Ecosia launches World Fund to again local weather tech founders

KONYA, TURKEY – SEPTEMBER 13: Rows of solar panels are seen on a Tekno Ray solar farm on September 13, 2018 in Konya, Turkey. By 2023, Turkey wants to generate 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in order to reduce its dependence on energy imports from Iran, Russia and Iraq. Due to its geographical location, Turkey has the second largest solar energy potential in Europe with an average of 7.2 hours of sunshine per day. (Photo by Chris McGrath / Getty Images)

Chris McGrath | Getty Images

Ecosia, the search engine that uses its advertising revenue to plant trees, has launched a € 350 million ($ 405 million) venture capital fund to focus on the climate crisis.

The so-called World Fund will invest in the “next generation” of founders who want to tackle the problem, Ecosia said, and measure its success in terms of “climate returns” as well as financial returns.

“Our goal is to solve climate change,” Christian Kroll, CEO of Ecosia, told CNBC before the start on Tuesday, just days before the COP26 climate summit.

“We have been doing that at Ecosia for a long time by planting trees,” said Kroll, adding that the company has planted 136 million trees to date. “But that alone will not be enough to solve climate change.”

research published Tuesday shows that climate technology startups have raised more money so far this year than any other year, and as of early 2021, $ 32 billion has been pumped into startups fighting climate change around the world.

The search engine Ecosia has 15 million monthly active users and expects annual sales of 25 million euros (29 million US dollars) this year. However, the size of its user base pales in comparison to Google, which has billions of users.

Kroll said Ecosia is “extremely well connected to many start-ups in the air conditioning sector,” but could not support them with the money it makes through its search engine.

“Our promise to our users is that if they look to us, we will use the money to plant trees,” he said. “If we were to put that in risky start-ups and then it didn’t work out, it wouldn’t go down so well.”

He hopes that setting up a separate VC fund that will raise capital from alternative sources will help eliminate this problem.

Bill Gates, the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft, said in an interview that aired on Wednesday: Climate Tech will produce eight to ten Teslas, one Google, one Amazon and one Microsoft. The people at Ecosia takes a similar view and believes that the most valuable companies of the next decade will be those that enable a decarbonized world.

Reduce CO2 emissions

More than half of the funding for the World Fund has already been provided by entrepreneurs and large institutions, Ecosia said, adding that the fund has made three investments that are yet to be announced.

“We have invested in a vegetable meat company that is revolutionizing the high end of the market and a cocoa substitute that is reducing deforestation,” said Danijel Visevic, head of investments at Ecosia and head of the World Fund.

The World Fund supports around 40 companies in their early and growth phases.

An important caveat is that every company in which the World Fund invests must contribute to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. In particular, the fund only invests in companies that have the potential to remove 100 megatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.

“Everything comes back to that number, regardless of technology,” World Fund partner Craig Douglas told CNBC.

The World Fund said it would support carbon-reducing companies in areas such as food and agriculture, transportation and the “built environment”.

Ecosia claims the World Fund is the largest of its kind in Europe, while the largest in the world is operated by Gates’ Breakthrough Ventures and is worth $ 2 billion.

Global VC investment in climate technology has grown from $ 6.6 billion in 2016 to $ 32.3 billion in 2021, according to a report by advertising agency London & Partners and VC analytics firm means an almost five fold increase in funding.

The VC industry has traditionally been reluctant to invest in air conditioning startups, but Dara Saharova, a General Partner with the World Fund, said companies in the sector established between 2008 and 2013 now have a market capitalization of around $ 800 billion .

“There are a lot of people in Europe who are investing $ 1 million to $ 5 million and there are now some large institutions willing to invest more than $ 30 million per company,” said Douglas. “But there is practically no one in between.” He added that the World Fund was created to fill the void.

Topgolf founders launching mini-golf, leisure idea within the U.S.

An entertainment concept that combines mini golf with technology and food and drink will open its first location in the United States.

Puttshack will make its US debut on the new mixed-use development The Interlock on April 21 in Atlanta. The concept was developed by Steve and Dave Jolliffe, the original founders of Topgolf and World Golf Systems, and Adam Breeden, co-founders of Flight Club, Ace Bounce, and All Star Lanes.

The 25,000-square-foot, upscale space in Atlanta will feature four tech-driven, highly competitive miniature golf courses, a high-profile menu, a fully stocked bar, and an indoor and outdoor rooftop terrace. Puttshack’s courses are colorful and energetic, with individually designed holes, interactive leaderboards, and a digital prize wheel. Each customer is assigned a cleared ball with a chip that automatically records his shot and registers his score in the ranking.

Children are welcome to play, but only at certain times on certain days and they must be supervised by an adult. The courses are not recommended for children under the age of seven.

Puttshack’s Atlanta location will be one of the brand’s three current locations in London. Additional US locations are in the works, with openings in Chicago and Miami later this year. The company recently signed a lease to open in Nashville at the Old Gibson Guitar Factory site in The Gulch neighborhood. The location is expected to open in the second half of 2023.

“We are very excited to open Puttshack’s first US facility in Atlanta,” said Joe Vrankin, CEO of Puttshack. “This city has amazing energy and we can’t wait to bring the putting shack experience to the community in just a few weeks.”

