Team Spotlight: Peter Novak,
Head of Tech & Product

8 Questions with Peter Novak

Get to know him & interesting facts on NatureOS

Arkadiah’s Head of Tech & Product

Originally from Sweden, he has spent almost 10 years working in Asia across startup tech teams. 

Connect with me here

1. Tell us what you do at Arkadiah and how would you explain your job to someone outside the industry?

I oversee the development and management of Arkadiah’s technology products, and in particular, NatureOS – our core natural capital accounting platform. It is my job to understand our customers, and how we can serve them in the best way. This means owning the roadmap and sprint planning, ensuring what we are building is secure and scalable.

Arkadiah’s Head of Tech & Product

Originally from Sweden, he has spent almost 10 years working in Asia across startup tech teams. 

Connect with me here!

1. Tell us what you do at Arkadiah and how would you explain your job to someone outside the industry?

I oversee the development and management of Arkadiah’s technology products, and in particular, NatureOS – our core natural capital accounting platform. It is my job to understand our customers, and how we can serve them in the best way. This means owning the roadmap and sprint planning, ensuring what we are building is secure and scalable.

2. You have built a career in tech start-ups such as e-commerce and logistics. What sparked your interest in nature technology?

When I grew up as a child in Stockholm, my parents were very progressive with recycling (also by Swedish standards). Since my high school days, I have been vegetarian due to my concerns for animals and nature. 

Doing something scalable beyond just myself has always been a dream. While living in Myanmar (Burma) for 4 years, I saw the tragic impact of deforestation with my own eyes during my travels across the country. I remember feeling the urge to do something about it but just didn’t know exactly what.

I believe Arkadiah is the opportunity to make an impact that I have been looking for. 

3. In simple terms, can you explain some unique features of NatureOS that are most valuable for project developers?

We see nature as the essential foundation that supports critical economic activities across the world. Through NatureOS, we aim to provide the accounting system to value nature and drive investments to steward this vital resource. 

I will highlight a few unique features that helps us understand and value nature accurately:

Centralised mission control: We enable end-to-end management of the project lifecycle in one place, from baselining, analysis, planning to monitoring.

Highly customisable: No two projects are alike. NatureOS allows users to choose from a comprehensive range of datasets applicable for their specific project. Even our Carbon Calculator can be customised with inputs tailored to their projects and generate estimations instantly.

Anchored in ground truth: Ground truth is critical to ensuring accurate valuations of natural capital. Our AI algorithms combine satellite data with ground measurements to not only improve estimation accuracy but continually learn and adapt, providing increasingly precise valuations over time, enabling well-informed decisions.

4. How does Arkadiah use AI technology to support land restoration? 

Obtaining accurate ground truth data from project areas is crucial but not always feasible or possible to cover the entire area. This is where our AI technology comes into play. We train NatureOS to combine different datasets, including the ground truth measurements, with satellite remote sensing data. By integrating these ground truth points, NatureOS can calibrate and increase the accuracy of the remote sensing data over larger project areas without needing to physically measure everything on-site.

This approach is particularly important in Southeast Asia, where biomes and ecosystems are heterogeneous, diverse, and far more complex than what remote sensing alone can capture accurately. Our AI model learns from and accounts for this complexity by training on the ground truth data we obtain across the region.

Through partnerships, we are continually expanding our proprietary database of training data. This allows our AI model to improve capabilities and accuracy over time, even for large areas with limited on-site data available. 

As the first mover in gathering extensive regional ground truth data, we can provide best-in-class accuracy for project predictions and continuous monitoring through our AI-powered platform.

5. When you are building NatureOS, tell us one example of what is most challenging and what gives you the most satisfaction? 

Nature-based solutions are comparatively more well researched and understood than technology-based solutions. Yet, this space is still very dynamic – the scientific models are continually refined, frameworks and methodologies are constantly evolving. 

For example, guidelines for setting reference regions – crucial for benchmarking and analysis – are still vague and likely to change. As research progresses and best practices evolve, it is challenging to accommodate evolving methodologies while maintaining consistency and reliability in its calculations and outputs.

However, it gives me great satisfaction when I see the “wow” expression on people’s faces when they first see NatureOS. It validates what we are doing and I know we are on the right track.

6. The landscape around carbon dioxide removal methodologies, monitoring & reporting requirements are still evolving. What innovations do you hope to see shaping the future of nature technology? 

It is amazing to see so much innovation happening across the climate tech space, and ultimately we are all on the same side.

I hope to see clarity by Verra, Gold Standard and other verification bodies on digital measurements, reporting and verification (dMRV) and use of satellite remote sensing. The benefits of accuracy, transparency, and efficiency are substantial. We humans tend to make mistakes, but it is hard to fool a satellite.

In addition, I am looking forward to our partnership with NUS CRISP for the ESA Biomass satellite. The P-Band SAR technology used to improve biomass estimation via remote sensing has the potential to be a game-changer in this space.

7. You are one of the Nature & Biodiversity Domain Experts at Build for Good Hackathon 2024. Can you share an example of a particularly innovative or creative approach that teams took which surprised or impressed you during the hackathon?  

We are still halfway through the grand finale on 22 June, but I am impressed with the enthusiasm for the topic and the level of questions that the builders are asking. I am confident there will be some highly impressive solutions built in the coming weeks – stay tuned! 🙂 

8. What is your favourite dessert? 

Swedish Cinnamon Buns!

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