16: Zerofy - simplifies a zero-carbon life for households. Interview with founder Till Quack
Updated: Feb 21
Till Quack is the Co-Founder of Zerofy, a company who's vision is to simplify a zero-carbon life for households.
A Swiss entrepreneur and product builder passionate about using technology to help improve people’s lives, Till studied at and holds a PhD in Computer Vision from ETH Zurich. Throughout his career, he has built technology products at startups including kooaba (co-founded, exited to Qualcomm) and Mapillary (exited to Facebook Meta), as well as at major tech companies like Apple, Meta, and Qualcomm. After spending approximately 15 years working on Computer Vision, AR/VR, and AI, with his recent startup Zerofy he recently switched to climate tech.
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Zerofy was founded in 2022 and raised 1.2M in pre-seed financing in 2022, led by San Francisco’s Union Labs Ventures, as well as multiple angel investors.
The app is offered for free in 10 European countries and launching in North America by early 2023.
They offer services that track your household footprint in real time, in an automated way.
Additionally, they currently offer opportunities to earn a return on investment through Estonian-based solar energy.
What is Carbon accounting?
Carbon accounting refers to a method in which the amount of carbon dioxide emissions attributed to a specific activity is measured (greenly.earth, 2023).
Carbon accounting is a technique used by businesses and individuals in the journey to be more socially responsible and has already become a standard industry requirement for many countries (oncarbon.app, 2022).
Carbon accounting refers to a specific type of greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting, from which they can be categorised into 3 further "scopes" of emissions (corporatefinanceinstitute.com, 2023). This includes scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions (see below)
In this episode we are addressing the following questions:
How come after years of being in classic tech, you decided to switch to the good side? 2:13
Did you personally have a moment, where you thought now I have to change something? 3:00
Can you explain in a few words what Zerofy does? 4:40
Can you give an example for the tracking and the services and products you are offering to replace? 6:14
How do you know how many kilometres I'm driving? 7:17
What about the shower head? How do you know which one I have? 8:06
What makes you special or stick out against the competition? 8:38
Could you bring from your former experience something that you learned/skill that was helpful for building this? 11:29
Is there anything what you see now [in regards to Chat GPT] which you can actually use or that you can apply to? 12:43
If I have a semi-detached house in Switzerland, can I buy solar panels over your app? 15:12
Does it go so far that you have the measurements of my roof or is it more like creating offerings with a more comparis way of doing it? 16:30
Can you please explain the concept of earning money from solar energy and why do you offer it? 17:35
Is it like buying a share of solar panels and you get a return on investment every year/month? 19:16
And that is the long term vision? 21:07
What do you want to achieve with the money you raised and was it difficult to raise 1.2M? 22:00
How is the investors environment in the US? 23:40
When is Zerofy coming for Android? 24:37
What has been your biggest learning since you started the company? 25:03
Who is your target group? 26:31
So you are launched in Switzerland and a few other countries in Europe? 27:20
How do you market? How do you get people onboard? 27:29
What is your biggest challenge ahead for the next 12 months? 28:24
Do you have any book recommendations? 29:11
How do people contact you if they would like to know more about you or the company? 31:42
Great quotes from the episode by Till:
"Having kids, is probably the same for many of us. You start thinking, wait a minute. 2100 for example sounds initially really far away but when you think about it in generations… Suddenly it doesn’t seem so far away anymore. Yeah, you feel that sense of urgency probably a bit more."
"Actually 70% of emissions can be attributed to households indirectly right, through the products and services we buy and through our transportation…”
"Yes, there are a number of apps, but it’s quite an open space still. If we compare it with any solution or any product, not only even in climate change. I personally don’t have the impression there’s a lot more competition than in other fields.”
"The problem is more that people know something like that [fitness apps] exists. I still think it’s [carbon accounting] a pretty new market still, especially on the consumer side. No one has cracked it yet, I think either.”
“Our tracking is the most holistic and most automated. No one has it as complete and as holistic as we have it, as far as I know.”
"Our app enables you almost to build up this portfolio of products and services. And you have this whole thing of low carbon and sustainable lifestyle that’s all in one app and I find this very exciting and I hope many people too.”