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Meet Kyle Graycar of Decarbon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyle Graycar.

Hi Kyle, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Growing up in the SF Bay Area, my appreciation for nature started from family hiking trips around Lake Tahoe and long cross-country runs around my hometown of Pacifica. I first really started to understand the seriousness of climate change in my senior year of high school in an environmental science course. Back then in 2010, we were about to cross the global threshold of 350 ppm (parts per million) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — which scientists marked as the first point of measurable climate change.

Attending UCLA and majoring in Environmental Science, I obtained a deeper understanding of all the scientific and social intricacies of sustainability. It was a really broad major so I struggled at first to find my career path, but I was really inspired by my classmates and club-mates in E3, the sustainability student group on campus. Back then in 2014, we just crossed the threshold of 400 ppm of CO2 — another marker that scientists determined meant there’d be unavoidable and serious effects from climate change.

Fast forward eight years and I’ve landed on mission-driven companies being a promising method for inspiring action and actually making a difference in curbing climate change. I’ve learned that responding to climate change is an “all hands on deck” kind of emergency; but I hope that my app, Decarbon, can contribute one piece to the puzzle by educating and empowering anyone to understand their climate impact. We’re now at almost 420 ppm CO2 in the atmosphere.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
Since I started Decarbon in January 2020, the road has actually been relatively smooth compared to other startups I’ve worked with. I think there’s two big reasons for that.

For one, I began Decarbon as a passion project in my spare time while I continued to work full-time for Magoosh, a Berkeley-based ed tech company. I also continue to work part-time in freelance product marketing, which enables me to not stress out completely about paying the bills. I hope to take the leap into focusing on Decarbon with 100% of my time, but this hybrid work situation has helped smooth what’s often a bumpy road for founders.

Second, I’ve been extremely fortunate to have friends and family who’ve supported Decarbon by advising me on the best ways to develop, design, and market the app. My brother, Joel Graycar, has been with me from the beginning to help me learn how to code and unblock me when I get stuck. Bevin Chan and Zachary Karrasch have also taken the UX of the app to another level.

All that said, I’m sure there are many bumps and struggles to come.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
At its heart, Decarbon (https://decarbonapp.com/) is a simple app to help us understand how we’re impacting climate change and providing the insights and tools needed to actually make a difference. It’s like calorie counting… but for your carbon footprint!

In Decarbon, your purchases are automatically categorized and assigned an emissions estimate, and those estimates are then added up and compared against your Annual Carbon Budget. Your challenge is to stay below a budget of 7 tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) each year, which is the level every American needs to reduce their emissions to if we’re to have a chance at limiting climate change to only 1.5 degrees Celsius.

What makes Decarbon really special is that all of the estimates the app uses are based on an open-source emissions database that I’ve created. So, anyone can see what calculations that we’re making to provide the emissions information to users. I’m really proud of this part of the business — it’s important we’re all speaking the same language with respect to carbon tracking!

Decarbon is completely free, doesn’t show ads, and doesn’t sell your data. Decarbon generates revenue by charging a service fee on the carbon credits that it offers to users who are interested in compensating for their impact in this way.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts or blogs that help you do your best?
Climate-wise, I would check out the podcast “How to Save a Planet” on Spotify.

Life-wise, my favorite book is “The Name of the Wind” by Patrick Rothfuss.

Work-wise, I made Decarbon with a framework called Flutter and would recommend it for anyone trying to create a cross-platform app.

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Decarbon LLC

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