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Conversation
Highlights

 

Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries — the show that explores GTM stories from tech’s most innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with Troy Carter, CEO and co-founder of Earthshot Labs, an ecological restoration finance platform that has raised $11 million in funding.

  • Troy’s entrepreneurial journey starting with a cider company in Sonoma after graduating from Stanford, and his perspective on the limitations of institutions in fostering individual fulfillment and consciousness.
  • The profound ecological crisis underlying climate change, from mass species extinction to the loss of vibrant ecosystems, and the need for a deeper shift in how humanity relates to nature.
  • How the climate crisis can serve as a catalyst for personal and collective healing, inviting a confrontation with mortality and a reevaluation of what truly matters.
  • Earthshot Labs’ mission to develop and finance carbon projects at scale, supporting reforestation and conservation efforts by tribes, communities, and landowners.
  • The company’s pioneering approach to ecosystem forecasting, using process-based modeling to simulate the long-term impact of interventions on specific landscapes.
  • Troy’s vision for making ecosystem restoration an investable asset class, with rigorous risk assessment frameworks and innovative financial vehicles to drive institutional capital.

Actionable
Takeaways

Cultivate an Intrinsic Drive for Problem-Solving:

Troy attributes his entrepreneurial spirit not to his Stanford education but to a lifelong passion for starting projects and businesses in service of his learning journey. He encourages founders, especially young entrepreneurs, to maintain a strong sense of personal agency and self-exploration, even within the confines of institutions. Cultivating an intrinsic drive to solve problems that light up your curiosity is the surest path to fulfillment.

Build Organizations That Embody Wisdom and Integrity:

Lamenting the absence of large institutions that represent the best of human wisdom, Troy challenges founders to create organizations that operate with greater love, integrity, and consciousness than their predecessors. He highlights the importance of rethinking power dynamics, fostering individual sovereignty, and empowering every team member to find their voice. Building wise organizations is an ongoing journey of personal and collective growth.

Connect Climate Action to Visceral Motivations:

Troy emphasizes the need to anchor climate action in people's immediate, visceral experiences of ecological loss, rather than abstract carbon targets. He shares the story of coral bleaching in Hawaii as a mobilizing moment, driving home the importance of falling in love with the nature in our own backyards. Founders in the climate space should seek to connect their missions to the tangible, intimate reasons that spark individuals to act.

Embrace Grief as a Gateway to Participation:

Discussing his ability to remain optimistic in the face of dire ecological projections, Troy distinguishes between grief and despair. He frames grief as an appropriate, even necessary, response to the inevitability of death - and a powerful catalyst for participating in the healing process. Founders grappling with existential challenges must learn to grieve what is being lost while transmuting that emotion into purposeful action.

Pioneer Rigorous Frameworks to Derisk Novel Asset Classes:

Earthshot Labs is at the forefront of developing robust risk assessment frameworks and financial vehicles to make carbon projects a viable asset class for institutional investors. Troy outlines the importance of quantitative diligence processes, staged financing facilities, and innovative structures like publicly-traded funds to drive liquidity. Founders seeking to open up new asset classes should prioritize rigorous de-risking to build trust and catalyze capital flows.

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