May 19, 2022

Startups and Sustainability: Interview with MUGO

Our “Startups and Sustainability” interview series continues with a third guest.

For this episode, we had the pleasure of interviewing Benedetto Ruggeri, co-founder and CEO of MUGO. The company’s goal? To create the first climate-neutral generation.

Read all about it below.

How did MUGO come about?

MUGO was born out of the desire of four mountain-loving entrepreneurs to take on one of the greatest challenges of our time: the fight against climate change.

I have been dealing with sustainability at my company for several years, starting from the world of consulting. With MUGO, I wanted to create something that, through the use of technology, could help people to understand and reduce their impact on the climate.

Where did the name MUGO come from?

MUGO took its name from the evergreen shrub Pinus mugo, a small tree typical of the Alps that is able to absorb carbon dioxide in large quantities and thus contribute to the fight against climate change. We liked the parallels between a startup, a small organization with strong potential for growth, and a mugo pine, a small shrub that can make a difference.

What services do you offer?

MUGO works with its partner companies to transform the climate impact of consumers and workers. We are active in the Italian and European market with two services: MUGO HR, designed to prepare the corporate population for the changes that sustainability strategies and green transition are bringing to companies and the market; and MUGO Retail, developed for large-scale retail and e-commerce.

Are you creating new sustainable shopping experiences? Increasing awareness among your employees? Creating zero climate–impact teams? Working toward decarbonization goals? We want to work with our clients to achieve these goals!

How do you support the fight against climate change?

Thanks to MUGO, it is possible to measure, reduce, and zero out the climate impact of products, services, and even lifestyles through our HR and Retail platforms. These actions are those identified by the United Nations to achieve carbon neutrality goals and, consequently, prevent the average global temperature from increasing by more than 1.5°C, the level beyond which the effects of the climate crisis would be irreversible. Working with companies that have chosen to share our vision helps us leverage the awareness of as many people as possible: new sustainable habits, virtuous lifestyles, and low climate impact are essential steps to making a difference.

You created the MUGO HR platform. Have you achieved satisfactory results and feedback? Are companies more aware of their climate impact?

MUGO HR is a solution that accompanies a company’s employees on a journey to measure, understand, and reduce their impact on the climate.

In just six months we have involved more than 2,000 employees and worked in Italy and in the European Union with companies such as Discovery Italia, the Italian insurance group HDI Assicurazioni, and the multinational Octo Telematics. Thanks to MUGO HR, some companies have also worked on their corporate policies, focusing on sustainability for their employees and improving internal communication processes and employee engagement programs.

How does the latest MUGO Retail project work?

MUGO Retail was born out of thinking about the context of a supermarket or e-commerce site: physical and virtual spaces that are symbols of consumption.

This is technology guides consumers to a new sustainable shopping experience in-store and online. Three out of four consumers would like to reduce the impact of their lifestyles, starting with their shopping carts (according to the 2019 Nielsen study A “Natural” Rise in Sustainability Around the World), so we want to make the climate footprints of all products visible on the shelf, guiding people to more sustainable shopping choices.

Price, raw materials, and geographical origin are information we commonly consider before a purchase, but how sustainable is the product I have in my hand? MUGO Retail is able to calculate that and show it on every touchpoint along the consumer’s purchasing path, for example, on the shelf, on the receipt, on an e-commerce product page, or even by linking it to the retailer’s loyalty system.

What have you achieved in the past year? Are you satisfied?

In year 2021 we entered the market with our first product. We were immediately able to work with large companies in Italy and Europe involving more than 2,000 people.

We also worked on refining our measurement and calculation algorithms and during the year developed the MUGO Retail product, which will be launched in early 2022. At the end of the year, we formalized our partnership with Patch, one of the most important players in the decarbonization market; working with Patch we will be able to scale our business more quickly and dynamically.

So, we are very pleased with what we have been able to accomplish, and we are just getting started!

What are your plans for the future? Do you have any short-term investment rounds planned?

In the future, our goal is to grow, giving more and more people and companies the opportunity to reduce their impact on the climate via our services. To do this, we are working on building a network of partners with whom we share values and a desire to respond to the needs of companies and individuals.

This year we are also planning an investment round that will give us the opportunity to accelerate growth and strengthen our presence in the Italian market.

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Welcome to the Portolano Cavallo Startup and Venture Capital blog, focusing on key legal issues and market trends affecting startups and the venture capital industry.
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Our enthusiastic and passionate team of professionals will provide newsinsight, and multidisciplinary commentary on the hottest and most recent provisions of law and investment and market and contractual trends in the startup and venture capital sector with an eye not only to the Italian market but to the entire European and international ecosystem.

This blog will be a place for sharing information and experiences related to the launch of new innovative businesses, discussing the different characteristics of investment rounds in the seed, early stage, and growth phases, and looking at trends in venture capital transactions.

The main purpose of this blog is to contribute to the growth of the Italian venture capital ecosystem by helping the Italian community develop domestic and international connections.

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