- Tree-planting startup Terraformation has just raised $30 million in funding.
- Founded last year by ex-Reddit CEO Yishan Wong, the company wants to reforest the planet.
- US investor Apollo Projects led the round, which also included angels from Palantir and Stripe.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
The fight against climate change has gained a new combatant in the form of reforestation startup Terraformation.
Founded early last year by ex-Reddit CEO and early Facebook and PayPal employee Yishan Wong, the company wants to restore the world’s forests through mass tree planting in a bid to capture carbon.
The Hawaii-based startup has just raised $30 million in a bid to scale its offering and encourage more businesses to join its cause.
“I founded this company because the climate change problem is really bad and has got to stop,” Wong told Insider.
“I did the math and we don’t have a lot of time left, this is the fastest and most reliable solution which can have the biggest impact at the lowest risk.”
The company partners with organizations worldwide to provide tools and training to enact large-scale restoration efforts. Terraformation addresses the key issues that reforestation projects face, including seed supply, training & equipment, funding, and land and water availability. It also hosts the largest off-grid solar powered desalination facility to help solve fresh water sourcing problems, Wong added.
“You don’t go faster just by being more intense or trying to do things quicker,” Wong said. “Plants will grow at the same rate but through small changes in thinking and adoption we can be faster and more efficient.”
The round was led by Sam & Max Altman at US moonshot investor Apollo Projects, and included several unnamed institutional investors and nearly 100 angel investors, such as Climate Capital founder Sundeep Ahuja, early Stripe employee Lachy Groom, Gumroad CEO Sahil Lavingia, and Palantir cofounder Joe Lonsdale.
“Trillions of dollars are going into climate investing but you’re not going to accomplish anything by writing code, you have to actually move atoms, in this case planting trees,” he added. “Converting money into trees is the most efficient way on a per dollar basis to reduce carbon from the atmosphere, it’s just about getting off our asses and doing it.”
Over $60 billion of early-stage capital was invested into climate technology companies focused on addressing climate change in the years between 2013 and 2019, according to a recent report from PwC. The report also found that climate investing grew five times faster than VC investments during that period.
Terraformation currently has partnerships with several organizations including Environmental Defenders in Uganda, as well as other groups in Ecuador, Haiti and Tanzania. The key use of the funding will be to “accelerate forest restoration,” with Wong adding that he hoped copycat companies would emerge given that the scale of the problem is so vast that no one startup could do it alone.
“The simplest solutions are often the best ones, particularly when they have sufficient scale,” Sam Altman at Apollo Projects said. “Yishan is a bold leader. Plant more trees and let’s get out of this mess.”
Check out Terraformation’s pitch deck below: