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Yard Stick Secures $10.6 Million for its Soil Carbon Measurement Technology

In a pivotal stride towards combatting climate change and fostering sustainable agriculture, Yard Stick PBC, a trailblazing soil carbon measurement technology company, has announced an impressive $10.6 million in Series A funding. The funding round, spearheaded by Toyota Ventures Climate Fund, boasts participation from an array of esteemed investors, including the Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, Lowercarbon Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Pillar VC, as well as a diverse group of climate-committed founders, angels, and family offices. This capital injection propels Yard Stick's total venture capital funding to an impressive tally of over $16 million, signifying a robust backing for its pioneering mission.

Yard Stick's innovative endeavors are centered on capturing soil carbon—an endeavor that offers multifaceted benefits, ranging from enhanced soil quality for farmers to the invaluable climate gains of sequestering atmospheric carbon within the earth. Chris Tolles, co-founder and CEO of Yard Stick, articulated the significance of their work by explaining that the company is reducing the cost of measuring soil carbon by 70-90% while simultaneously elevating the analytical rigor compared to prevailing measurement techniques. This groundbreaking technology has already been put to the test in collaboration with some of the world's largest carbon soil programs, demonstrating its potential with farmers and ranchers. The infusion of funds will catapult Yard Stick from its beta phase into full-fledged commercial deployment, propelling their mission to new heights.

Central to Yard Stick's groundbreaking approach is its comprehensive soil carbon measurement solution, which encompasses proprietary hardware and software components. Their spectral hardware is designed to eliminate the labor-intensive and time-consuming practices associated with traditional soil sampling methods. This cloud-enabled, handheld device utilizes decades of soil science literature as its foundation, providing instant measurements of soil organic carbon to depths of up to a meter.

A cornerstone of Yard Stick's solution is the stratification engine—an automated system that facilitates the stratification of project fields and generates statistically sound sample plans in alignment with the intricate requirements of major soil carbon protocols. This aspect ensures precision and accuracy in measurements, bolstering the credibility of their data.

The company's field data platform serves as the digital hub where real-time measurement data is collected, stored, and made instantly accessible to various stakeholders. This ensures that project data remains secure, auditable, and easily shareable. Yard Stick's users can access a live dashboard, which allows them to comprehensively understand project progress, quantify carbon stocks and changes, and seamlessly communicate this vital information with key stakeholders, including growers, registries, verifiers, and corporate carbon buyers.

The significance of Yard Stick's breakthrough technology is underscored by Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund's Senior Director, Brandon Middaugh, who emphasized the importance of robust measurement, reporting, and verification in carbon markets. He expressed that Yard Stick's spectral technology addresses critical challenges in soil carbon measurement, ultimately facilitating the expansion of scientifically rigorous carbon markets.

Yard Stick's announcement of its Series A funding comes at a time of remarkable growth for the company. Notably, in 2022, the startup secured $18 million from the USDA Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative. This initiative has propelled their soil carbon measurement efforts across six projects spanning numerous states and millions of acres. Furthermore, Yard Stick's innovative technology aligns with the recent revision to VM0042, Verra's flagship soil carbon protocol, which explicitly endorses the use of Yard Stick's VisNIR spectroscopy for soil carbon measurement in Verra projects.

In the months ahead, Yard Stick is set to showcase its spectral probe's performance at the Soil Science Society of America's annual meeting, followed by the publication of its results. With a formidable backing and a technology that promises to reshape the landscape of carbon measurement, Yard Stick stands poised to contribute significantly to the global fight against climate change, fostering sustainable practices in agriculture and beyond.


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