Expert Interview

Everything Sustainability, Impact Investing and what Econos Has Been up to

Malte Folten
Jan 11th, 2022

Cashlink: Welcome Michael, we’re very happy to welcome you as our guest today! For the few who don’t know you yet, why don’t you tell them a bit about who you are and what you do.

Michael: Hello and thank you very much for your invitation, I’m glad to be here. My name is Dr. Michael Krause and I’m one of the co-founders of Econos. Before joining Econos I worked several years as a consultant at McKinsey mainly focused on financial services. I have also been working as an associate at a private equity firm and founded my own startup in my mid twenties, which sold sleeping cabins for airports. I studied business administration and mechanical engineering at TUM in Munich and did my PHD in patent management. With Econos we have built an investment platform which enables in particular private investors to participate in different sustainable projects that were previously predominantly available to professional investors. We focus on providing a variety of green investment opportunities for all kinds of return-risk profiles, thus enabling everyone to be part of our efforts for climate protection. At Econos, I’m responsible for finance and operations and leading our company from a strategic, entrepreneurial standpoint. This primarily involves overseeing and coordinating all various work streams and making management decisions.

Cashlink: And that is what you have been doing since May 2021 when Econos GmbH was founded earlier this year. But despite being such a young company, you did not hesitate to turn your ideas into action and went live already. What gave you the motivation to act so quickly?

Michael: The issue with sustainable investments at this time was obvious to us: there were hardly any opportunities for private investors to have a real ecological impact combined with an attractive return. The opportunities you had seemed to be sustainable but after having a closer inspection turned out to be anything but and oftentimes even followed misleading ESG-criterias. Therefore we decided to act fast and provide some truly sustainable projects as soon as possible. Thanks to our dedicated team and our trusted investor Pelion Green Future, we were able to launch our first investment, a forest in Fleetmark, in early July after only a few months. We are always driven by our mission to be the leading fintech platform for attractive, fundamentally sustainable financial opportunities making a significant impact in the fight against the climate crisis. And to be honest, there is no time to hesitate in this fight and action must be taken quickly, which has also been a key motivator for our entire team.

Cashlink: As the assets you offer also mirror this mindset towards investing, it makes sense that your first asset was a forest in Fleetmark, followed by renewable energy projects and Venture Capital Funds, as the recently launched VC project with Planet A Ventures. While on the subject – Congratulations! Now why did you particularly choose VC as an asset class?

Michael: Thank you very much, we are all happy that we have launched 5 projects in such a short time period! Econos wants to provide unique investment opportunities in the Venture Capital and Private Equity market for private investors. Over the last 20 years, this market has had a significantly higher return rate than the normal stock market, because oftentimes companies have their biggest growth years before their IPO. This kind of investment is normally only available for institutional investors. With Econos everyone can now invest in this attractive market and support the future global players in the sustainability sector. The two funds – Worldfund and Below One Fund 1 – have convinced us as the teams behind the funds share the same vision and goals as we do, providing unique, sustainable investments with high return potential.

Cashlink: And how would someone interested in investing go about the process?

Michael: On our website each of our assets has its own detail page with all the relevant information you might need. There we give interesting insights into the respective market and provide background information about the project in general. Any further questions can be sent to us via email and will always be answered by our investment experts as soon as possible. If you want to invest, just follow the investment buttons on our products’ details pages and you will get a detailed overview of the required steps. These steps are executed by our trusted partner Cashlink. As with any other investment platform, you will need to provide some basic information about yourself and the investment you want to make. Overall, it is going to take you no more than a few minutes.

Cashlink: Well, there you go. And last but not least we must ask you this question: How do you think the average investor will change within the next five years and why? How will the industry change in general?

Michael: In my opinion, several changes will occur. First, the trend of sustainable investments will continue, perhaps even with an exponential growth. Especially this year you could clearly see that more and more people want their investments to have an environmental and social impact. In the future, impact investing will play an even bigger role, since the effects of the climate crisis will become even more obvious. This is also a reason why we need different investment opportunities addressing all kinds of risk-return profiles, so that everyone can choose the investment that suits them best, just like in today’s stock market. Second, digital investment opportunities and technological changes will impact the market like never before. Over the last years, cryptocurrencies have made it obvious that the future of finance and investing might be taking a completely new direction and therefore digital, revolutionary assets will become more important. Furthermore, the average investor will be younger. Thirty years ago, investing money was only established within small groups of people and often considered as too risky. Nowadays, even young students already have their monthly savings plan and oftentimes know more about investing than many of their parents. This trend will continue, since digital platforms like TradeRepublic, Scalable Capital or Binance make it much easier for anyone to invest their money in all kinds of different assets.

Cashlink: Well, thank you so much for being here with us today and your interesting insights!

Michael: Thank you for having me!

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