20: From founder to climate investor - Talk with serial entrepreneur and investor Tim Schumacher
Tim Schumacher is a German Investor and Entrepreneur, with a focus on Impact and Climate Investments. For over ten years, he was the CEO of publicly traded Sedo.com, which he co-founded.
Since 2012, he has founded and/or invested in multiple start-ups like Eyeo (makers of Adblock Plus), SaaS.group, Zolar, CarbonCloud, Pachama and Ecosia. Ecosia is especially notable. Ten years after its foundation, it's now the largest independent European search engine. It uses all its profits to plant trees, and it has until now planted almost 200 million trees. Under the roof of Ecosia, Tim Schumacher also very recently co-founded the World Fund (see Worldfund.vc) with a focus on Climate Investments.
In this episode, you will learn about Tim's journey from entrepreneur, climate activism as a teenager, and his top three bets in the climate sector!
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Ecosia is a non-profit search engine based in Berlin, Germany
The aim of Ecosia is to be a carbon-negative search engine - with every search generating income that can then be used to plant trees
They are a certified B-Corporation business, meaning that they have met high standards of performance, accountability, and transparency in their business practice
The income is generated through paid search ads - Ecosia prides itself on being financially transparent and published their monthly income and expenditures on their webpage.
How does Ecosia plant trees?
Ecosia partners with local communities in 35+ countries around the world to plant trees that are native to that area, and to support specific climate needs or vulnerabilities. Their full list of current projects can be found on their website. These projects include:
Planting trees in Burkina Faso to to restore desertified land and improve nutrition.
Working with small farmers in the Philippines to plant trees and support local communities.
Reforesting the largest volcanic mountain range in Nicaragua to help prevent soil erosion, and to improve biodiversity.
After planting, trees are monitored with satellites and field visits to help support survival.
About World Fund VC:
Founded in 2021, World Fund is European based VC fund. It invests in start-ups that have the potential to save at least 100 million tons of CO2 equivalent per year and tackle the most pressing issue of our time.
World Fund's strict criteria for investment aims to back companies using technology to directly reduce emissions not only to help achieve the world's climate goals faster. In order to find these start-ups, World Fund's team of experts has devised with the climate performance potential (CPP) assessment to gauge a start-up's ability to assist in the fund's goal of reducing emissions.
They support startups from early to growth stage, focusing on Energy, Food and Agriculture, Manufacturing, Buildings, and Mobility.
In this episode we are addressing the following questions:
What has been your common nominator in these different roles and what is the biggest difference? 2:20
What are the biggest differences between the founder and investor side? 4:00
What were the driving factors to change from an entrepreneur track into an investor track? 5:40
Do you remember a particular situation which triggered the thought process to dedicate your time to climate change? 7:35
The tree planting practice has been quite criticized in the last year for promising too much but cannot be delivered. How do you address that at ecosia? 12:00
Can you give an overview on World Fund? 17:25
How do you make sure that you have expertise in choosing investments? 19:42
What is the craziest investment you've done to date? 21:15
Do you realistically see that these startups will exist in Europe? 23:40
What is the role of VCs in fixing the financial gap for climate and what do we need to change to better close this gap? 26:00
How do you see the role of the policies in climate? 28:20
Climate tech start ups often require a long period of investment - How does the VC model work in this system? 30:10
Many other digital entrepreneurs are considering moving into the climate tech space - what would you recommend to them? 31:30
What does sustainability mean to you? 35:00
Is it possible for individuals to invest in World Fund? 37:00
How can people reach out to you? 39:00
Memorable quotes from the episode by Tim:
"People chase stuff we don't need, and that's a systematic problem which in the end leads to overconsumption"
“We invest money into the climate unicorns of tomorrow”
"What digitalization was in the last 20 years is what decarbonization is in the next 20 years"
"We need to make sure that polluting the climate isn’t free anymore"
"We need young entrepreneurs but also successful entrepreneurs who know how to scale to get into this world and to make it better"
Website Ecosia: https://www.ecosia.org/?c=en
Website World Fund: https://www.worldfund.vc/about