London-based Treecard has just raised over €22 million for its approach to encouraging more sustainable and climate-friendly lifestyles. The green fintech allows people to plant trees with every purchase made with its wooden debit card via a partnership with Berlin-based Ecosia.
Becoming more sustainable in our day-to-day lives is a fundamental part of reaching net zero and climate goals in the coming years. We can no longer ignore the impact that climate change is having if we don’t take action now, and more people are starting to recognise that. Slowly but surely, society is becoming more climate-conscious and the word ‘sustainable’ is now firmly rooted in everyday vocabulary.
However, in this rush to become sustainable and planet-friendly, there has been a rise of greenwashing and there are high costs associated with opting for sustainable choices. This, coupled with a continuing complexity surrounding the narrative of environmental action, has meant that going ‘sustainable’ isn’t as accessible as it ought to be.
London-based Treecard is a green fintech startup aiming to change that, and, aiming to lead a new wave of sustainable and green-based financial solutions. The startup has just raised new funding for its vision to make the world more sustainable and is set to expand.
- Over €22 million was raised in a Series A funding round led by Valar Ventures
- World Fund also participated in the round, along with previous investors EQT Ventures, Seedcamp and Episode 1 as well as angel investors Dylan Field (Figma) and Josh Browder (DoNotPay)
- Treecard will use the funding to grow the team, with the aim to almost double in size, as well as continue to develop the product ahead of the official launch in 2023
Jamie Cox, co-founder and CEO at Treecard, said: “We’ve always believed that if there was a button that could make your life more sustainable, then people would press it. There is a desire, and an urgent need, to be more sustainable but too often people don’t know where to start or aren’t sure about the right way to go about it. Treecard is here to provide that support. First by helping people to become more sustainable in their financial lives, including the ability to plant trees with purchases, and then eventually extending to all aspects of their lifestyle. Through this, we’re making it easier than ever for people to reduce their carbon footprint so we can help more people embrace this journey. We’re excited to have the backing of Valar Ventures and World Fund as we look to build the ultimate environmental super app for millions of people across the world.”
Treecard’s green super app
Founded in 2020, Treecard was built to make it easier for people to make sustainable choices in their daily lives. The startup offers a wooden debit card that, thanks to a partnership with Berlin-based Ecosia, plants trees as users spend.
Becoming more environmentally conscious is a growing societal trend. It’s reported that across the world 85% of people have shifted their behaviour towards becoming more sustainable in the past five years whilst a recent study by Mastercard found that people are making conscious efforts to reduce their carbon footprint since Covid-19.
Tapping into this movement, Treecard wants to enable people to take tangible climate action every day.
The startup’s wooden debit card sits on top of a customer’s existing bank account and channels 80% of the profits earned from merchant transaction fees into tree planting. It provides accounts to customers with no monthly fees, loading fees, or foreign currency fees as well as a market-leading 3% APY.
Whenever a Treecard customer swipes or taps their card, from buying a morning coffee to saving cash for holiday, they are helping to finance the planting of trees across the world. They can monitor this personal impact through the Treecard app with their own individual forest and watch on the TreeCam when new trees are going into the ground. Whilst other products may focus on unproven methods of tackling the climate crisis, such as carbon offsets, Treecard instead encourages people to make impactful changes in their lives while continuing to channel profits into proven methods that are fighting the climate emergency.
Given that the carbon market is full of greenwashing allegations, and there is debate over the effectiveness of the process, Treecard’s solution gives a more tangible option to people, providing more transparency and visibility over climate action.
Tim Schumacher, founding partner at World Fund, said: “The Treecard team is building a brilliant product that will help transform the way people think about their own carbon footprint. It’s not enough to offer carbon offsets, if we’re going to reach the target of limiting global warming by 2030, then sustained, comprehensive action is needed. Using interchange profits to plant trees is one of them, as is driving meaningful change across all areas of a customer’s life. We’re delighted to be supporting Jamie and the rest of the Treecard team on the next stage of their journey as they look to build the leading environmental super app.”
Further, the startup has pledged that accounts will never be used to fund fossil fuels or deforestation. As well, the app uses gamification techniques and a rewards programme, enabling people to access exclusive deals and offers such as free National Park passes after spending a certain amount, to help people understand more about their finances and environmental footprint as well as highlight where they could be spending less to reduce their impact on the planet.
It’s all part of the vision to better educate and empower people on climate action, putting control back into the hands of people – letting users put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, when it comes to climate action.
James Fitzgerald, founding partner at Valar Ventures, said: “In the last decade, we’ve witnessed the ability of fintech companies to act as a powerful force for good, for example by effecting positive change in financial inclusion and the democratization of opportunity. We are excited to see Treecard now harness this power to enable people to make more sustainable and environmentally responsible financial decisions.”
Treecard aims to go beyond just finance and build a raft of sustainable-focused features that will enable people to transform all areas of their lifestyle. From supporting people as they change to a more plant-based diet to suggesting both eco and wallet-friendly ways to travel, Treecard will help provide the guidance and information for anyone to become more sustainable in the easiest way possible with an aim to build the environmental super app for millions of people who want to minimize their impact on the planet and invest in the future.
Currently in beta with a global waitlist of over 250k people, Treecard has so far funded the planting of over 200,000 trees (around 490 football fields) around the world in partnership with Ecosia, the world’s largest not-for-profit search engine that uses advertising profits to plant trees. TreeCard users have also removed 315,000 plastic bottles from the ocean through the app’s rewards program.
With this funding, the startup will be able to supercharge its mission. The capital will go towards growing the team, developing the product and preparing for launch in 2023.
Tom Mendoza, Partner at EQT Ventures, said: “At EQT Ventures, we believe that some of the largest consumer companies in the coming decade will emerge from the intersection of climate and fintech. Enabling mass-market consumers to effortlessly make more sustainable and responsible decisions is a huge opportunity no one has capitalized on yet. We’re honored to have joined Treecard as their first investors and excited to see them scale!”