Munich Startup: What does your startup do? What problem are you solving?
Theresa Hauck: Econos is a digital investment platform that gives private investors access to green investment options in the private capital market. These are investments that are found most often in the portfolios of professional investors who have a great deal of capital, such as venture capital (VC). This allows us to solve the problem of private investors hardly having access to the private capital market. At the same time, Econos offers private investors investment options that are truly sustainable, which is a real alternative to ESG funds, some of which have questionable sustainability criteria. With and through Econos, private investors can optimize their portfolios, which allows them to make a significant contribution to a sustainable future.
Focus on forests, renewable energy and venture capital
Right now, private investors can select from three different asset classes with Econos: forests, renewable energy and venture capital. What’s special is that all of these asset classes are nature- or tech-based solutions for climate protection. This allows us to unite financial and ecological interests and to meet investors’ high expectations. An example is a venture capital fund with a focus on climate technology. Econos also offers options such as forest investment or project development in renewable energy, which could include solar or battery storage plants.
Munich Startup: But that’s nothing out of the box!
Theresa Hauck: Two aspects strongly differentiate Econos from existing investment platforms. First, Econos is not ‘just’ a platform. As an asset manager, it also ensures that the quality of the offered investments meets the highest standards. That’s why we primarily charge success-based fees, which ensures that we are pursuing the same interests as our investors. Second, Econos uses the latest blockchain technology and offers tokenized investment options. This is new and, particularly in the forest asset class, we’re the first to offer it. With its broad network, Econos also offers access to particularly attractive investment options. For example, we’re the only platform that offers indirect investment in the World Fund, the biggest climate tech VC fund in Europe. It’s precisely this exclusivity and singularity that our investors appreciate.
“Investments are tremendously powerful leverage for making a sustainable impact”
Munich Startup: What is your founding story?
Theresa Hauck: I knew early on that I wanted to become an entrepreneur. I met my co-founder last year and together we decided to found Econos. By founding Econos, I was able to bring together my passion for investment with my background in sustainability. It’s the big picture that’s really at the heart of it all for me: Investments are tremendously powerful leverage for making a sustainable impact. The world’s biggest investors have already discovered the financial opportunities provided by the transition to renewable energy. The time had come to use cutting-edge technology to give private investors access to these opportunities as well and to channel even more capital in this direction.
Munich Startup: What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Theresa Hauck: Managing (private) capital comes with enormous responsibility. Our focus is on reaching our investors’ financial goals while simultaneously finding the best investments that are financially attractive and always live up to our demands in terms of sustainability. Gaining our investors’ trust was a major challenge. At the same time, we had to work on an extremely professional level from the very beginning, and we quickly established a very strong network of partners (including Pelion Green Future, Pacifico Energy Partners and World Fun) to cover the necessary expertise and infrastructure.
Broader access to alternative green investment products
Munich Startup: Where would you like to be in one year, and where in five years?
Theresa Hauck: With Econos, we want to make the most of the opportunities presented by new technologies and to create further functions and new features in the near future. To give an example for the future, this would include the option to digitally and flexibly trade purchased shares on a second market, which would provide liquidity for investments that are typically illiquid. Moreover, we also want to give more and more people access to alternative green investment products, to maximize our contribution to climate protection and continue to make a lasting impact on the financial services and investment industry.
Munich Startup: How have you experienced Munich as a startup location so far?
Theresa Hauck: Munich has proven to be an excellent location for us. As one of Germany’s largest cities with first-rate infrastructure and international character, it offers an attractive location for the most talented and creative minds. We also view the startup scene, which is constantly developing and growing in the field of fintech and sustainability in particular, as a significant advantage.
Munich Startup: Staying power or quick exit?
Theresa Hauck: For us, the answer is definitely “staying power!” Econos aims to be the main place to go for sustainable investments in the capital market, for both private and professional investors. We’ve already noticed that investors’ expectations now go far beyond just financial factors. We want to use investments through Econos as leverage for achieving sustainable change and make a significant contribution to a sustainable future. Due to their lack of innovative strength, traditional financial institutions will have a difficult time being fast enough and credible enough to keep up with the current paradigm shift in terms of digitization and sustainability. We are going to fill this gap with Econos – a business model that, from our point of view, has a very strong raison d’être not just now, but over the long term as well.