Arnoud Haverlag

Venture philanthropy; we need different models in a world on fire –

"We're not here to acquire shares. We support scientifically-backed startups that have CO2 reduction as their mission, in the earliest stages of their entrepreneurship. Without any financial incentive," says Arnoud Haverlag, executive director. With this unique ambition, the Foundation fills a gap. "The associated financial risks in the earliest seeding phase are, most of the time, too high for the traditional investor, even for impact investors. And we understand and respect that. But someone needs to bridge that gap," Arnoud says. 

Entrepreneurial support

Arnoud calls modesty appropriate, as venture philanthropy in this form and in this space still needs to prove itself, but: "We need different models in a world that is on fire. We give essential ideas that contribute to cooling the planet a kickstart. We offer financial support, but also knowledge, experience, energy and network. Being serial entrepreneurs ourselves, we know how to get things done. And yes, it would be great to be an inspiration for other funding sources."

Accelerating the deal

Arnoud is a father, family man and former adrenaline junky. Over the last 25 years as an entrepreneur, he has been on the crossroad between business, tech and positive impact. He was co-founder and CEO at Marvia, Backspace, Soverin and BYBORRE. At CarbonFix he will focus on accelerating the deal flow of the foundation and establishing partnerships within the startup and impact investors’ ecosystems. 

Scientists with wild ideas

CarbonFix will support 10 new projects annually with (almost) free money, on average around 250k EUR per project (with exceptions on both ends), which together should result in an annual reduction of 125 megatons of CO2e in 2030. That's two-thirds of the entire Dutch emission. Arnoud: "To find 10 good projects, you need at least 60 applications and many more on your radar. But they exist: talented individuals who may have been rejected six times already in their pitch, but continue to believe in their climate moonshot idea. Scientists with wild ideas, who are stuck at university and have no resources for developing a first prototype. We have the money, the attention, and the effective  'short cuts' for them."

Enthusiastic and critical

To reduce at least 1% of excess global warming by 2030, CarbonFix's pace needs to increase. Hence the expansion with Arnoud to the team. "CarbonFix has a solid foundation. The board is highly involved, being scientists and/or entrepreneurs themselves. We are going to improve funnel velocity, processes and systems even further. Certainly, we want to accelerate. But giving away money should never be wasting money. We need to be ambitious about our goal ánd we need to be ambitious about the execution of our game plan. Thus, the critical scientist corrects the enthusiastic entrepreneur and vice versa. It's a moral ambition we all share. For me, it also comes down to this: I just want my children to be proud of what I do.”


Do you know moonshot innovators?

We are always looking for driven inventors, entrepreneurs, students or scientists who want to take their moonshot climate solutions further. Do you know innovators, start-ups, or CO₂ projects ready to take the next step with virtually free money? If so, let us know by emailing hello@cabonfix.org or use the apply form on our website.