How Arbor used NDF to Add Talent and Grow their Product and Reach

Funding Catalyst

February 7, 2024

UPDATE: This Case Study was originally published in November 2022. Since then, the Funding Catalyst team has continued to partner with Arbor to help them secure more than $536,000 in non-dilutive capital from various sources.


How much water does it take to produce a pair of shoes? In September 2020, the founding members of Arbor had the answer and knew that consumers, businesses, and most importantly the environment would benefit from making this type of information a key part of the purchasing process. Arbor is a data science platform that uses proprietary environmental datasets to empower companies with the ability to measure, improve, and showcase the sustainability of their products through custom web tools and visualizations. Arbor was founded in September 2020 with four co-founders. Since then, Arbor has raised over $2.5M in investment funding, launching a software-as-a-service product in the summer of 2022.


After its founding in late 2020, it was clear that the platform was attractive to investors and customers. A good problem to have, right? With so much early demand, it meant the team had to expand quickly, bringing in highly specialized talent, while the founders focused on raising capital and building the product. Hiring couldn’t wait, despite the lack of HR expertise and only occasional capital infusions from early investors.


Arbor was founded by students, and during their rapid expansion, they understood that the right young talent could be secured from universities, making efficient use of capital, and building a team that was driven to make a difference. With Thin Air Labs Fund I being an early investor in Arbor, the Funding Catalyst Team was able to quickly build trust and understand Arbor’s immediate needs, along with its long-term vision. An immediate need was to scale their talent, so the Funding Catalyst Team completed no fewer than 9 student/wage subsidy programs for Arbor. The Funding Catalyst Team also recognized Arbor’s strong value proposition and identified, wrote, and won several grants focused on emissions reduction and sustainability like Sustainable Development Technology and Eco Canada.  


All told, the FC team has helped Arbor secure over $150,000 in student internship and wage subsidies and the Arbor team has grown from four to twenty as of September 2022. Not only is this a massive cost reduction, but it incentivized the right talent and allowed Arbor to hire at significantly lower risk, only taking on fixed costs when the time was right. In addition, the Funding Catalyst team has supported Arbor in securing $150,000 to fuel their product and business development. In early 2022 Arbor secured a multi-year, 6-figure contract with a globally recognized retail brand. With the product development and capacity expansion facilitated through over $300,000 in non-dilutive funding, Arbor is actively expanding its reach into major industrial sectors such as auto manufacturing, electronics, and municipal transportation. The FC team continues to support the strategy and writing of grants for new customer partnerships in these verticals, further expanding Arbor’s global impact.

A word from Arbor:

“Thin Air Labs’ Funding Catalyst team has helped us to secure virtually all of our non-dilutive funding to date and has been a valuable partner in our start-up journey. With their expertise and knowledge in subsidy and grant programs, we can trust that the Funding Catalyst Team will help us secure these funding opportunities so that we can instead dedicate our focus to developing our product and growing our company.” - Jason Ryu, COO

Learn more about Arbor and the work they do, here.

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