November 28, 2023

A new wave of founders are turning from fintech to climate tech

Safi joins a growing group of climate techs that have experienced fintech operators at the helm

Amy O'Brien

6 min read

The Safi team

Last week Rishi Stocker — formerly employee number 20 at Revolut — raised a $19.5m Series A round for his recycling marketplace startup Safi, a round that the entrepreneur says closed in around four weeks. 

That’s pretty fast in the current funding climate. But Safi’s credentials tick a lot of VC boxes right now — it’s B2B, a climate tech and created by founders who cut their teeth at Europe’s first-generation fintechs. Stocker’s cofounder, Eamon Jubbawy, previously founded identity verification unicorn Onfido and has two other startups on the go right now — carbon credit startup Isometric, and billing and payments startup Sequence.

Stocker joins a growing group of experienced fintech operators who have made the move over to climate tech with their new venture in recent months (details below). Those include Tesseract, CUR8, Isometric and Metric. 


The round was led by new UK marketplace investor Nosara Capital, alongside existing investors Lowercarbon Capital and Transition. Revolut cofounder Vlad Yatsenko and Monzo founder Tom Blomfield also joined the round.

But what’s the connection between working in fintech and in climate? 

For Stocker, the move to climate tech was largely down to where he felt he could have more material impact.

“After Revolut, VCs were throwing money at me asking if I’d like to do some more niche copy of Revolut but for some segment of the upper class, and that was less exciting to me,” he tells Sifted.

“But the cool thing is when you come into this climate world, you see just how much impact you can have relatively quickly.”

While there are some corners of climate tech that are more fintech adjacent — namely carbon credits and carbon accounting — Stocker was encouraged to go a step further and tackle a more “hardcore climate” problem by Safi’s main backer, US fund Lowercarbon Capital.

“Europe’s climate tech funds have been a bit more risk averse with these more difficult problems, but some of the US funds like Lowercarbon encouraged us to take that step.” 

Safi has built a B2B marketplace for the recycling industry, to connect different facilities around the world so they can exchange materials. It connects the sorting plants, which process household recycling and find valuable materials like metal, plastic and paper that can be used again, with secondary facilities that can process these and turn them back into raw materials for manufacturing. Safi currently has clients in 15 countries — a marked difference from the local focus a fintech must have from the get-go thanks to heavy regulation.

Stocker says most of Safi’s suppliers are in Western Europe and North America where there’s a lot of recycling, and most of the demand is on the other side of the world, like Asia, where most manufacturing tends to take place.

“There’s so much complexity when moving materials that far around the world,” Stocker tells Sifted in an interview. “So trying to build a bridge between sellers and buyers who are fundamentally super different and don’t trust each other is what I find so exciting.”

Stocker says Safi’s also using an AI automation system to monitor the quality of materials and detect issues before they’re sent off. The company’s cofounders didn’t give up fintech that easily, either — Safi works with Sprinque, finmid and Perfios to provide integrated embedded finance products that allow it to offer invoice financing. 

Here are the other European tech companies founded by former fintech founders, investors and operators who have now moved into climate. 

Fuse (formerly Tesseract) 

The Fuse team

Founded: 2022

Founder: Alan Chang, Revolut’s former chief revenue officer

What does it do? Fuse Energy (formerly called Tesseract) says it plans to change how things are done in the consumer energy sector, by buying and building renewable energy assets, then directly selling energy to consumers. After bagging a mammoth $78m seed round last year from some of venture capital’s biggest names, Fuse has been on an acquisition spree: it’s bought four startups this year that will allow it to supply power directly to consumers. Chang was known as one of Revolut founder Nik Storonsky’s prodigies while at the neobank — he joined the startup straight after graduating in 2015 and worked his way up the ranks to C-suite over his seven-year tenure.


The CUR8 team

Founded: 2022

Founder: Marta Krupińska

What does it do? CUR8 acts as a broker for the carbon removal sector, facilitating deals with the actual carbon removal companies and then selling credits — each one equating to one tonne of carbon removed from the Earth’s atmosphere — on to other companies. Krupińska was a serial fintech founder before founding CUR8 with climate experts Gabrielle Walker and Mark Stevenson — she founded Azimo and FreeUp before heading up Google for Startups in the UK. CUR8 raised a £5.3m pre-seed round led by Google Ventures earlier this year.


Eamon Jubbawy, founder of Isometric.
Eamon Jubbawy, founder of Isometric

Founded: 2022

Founder: Eamon Jubbawy

What does it do? Isometric also operates in the carbon removal space, but has set out specifically to tackle the problems that plague it — namely, the quality of credits and their verification. Isometric is a carbon registry that’s developing its own protocols for verifying the quality of the credits it will issue. In particular, it will focus on longer-term carbon removal projects that will have an impact for at least 1,000 years. Jubbawy previously cofounded identity verification startup Onfido and knows the UK investor scene well: evidenced by the whopping $25m seed round he secured earlier this year to fund Isometric’s plans.


Natasha Jones, founder of Metris

Founded: 2023 

Founder: Natasha Jones

What does it do? Metris Energy is still in stealth, but there’s a little information to be gathered from public sources. The new climate tech is focusing on solar energy procurement for commercial property owners — a recent job ad for the company says its mission is to “turn every building into a power plant” through its platform, which will handle property selection, installation, tenant onboarding and billing and payments. It’s closed a pre-seed round and is due to launch at the end of January. Cofounder Natasha Jones was a fintech investor at UK firm Octopus Ventures for almost three years before leaving to found her own thing. Seasoned engineer William Whatley is also listed as a director on the company register.

Amy O'Brien

Amy O'Brien was a reporter at Sifted, covering fintech