When I first learned about PrintReleaf a little over two years ago, my reaction was: “What a great idea. I wonder how they came up with it?”
Founder and CEO Jordan Darragh explained that it was really the nexus of two separate career paths that inspired the idea. He had worked in the energy industry for several years, helping utilities develop clean energy programs and reduce carbon emissions. But before that he had worked in the imaging industry for a decade.
“As a result of both experiences, one day the idea surfaced for what is now PrintReleaf,” he said.
Based in Denver, Colorado, PrintReleaf is a cloud-based software platform that measures paper consumption and automates equivalent reforestation. Simply put, it means when an end customer prints paper, PrintReleaf ensures that a tree is planted somewhere in the world to “neutralize” the loss.
PrintReleaf integrates with popular industry monitoring applications and then delivers reforestation through projects they’ve certified throughout the world. It is a bundled service that includes software, integration with MPS software applications, reforestation, certification, and even social media marketing automation. It’s all packaged on a cost per page model so it’s easily absorbable into common deal structures.
I asked Darragh if he could describe the market trajectory of PrintReleaf over the last two years. He admitted that progress was initially slow, but he said that it gradually picked up and has now reached an accelerated stage.
“We first had to educate the market and find our early adopters,” he explained. “That took some time. Then dealers started to catch on and, perhaps more importantly, their end customers responded very positively to our solution. The customer interest has ultimately helped propel our growth.”
PrintReleaf now has 10 international distributors and 115 dealers, and Darragh said that they’re adding about 10-12 new dealers a month right now in the office print vertical.
“We’re also engaged in pilots with some partners in the graphic print vertical and that is our next frontier,” he added.
All companies experience hurdles early on and PrintReleaf was no exception. For Darragh it was creating the certification process and then communicating how they plant trees through partners and the third-party audit to verify survival. He is proud of the accomplishment and quick to point out the legitimacy of their authentication procedures.
“Our reforestation partners are certified and audited by SGS International to provide independent verification for our partners and their customers that their forests are indeed planted and survived,” explained Darragh.
Darragh also cited the early hiring of the right people as a major step moving forward. “Nothing matters more because you can’t do it alone, and fortunately we have a great team,” he said.
As far as where PrintReleaf fits in the “green solutions” category of offerings, Darragh said that it is most often compared to recycled paper and sustainably certified paper, but he emphasized that it offers more than that.
“Compared to recycled paper, we’re similar in that we — at a minimum — neutralize deforestation,” he said. “By using paper with 100 percent recycled content, another tree doesn’t need to be harvested. If a customer uses paper with 30 percent or 10 percent recycled content, then theoretically, 70 percent or 90 percent of a new tree had to be harvested to manufacture the paper.”
Darragh pointed out that when a PrintReleaf end customer is using sustainability certified paper, they are arguably net-positive with regard to their environmental impact because the software will still record the clicks which will eventually lead to reforestation.
PrintReleaf also aims to certify projects around the world where reforestation makes the greatest impact both environmentally and socially through job creation, and customers play an active role in deciding where to “releaf” or reforest.
What’s clear is that in a work space soon to be dominated by millennials, and increasingly run according to their concerns and attitudes, PrintReleaf’s appeal is unmistakable. For Darragh, conviction was also as important a driving force as profit.
“I love business and growing companies, yet I find as much purpose and passion in delivering our solution that is reforesting our world, offsetting paper, sequestering carbon, creating jobs, and creating value for our partners and their customers,” he said.