Putting Your Savings to Work for a Better World

Pension savings represent one of the largest resources available for investment. Danish start-up Matter (previously Penstable) has now partnered with one of the largest pension providers in the Nordics to create a 100 per cent sustainable pension plan facilitated by a digital platform. 

Did you know that the average Dane owns38 tonnes of CO2 through his or her pension savings? So says Danish start-up Matter who has made it their mission to change conventional pension investments and give both individuals and companies an alternative – a sustainable pension plan that gives a higher yield without going into coal, weapons, or tobacco.

In June 2018 one of the largest pensions companies in the Nordics, Skandia, partnered up with Matter to develop the new digital platform where individuals and companies can make sustainable pension investments and see the effect their savings have on the environment.

“On a global level, pension and retirement funds through their investments own almost half of the assets listed on global stock exchanges – from New York to Shanghai. However, there are coal, gas and oil reserves traded on global stock exchanges equal to twice as much carbon dioxide, as we can afford to emit if we are to stay within the boundaries of the Paris Agreement and avoid global temperature increases of more than two degrees Celsius. That means that today, we are betting against our future with our own pension savings,” says CEO and co-founder Niels Fibæk-Jensen:

“With Matter, we are creating an alternative. Together with our partners, Skandia and the Dutch pension cooperative PGGM, we create pension plans exclusively built on sustainable investments in areas such as clean energy, environmental protection, clean water, and health. In addition, we give customers the opportunity to track the environmental impact of their investments through our digital platform.”

500 billion Euro ready to invest sustainably

Niels Fibæk-Jensen founded Matter together with Emil Stigsgaard Fuglsang in 2017. They both shared an interest in sustainable investments and had insights from working for the  UN and some of the largest pensions providers in Denmark.

They shared the idea that pension savings, which in Denmark alone totals about 500 billion Euro, the biggest pool of investment-ready funds, should be invested sustainably and responsibly, with the aim of making a positive difference on the planet around us. In January 2017, they started with the vision of building an alternative to the existing pension companies, where customers’ savings would exclusively be invested sustainably.

“We started completely from scratch and none of us had ever worked in a start-up before. Hence, we knew very little about the process we were about to go through and figured that it would be a good idea to learn from experts in the field, as well as from other start-ups. One of the things you quickly learn as a startup is that you don’t know what you don’t know.”

says Niels Fibæk-Jensen.

That’s why Matter applied for the EIT Climate-KIC start-up accelerator. It was the logical place for them to learn the basics as well as obtain some funding and exposure to relevant investors and partners.

EIT Climate-KIC helped with some of the first, crucial funding that helped us take Matter from an idea to a prototype and helped us build the partnerships necessary to launch our product. Secondly, EIT Climate-KIC’s master classes and mentors have been excellent and have helped us address the challenges we have faced in the process. Thirdly, they have helped us open doors to relevant partners and investors and gain a lot of feedback from experts.

says Niels Fibæk-Jensen.

EIT Climate-KIC has helped start-ups raise 550 million Euro

Right now, EIT Climate-KIC is looking for start-ups to join the fall batch of the accelerator. The deadline for applying is 15 August. The programme runs from September 2018 to March 2019.

So far, more than 1.000 start-ups have been supported by EIT Climate-KIC, and the accelerator has helped them raise more than 550 million Euro in funding. But there are requirements to be met to enter into the equity-free accelerator programme. Therefore, Niels Fibæk-Jensen has a piece of good advice for other start-ups wanting to benefit from the experience of EIT Climate-KIC:

Start with the problem you want to solve and dive very deep into it. Research who your target users or customers are, and what pains they are facing – and how you can build something that is worth paying for. That will help you create your product, learn and quickly improve

he says.

 
Location
Denmark
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