We recently wrapped our 2022 Everyday Economy Accelerator program. To celebrate this cohort’s graduation, we will be spotlighting each team on the NextView blog over the course of the next few weeks.
These interviews were conducted halfway through the 12-week program, and they provide a human snapshot into the minds of our driven, dedicated, determined accelerator founders. Real people, building real companies, which are really redesigning the Everyday Economy. So without further ado, let’s jump right in and meet Connor, shall we?
Company: Caesar Sustainability
Founder: Connor Cash
“Businesses of all sizes are thinking about sustainability and corporate responsibility more deeply than ever before. We’re excited to back Caesar, which is creating the software layer that has the potential to become the “system of record” and primary business intelligence application for corporate ESG data.” – Lee Hower
Get to know the business
Rachel Hodes (RH): What problem exists in the market that your business is trying to solve?
Connor Cash (CC): ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) has become a crucial part of corporate strategy, yet companies lack the tools and resources to collect and track this highly scrutinized ESG data. Investors, customers, regulators, and all key stakeholders are demanding more transparent corporate sustainability disclosures. To meet these demands, the historical practice of manually collecting this data does not scale and results in inefficient reporting that is difficult to audit and easily misrepresented. With every company’s ESG performance coming under a microscope, manual data collection with poor data oversight and governance is not the solution.
RH: How is your company planning to solve this problem?
CC: Caesar’s ESG data platform transforms the inefficient and manual processes that exist today into streamlined transparent workflows to increase the speed and defensibility of corporate ESG data. By enabling simpler, more robust ESG data to be collected in shorter amounts of time, Caesar enables companies to not only have better controls in place for their data, but also be able to derive insights from that data.
RH: Who are your customers?
CC: Our customers are companies that are collecting, managing, and tracking their ESG data.
RH: And last but not least, why should the world care about this problem and how you’re solving it? Feel free to speak to the potential economic impacts, environmental impacts, social/political impacts, etc.
CC: When we talk about leaving the world in a better place for future generations, we hold each other accountable to ensure we are all doing our part. Companies are not exempt from this responsibility or accountability, and are on the path to becoming more accountable for their actions. We are seeing this shift to a long-term investor perspective with more capital flowing to more sustainable businesses. The truth is that companies cannot drive long-term sustainability if they do not have access to good internal data on their performance. You can’t act on what you can’t measure. Caesar enables companies to access high-quality ESG data with ease so that they can make more sustainable decisions and incorporate sustainability into each area of their business.
Get to know the founder
RH: Please introduce yourself.
CC: Hey! I’m Connor Cash, the founder of Caesar and I grew up outside of Boston but currently live in DC!
RH: What’s your favorite thing about being an early-stage founder? And your least?
CC: Being a founder is a rollercoaster ride.
My favorite part is how many different hats I wear. I’ve learned and grown more as a leader than I ever could have imagined. One hour I’m deep into product development, the next I’m thinking about our hiring needs and recruiting, to the next on a sales call. This constantly brings about new and exciting challenges and areas of growth that make every day different and unique.
My least favorite is that I can’t turn off the switch in my brain to stop thinking about Caesar. I frequently wake up at 4am with my to-do list running through my mind. While most of the time this just eats into my sleep schedule, sometimes I have great thoughts and work through a blockage that early.
RH: What show are you watching right now/what book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it?
CC: Ted Lasso is a show that is at the top of my list of recent watches and is due for a rewatch soon. I would definitely recommend it to any and everyone!
RH: What are you hoping to learn/get out of your time in the NextView Everyday Economy Accelerator?
CC: Mentorship and growth as a founder to better set up Caesar for success. As a first-time founder, the comfort in knowing that I can bounce ideas off of experienced operators and investors is huge. Sometimes, the founder journey can feel like you are navigating the unknown without a compass or a map, but I am hoping to continue to soak up as much information, advice, and mentorship from the NextView Ventures team. I am also looking forward to the relationships built with the other founders in the accelerator that support one another along the ups and downs of building a new company from the ground up!
RH: Close your eyes and imagine where your business will be in five years. What’s the same and what’s different?
CC: In five years, the biggest difference in our business is the impact we are having. The scale of our impact will outpace the growth in our business: the more companies we help along their sustainability journey, the greater the insights they will derive from our platform, unlocking more opportunities for aligning strategic direction with long-term sustainability performance. Today sustainability and ESG are still very nascent within companies, with regulatory bodies and frameworks still being set in stone. This uncertainty can make it challenging to operate as a startup, but has built in great flexibility into our business at its core.
Our mission to enable a more just and sustainable society through corporate sustainability will be the same. Our goals are long term, and in five years we’ll have the same directive as we do now, the method in which we do that won’t necessarily be a straight line, but our mission alignment will be the same!