Interview with Leeor Groen, Venture Manager, Blockchain Valley Ventures

The EIT Climate-KIC community comprises a rich diversity of expertise, skills and perspectives across our alumni, start-ups, innovation partners, advisors and associates, all of whom contribute to our innovation capacity. 

This week, we speak to Leeor Groen, a Venture Manager at Blockchain Valley Ventures. He spoke at the Climate Innovation Summit 2018  on the session entitled “Start-up funding: Challenges from various perspectives.”

What’s your role?

I am a Venture Manager at Blockchain Valley Ventures, a Swiss venture capital firm investing in and supporting blockchain enabled businesses. In addition to this, I am also a Leader with the Climate Reality Project, Al Gore’s advocacy initiative, where I am actively engaged in raising awareness for the challenges the world faces in mitigating and adapting to climate change as well as sustainable development more broadly.

What are you working on with EIT Climate-KIC?

As someone committed to leveraging technology and finance to help solve some of society’s biggest challenges, I naturally find myself at home with the European Institute of Technology, and Climate-KIC, which specifically aims to address key sustainability problems through innovation. I have been actively involved in the Climate-KIC community for almost three years now and was engaged in the Greenhouse incubator programme, together with my two co-founders Roman Haas and Christophe Mortier, for our project to facilitate peer-to-peer energy sharing in the Alpine region. I have also participated in EIT Alumni Connect in Budapest, The Journey programme in Paris and Valencia, and supported the annual Climathon in Zurich.

What are you working on generally?

I am focused on shaping the future of venture financing which I believe is a process that is ripe for change and needs to adjust to better support entrepreneurs and R&D intensive projects. The venture capital industry itself is undergoing considerable developments and with new approaches to fundraising, we see more and more companies looking to alternative fundraising methods such as equity crowdfunding and token offerings. I am therefore working with entrepreneurs and innovative companies who are looking to redefine their industries and am supporting them in scaling their activities.

What are three implications of this work?

There is much to take away from the tech industry, and blockchain specifically, which is shaping the traditional finance and venture capital industries. People are now being given the opportunity to support and invest in projects and initiatives that matter to them. Not just ‘customers’ or ‘investors,’ but truly ‘partners’ (who are potentially a combination of the two). Societally, we are transitioning towards many more ‘for purpose’ projects, a great example of which is The Timekeeper, based in Australia, and we see the momentum behind this in the rise of B Corps which are companies set up to balance purpose and profit. Blockchain enables the most efficient and effective way of managing this and is a catalyst for future growth in the social sector. With a fragmented, yet deeply passionate community behind sustainability, climate and environmental topics, there is a huge opportunity to now draw on best practices from the tech community and apply this to how we approach sustainable finance.

What or who gives you hope or inspiration in the fight against climate change?

With so many revolutionary technologies at our fingertips, innovation is increasing exponentially and our society needs to take advantage of these opportunities. Through the combination of these exponential technological developments, the awareness of the need for sustainable development itself, and having people and companies who are empowered to act, I believe we will be able to overcome the challenges of climate change, because, in reality, there is only one option. One of the greatest developments to come from blockchain is the fundamental belief that we can do things differently. We now need to bring this mindset to sustainability and empower more stakeholders to get involved and actually act.

 
Location
Ireland
Related Goal
Goal 10: Mainstream climate in financial markets
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