Three people at the KfW Capital Award 2023 award ceremony
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KfW Capital

Best Impact Investor: Tim Schumacher

Three questions, three answers from the Winner of the KfW Capital Award Best Impact Investor, Tim Schumacher!

Mr Schumacher, we congratulate you on award as Best Impact Investor 2023! Can you tell us why you opted for the field of impact investing?

TIM SCHUMACHER: I invest almost exclusively in the field of ecological impact. This is because I'm absolutely convinced that climate action is a matter of great urgency. During my childhood in Freiburg, I grew up in an environmentally conscious household, and that shaped my views. I began my professional career as a software founder. Then, after my successful exit, I asked myself: What do I believe is the most important topic on earth? The answer was climate action. What can I contribute as an individual? My expertise in software development! I looked for a way to connect the two, and so I started with impact investments. My first investments included Ecosia and Zolar. Both companies work in environmental protection and are stepping up their efforts in this area. That was the start, and from then on, I really wanted to get down to business! It was clear to me that the world could not be saved by software alone, so together with my partners Daria Saharova and Danijel Višević I founded the World Fund, which invests its capital solely and exclusively in climate-start-ups.

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Looking back, what was the highlight of your career, and what are your plans for the future?

Oh, fortunately my career has seen several highlights. But if I have to name one, I would say the conversion of Ecosia from a profit-driven enterprise into a not-for-profit company. That was very important to me personally.

Looking ahead, we are aiming to successfully close our World Fund in the next four to five months. That is more challenging than we thought, even though we have already won over phenomenal investors, given that the investment environment has actually changed considerably in recent months. And then, of course, we want to prove that financial success and strong impact can go together. We want to find climate champions who are changing the world. We are seeing great potential for this in the German and European market. The German market, in particular, is a strong one for patents in innovative technologies. What we are still missing in Germany is sufficient capital for the big development steps and a tad more courage to seize opportunities.

If there was something you could change in the current market, what would it be?

If I could change something in the current market, I would go to the source, namely the origin of the money. I would simplify regulations for large institutional investors and create incentives for investing more funds in venture capital, private equity and climate-positive businesses. Apart from that, raw materials independence is also very important.

Published on KfW Stories on 20 October 2023.