Namrata Sandhu, CEO and Co-Founder at Vaayu and 29Under29 Judge, Explains What She’s Looking For From Entrants

Hey Namrata, tell us a bit about yourself


I am the CEO and Co-Founder of Vaayu, the world’s first automated software built to help the retail ecosystem track and cut environmental impact in real time. Over my 20-year career, I’ve spent time at the International Business Leaders Forum, working for the United Nations Forum on Forests, as well as KPMG, the Arcadia Group and leading global retailer Zalando. It was there that I noticed a critical gap in the market for a real-time, carbon-tracking tool to speed up reduction at scale.

In 2020 I launched Vaayu with the goal of putting carbon at the forefront of decision-making by providing real-time data to empower retailers to avoid 1 gigaton of carbon emissions by 2030. With Vaayu, we have created retail’s largest and most accurate impact database which is continually evolving to power reductions at scale.

Since launching, we’ve raised $13 million in two funding rounds and onboarded more than 50 global brands across retail verticals, among them Klarna, Vinted, Veja, ASKET, Missoma, Ace & Tate, Otrium, Redcare and Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

My ambition with Vaayu is ultimately to help decelerate climate change and reduce the retail sector’s environmental impact, and that’s something I’ll never stop being passionate about. I’m proud that Vaayu has been recognised for empowering companies to set ambitious and actionable reduction strategies by leveraging AI and machine learning, and has been named one of TechRound’s SaaS66 as well as one of TIME’s 2022 Best Inventions. It’s inspiring to join the many brilliant minds trying to solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges through technology and an honour to be recognised in TechRound’s Top BAME 50 Under 50 Entrepreneurs 2022 and as Reuter’s Sustainability Trailblazer 2023.

What are you looking for from this year’s 29Under29 entrants?


I’m looking for entrants who show a real passion for what they’re doing and for developing solutions that make a tangible impact in their industry. Leadership skills can be honed over time through experience and education, so I’m looking for leaders who can demonstrate a clear and compelling vision for their company, and showcase what drives them and the determination that has got them where they are today.

My particular interest is in understanding what problem the applicants are trying to solve and the challenges they’ve overcome. I also want to know where they want to take their business and how they inspire others to join them on that journey, a dedicated leader is essential for a successful business, so that’s something I’d really like to see within these entries.

What advice would you give to companies wanting to stand out from the crowd?

To stand out from the crowd, companies need to be truly innovative. Think about how you can disrupt traditional industries or develop a solution that is truly groundbreaking for your sector. To do this, you have to be agile enough to evolve and meet the changing needs of the market. Because the tech industry moves so quickly, try to make sure you’re adopting an iterative approach to product development, constantly refining and evolving your offerings based on user feedback and changing market dynamics to ensure cut through in a crowded space.