As Puttshack seeks to deepen its roots in the local Atlanta community, Puttshack Atlanta is also committed to supporting the local hospitality industry by partnering with Giving Kitchen in Atlanta, a nonprofit that provides food service employees through financial support and a network of emergency aid staff provides community resources. As part of its menu give-back program, Puttshack is promising $ 1.00 for every purchase of the Georgia Tailpipe, a locally inspired, shared, divisible dish made from slow-roasted pulled pork, bacon-collard vegetables, and allspice and cheese spring rolls.

Bumble IPO a win for feminine founders, enterprise capital funds nonetheless low

Whitney Wolfe Herd speaks on stage during the Fortune Most Powerful Women Next Gen conference at Monarch Beach Resort on November 13, 2017 in Dana Point, California.

Joe Scarnici | Getty Images Entertainment

As a 31 year old Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO of Bumble, takes her company public This week she will be known not only for her youth, but also as one of the few founders to have her company go public.

It’s a fitting achievement for the founder of a dating app that aims to put women in the driver’s seat. But it also hammers home the still unsuitable playing field for entrepreneurs.

Hummel, his board includes 73% womenis expected to be traded on the Nasdaq on Thursday a few days earlier Valentine’s day. The company will sell its shares to $ 43 per share, which is $ 2.2 billion from investors. The company initially appreciates the offer more than $ 7 billion.

The market reaction will serve as the litmus test of investing in women-owned businesses.

Today, Women make up only 7.4% of Fortune 500 CEOs – an all-time high, but still an astonishingly low number. Even fewer women founders of public limited companies. Nasdaq estimates that only 20 of the currently active US public companies were led by their founder through the IPO.

Women’s funding falls as global deals rise

The problem is not a lack of women entrepreneurs, but a lack of support where it matters: funding.

In a 2018 study The Boston Consulting Group found “a significant gender gap in new business financing.” According to the study, investments in businesses founded or co-founded by women averaged $ 935,000, less than half the average $ 2.1 million men receive.

Even so, startups founded by women and co-founded made 78 cents for every dollar invested, while startups founded by men made only 31 cents.

Covid-19 could be the greatest threat to female founders.

Matt Krentz

Managing Director and Senior Partner of the Boston Consulting Group

The pandemic has only widened this gap.

In 2020 Global Risk Finance Up 13% however, compared to the previous year, investments in women fell by 27%. In the meantime, the proportion of founders assigned only to female founders decreased from 2.8% to 2.3% Crunchbase data. That comes as women, often primary caregivers, are supposed to be adversely affected from the pandemic as a whole.

“The convergence of crises – demands for racial justice, #MeToo, Black Lives Matter, Covid-19 and an economic downturn – makes this a crucial moment for business integration, justice and diversity,” said Matt Krentz, Managing Director and Senior Partner at BCG and The study co-authored, said CNBC. “Of all these problems, Covid-19 could be the greatest threat to female founders.”

Redirect investments where they are needed

The economic benefits of investing in women are well documented. According to some estimates, equal business participation by men and women could help $ 5 trillion for the world economy.

And companies and institutions seem to be listening now. Many have made bold commitments to better support gender equality and female founders.

What female founders need is simple and equal access to financial investments.

Tanya Rolfe

managing partner, Her Capital

“Awareness of the funding gap and the impact of different leadership teams is better understood, and investors have begun to ask directly about the diversity of founders and leadership teams,” said Krentz.

Too often, however, these investments are poorly channeled, according to Tanya Rolfe, managing partner at Her Capital, a women-run venture capital company that focuses on female founders in Southeast Asia.

“Women seem to be at the center of a lot of additional mentoring, which only suggests that women are missing something,” said Rolfe. “What female founders need is simple and equal access to financial investments.”

Tanya Rolfe, managing partner of Singapore-based venture capital firm Her Capital.

Your capital

To achieve this, more diversity is needed at the fund manager level, Rolfe said.

In 2020, women made up only 13% of all venture capitalists. after all raise, a non-profit organization focused on accelerating the success of female founders and funders. An appreciated 11% of the fund managers were womenSaid All Raise.

“If we want to see diversity at the founder level, we need to invest in diversity at the capital allocator level – fund managers like me,” continued Rolfe. “It is almost more important to invest in venture capital funds with specific strategies for investing in different founders. This is where we will see the major changes.”

Revision of traditional investment figures

Nevertheless, various funds continue to face an uphill battle.

Since many are still in their infancy and have little success, they are usually outside the investment criteria of the institutes. As a result, managers often seek less lucrative and more time-consuming deals from private investors.

Pippa Lamb, a partner in early-stage mutual fund Sweet Capital, says such an approach needs to be revised.

The pricing of perceived risk based on a person’s race or gender is very out of date to me.

Pippa Lamb

Partner, Sweet Capital

“The pricing of perceived risk based on a person’s race or gender is very out of date to me,” said Lamb. “I would guess top-tier institutional investors are ready to do the job for full diligence managers no matter what they look like.”

“We need more diverse representation in all areas of the start-up ecosystem,” she said, citing female founders, female board members, female venture capitalists and female institutional investors. “When it comes to raising capital, the latter two are most critical, especially at the limited partner (LP) level: the investor’s investors.”

BCG’s Krentz hopes the tide will turn.

“Investors should understand that current market forces offer promising opportunities for women-owned companies,” he said. “The lack of funding means that there is less competition for women-supported companies and, on average, these companies perform better than companies with all male founders.”

But until this understanding grows, Rolfe and Lamb’s advice to female founders is simple: keep going.

“Women can do the same thing that male founders do to attract investors,” said Rolfe. “If you’re a great founder with a solid business plan and traction to prove your execution and thesis, that should be enough.”