder, Colorado, Cloud Argonomics’ leaders have experience in global agribusiness, remote sensing science, and cutting-edge machine learning.

The mentors for Cloud Agronomics are Chandra Shekhar Sinha, Adviser of the Climate Change Group, and Bidyut Dumra, Executive Director and Head of Innovation at DBS.

FARM-TRACE is a purpose-driven company on a mission to catalyse investments into natural climate solutions. The FARM-TRACE platform connects food brands and corporate funders to verified climate impacts created by organisations working with small scale farmers. Over the last five years, the platform was built by Taking Root, an internationally renowned reforestation not-for-profit, which had seen first-hand the challenges that small scale farmers faced around monitoring and reporting.

FARM-TRACE consists of a small and extremely ambitious team of impact-driven experts in forestry, forest statistics, smallholder economics, remote sensing, business and technology development.

Bidyut Dumra, Executive Director and Head of Innovation at DBS, together with Jani Patokallio, Head of Solutions of Asia-Pacific at Google, are the mentors guiding FARM-TRACE through Sustaintech Xcelerator.

3. Rainforest Connection
Rainforest Connection (RFCx) created the world’s first scalable, real-time acoustic monitoring system for protecting and studying remote ecosystems. Unlike the usual imagery-based tracking and alert systems such as drones or satellites, RFCx’s approach relies on acoustic sensors (Guardians) to monitor biodiversity change and habitat threats 24 hours per day, 365 days a year.

With over six years of experience operating in threatened ecosystems worldwide, RFCx technology acts as a force multiplier, monitoring ecosystem change for a fraction of the cost.

The mentors who have provided invaluable insights to RFCx throughout the programme include Michael Marano, Technical Director at Google, and Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep (Harsh), Global Lead for Disruptive Technology in the Sustainable Development Practice Group of the World Bank.

4. Svlvera
Sylvera builds tools to help businesses ensure the carbon offsets that they buy are authentic. As the push towards net-zero grows, inefficient offset verification and limited transparency undermine the Carbon Market.

Sylvera’s vision is to reduce market friction and amplify confidence by transforming the monitoring of carbon offsets through improved accuracy and regularity, while lowering cost through advanced machine learning techniques applied to satellite data (images, data, LiDAR). The Sylvera team is a multi-disciplinary one, comprising of repeat entrepreneurs, environmental scientists, ML and data experts, and more.

Guiding Sylvera is the team at World Bank. The mentors include Nagaraja Rao Harshadeep (Harsh), Global Lead for Disruptive Technology in the Sustainable Development Practice Group, Andres Espejo, Senior Carbon Finance Specialist, and Chandra Shekhar Sinha, Adviser of the Climate Change Group.

5. Treevia Forest Technology
Treevia improves forest management while allowing carbon tracing by connecting the forest to the Internet.

Located in a country famed for its forests (Brazil), Treevia Forest Technologies aims to enable enhanced sustainable forest management, revolutionising how forest assets are measured and monitored around the world. To achieve their goals, Treevia developed “SmartForest”, a disruptive technology incorporating the latest cutting-edge technological trends such as IoT, big data and AI to take the forestry sector into a new digital era.

Andres Espejo, Senior Carbon Finance Specialist of the World Bank, together with Mauro Sauco, Director at Office of the CTO at Google, are the mentors assigned to Treevia to help bring their ideas to life.

The Sustaintech Xcelerator programme is now in full swing! Express your interest to join us at our public showcases this July, and learn more about the voluntary carbon market ecosystem, nature-based solutions, forestry MRV, soil MRV, biodiversity, co-benefits, etc. Our upcoming public showcase, Ecosperity Conversation, will be held on 2nd July 2021. Interested in joining? Click here to register!

Also, keep a look out for the upcoming exclusive interviews with each of the finalists, and stay updated on the latest Sustaintech Xcelerator progress by following us on @DBSInnovates!