Interview: Sanchali Pal, Joro


We are inspired by people who are passionate about insurance, project finance, and technology that solves pressing global challenges. In this interview series, our chief actuary, Sherry Huang, talks with friends of New Energy Risk whose work makes a difference, and whose journeys will inspire you, too.


I met Sanchali Pal, CEO and founder of Joro, through our shared office space in Oakland, CA. She and her team always have a very focused look, which made me curious what they do! Joro is an application that helps people track their carbon footprint and offers ways to manage, reduce, and offset their emissions. I started using Joro myself after meeting the team behind it, and have already changed my behavior as a result. I am grateful to get to know people like Sanchali and her like-minded team who contribute to the net-zero journey with their innovative product and approach.


Sanchali, what motivated you to start Joro?

I started tracking the carbon footprint of my food consumption in college after watching the documentary Food, Inc. At the time, I was working in the dining hall and studying economics. I believed that changing the way I consumed food would have a ripple effect in the aggregate with others, that we could change demand and eventually shift how food is produced and supplied. I had a spreadsheet to track my consumption and made small but consistent changes such as eating meat less regularly.

I continued to track my  carbon footprint after college and expanded my scope beyond just food. As part of this effort, I started to bike and walk more and created an annual carbon budget for the flights I took. After graduation, I worked as a management consultant in New York, then in India and in Ethiopia. There, I witnessed firsthand the devastating effect of climate change on the poorest economies and became convinced that solving climate issues needed to be my primary focus. Meanwhile, I was still using my spreadsheet tracker. Friends and family by that point were asking me to share my tool so they could track their carbon footprints, too. Eventually, I went back to business school and then started Joro to help consumers develop a “carbon intuition” and empower people to take climate actions that matter.

Currently Joro’s platform connects with consumers’ financial activities via their credit cards. We decided to focus on providing this platform directly to consumers to provide a long-term carbon intuition at the individual level. Ultimately these same individuals are decision makers at corporations, too, so the impact ripples beyond personal choices.

What is the key challenge you are trying to solve at Joro? What’s your near-term goal for Joro?

We focused on developing the core technology over the last 18 months. We are now focusing on growth and engagement. We want to make sure the product is serving their needs in the most intuitive way. After all, the goal is to provide our customers with a tool to achieve an intuition for their actions that will have an impact. We are also working on a subscription program, where users can automatically purchase carbon offsets from our partners based on the amount of emissions their purchases generate.

How have you built your team over time? What is the key strength of your team?

The first funding we received was grant funding – from Harvard, MIT, and the State of Massachusetts. With those funds, we were able to hire undergraduate and graduate students for three semesters to help us develop the beta version of the product. Today, Joro has nine employees, including engineers, a marketer, and a designer. We’ve built our team almost entirely during the pandemic. As a team, we encompass the different personas of Joro’s users; we have diverse backgrounds and experiences, but all of us are passionate about the power of people to catalyze systems change, and we share a strong bias for action.

Have you had a key mentor in your career? Is there anyone you look up to as a role model?

I’ve had many mentors in my life, but my mom immediately comes to mind. She has been an incredible support to me and in my entrepreneurial journey, and pushes me to be confident. A CEO at a biotech start-up herself, she is passionate about her work and is an inspiration to pursue my conviction in Joro.

When I was in high school in Boston, I was intrigued when I heard on the radio about an MIT professor, Amy Smith, and her innovative solutions to fight poverty. My mom encouraged me to reach out to her, and after some resistance, I did. But she didn’t reply. So my mom suggested I follow up twice more until Professor Smith finally replied, and sure enough, I ended up with an internship at MIT the next summer.  I learned from my mom to follow my passions and be persistent about pursuing them.

Another mentor who has helped me is Professor Shikhar Ghosh at Harvard Business School. His class, Founders’ Journey, focused on the human side of building a business, and gave me the guidance and inspiration I ultimately needed to start Joro.

Any advice for other founders in the technology industry? Especially for women founders?

It is really hard to be a solo female founder. I came to the Bay Area without knowing how the venture capital market works and had to overcome a steep learning curve.

I have two pieces of advice: 1. Remember your conviction – believe that the problem you identified is worth solving, and you are the perfect team to solve it. 2. Persistence is the key. It’s important to remind yourself to differentiate between the success of the company you founded versus your own success. Your company may have setbacks, but you will still have achieved a great amount with your team and as an individual.


I learned so much from talking to Sanchali. I encourage everyone to think about how you can do your part to contribute to a net-zero future. As it says on Joro’s website, “Together, we add up”!