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Meet the founders: Two tech entrepreneurs and one primary mission — fighting climate change

Treepoints
Treepoints

When the pandemic hit last year, Oxford University graduates Anthony Collias and Jacob Wedderburn-Day thought to launch Treepoints as they could see a positive impact of pandemic on the climate. To put it simply, this platform helps people in living sustainably and then gives them rewards to do so.

Individuals that offset their carbon impact are rewarded through the Treepoints platform. An emissions calculator collects and enumerates the carbon footprints of both individuals and enterprises into a profile, providing personalised facts, points gained over time, current balance, and the option to recommend friends. To date, carbon offset data has been broken down into equivalent commodities such as flights, steak, and residencies, and is displayed with an offset against lifetime emissions graph.

In its latest funding round, the company has raised £150,000 led by Charlotte Street Capital and included decorated Olympians Alistair Brownlee and Jonny Brownlee. 

Collias and Wedderburn-Day want to plant a tree for every UK resident, and they believe their current funding round will help them reach that goal of 67M trees in five years.

We asked founders Anthony Collias and Jacob Wedderburn-Day some questions about how they got started, the inspiration behind Treepoints, and how the funding will help it develop.

What was your professional background before founding Treepoints?

Our career started with Stasher which is a travel tech company. It was launched in 2015 after we graduated from Oxford University. Stasher is an online platform that links travellers, event-attendees, and hotel guests to ‘StashPoints’ where they can safely store their bags on a short-to-medium term basis. 

Being a travel tech company, our revenues dropped to zero in April and May 2020, and much of our network had to close down during country-wide lockdowns. 

What is Treepoints? Why is it called the Netflix of carbon offsetting? and who will use it the most?

Treepoints simplify climate action, helping people and businesses to understand their impact on the environment and then do something about it by offsetting their carbon footprint. The company takes the headache out of offsetting and rewards people for doing good for the planet. It also provides a simple API integration for businesses to make their products and services climate positive through carbon offsetting, plastic collection and tree planting.  

The company extends its helping hand to people to understand their carbon footprint and then do something about it by offsetting their emissions. It is vital to us that climate action is affordable and accessible to everyone – a subscription to offset your entire carbon footprint costs less than the price of a coffee per month. 

We figured people are happy to subscribe to music and streaming services, so why couldn’t it be the same for climate amelioration. 

We realised a lot of people are worried about climate change and want to do good for the planet. But knowing where to start can be daunting, and that is our audience, people who care for the planet but don’t necessarily know where to start. 

How did you receive £150K funding from Charlotte Street Capital and Olympic brother?

When we raised external funding with Stasher, we had already established a strong network. LinkedIn and introductions from other founders/investors have proven to be very effective for us. Our suggestion is to create a funnel of investors and call them all; in our experience, most prefer meetings.

After becoming aware of the detrimental environmental repercussions of their elite athletes’ lifestyles, the Brownlees decided to take climate action and make their existence carbon neutral. And they believed in our company (and its goal) so much that they both became investors.

What are your goals and mission for 2022 and beyond?

Treepoints’ objective is to become the TrustPilot-equivalent mark of Sustainability. People are familiar with the brand and expect to see it on products, services, and businesses. Individuals throughout the developed world understand what carbon offsetting entails and use Treepoints to offset their carbon footprint. Our mission is to become a household name for sustainability by providing the simplest subscription, API integration, and tree planting service for both individuals and corporations.

We will accomplish this by continuing to add partners and members to our platform, as well as engaging in marketing to reach a larger potential audience and educate people about the necessity of offsetting.

We also hope to become a source of funds for green projects, able to fund carbon-reduction initiatives. As a social enterprise, we are dedicated to reinvesting at least 50% of our revenues, and we hope to be profitable within the next 5 years so that we may begin reinvesting in environmental projects such as carbon capture technologies. This will also allow us to have more personal touch with the projects we are funding.  

We also intend to include a green finance plan to assist consumers in understanding the environmental impact of their shopping patterns. This may include an open banking integration or something similar, allowing individuals to see the carbon footprint of the things they buy, the routes they take, and the lifestyle choices they make.

Carbon offsets have a tumultuous past. At worst, they can greenwash polluting activities while providing no further emission reductions – the internet is rife with horror stories about initiatives gone bad. However, when used correctly, carbon offsets can be an important part of the solution to climate change.

Tree planting should undoubtedly be regarded as a popular concept as a result of COP26’s ‘promise to end deforestation by 2030.’ Over 100 leaders signed an agreement during the conference to cease and reverse deforestation by 2030, pledging approximately $19.2B in funding. Brazil, whose present administration has allowed the continuous deforestation of the Amazon rainforest within its borders, has made an unexpected pledge. This is the most ambitious accord to date to combat global deforestation. It aspires to avoid the failures of the New York Declaration on Forests, which had similarly lofty goals but just 40 signatures, and thus failed to have any major impact on decreasing deforestation without the assistance of Brazil, China, and Russia.

Furthermore, the government is aiming to drastically boost tree planting in the UK to 30,000 hectares per year, with plants sequestering carbon and assisting the government in reaching net zero emissions by 2050.

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