Last year I was introduced to Founders Pledge, an organization for founders to pledge a certain % of their exit returns to impactful projects or organizations at the point of liquidity. This idea immediately captivated me.
Freedom is the most important luxury in my personal value system, and I discovered that money does not help me attain it. In fact, the opposite might be more reflective of reality. As the excitement and glory of new acquisitions dims with use, the costs and mental capacity required to manage, care for and maintain physical possessions far outweighs the initial enjoyment. Eventually objects become shackless and what you own ends up owning you. I’ve learned this firsthand by spending some of the best time in my life surfing the world on less than €1,000 a month, while living in a van. Being close to the nature, the spontaneity and carefreeness I experienced brought me unparalleled levels of satisfaction and I didn’t feel like anything was missing.
People understandably have different priorities. For some, it is being able to buy a fancy house, a fast car, their dream boat or a luxury vacation. For me, it is and has always been, the mission of building impactful businesses that positively affect the lives of individuals and the planet at large. After early beginnings selling the unused returns of my stepdads warehouse on local flea markets to save them from the trash at the age of 9, becoming an ebay trader of second-hand goods as a teenager and then building trade-a-game.de / rebuy.com out of high-school to give 100 million electronic products a second life through intense repair & refurbishment over a period of more than 10 years, Tier is now providing me with an incredible opportunity to change mobility for good by building the most sustainable mobility company in the world.
“I am excited by challenging the status quo, fighting climate change and pursuing sustainable visions.”
From commerce to mobility, I am convinced that every business sector carries the responsibility to improve lives for today’s and future generations.
Personally, I always felt uncomfortable with how wasteful contemporary society treats its finite resources. Our relationship with nature rests on a give and take relationship that should be kept in equilibrium. For too long, we have focused on taking and have seriously damaged the planet in the process. Today, as we are beginning to experience the catastrophic consequences of a disturbed equilibrium, it is time to give back.
“I believe that everyone can play a part in this process — in small part or in large part, each based on their individual possibilities and personal circumstances.”
Reflecting on my priorities, my motivations, and the sources from which I derive personal happiness and satisfaction, I am announcing today to pledge 100% of any exit proceeds coming from Tier. The full 100% will be donated when I exit TIER and liquidate my shares. The timing of this is not confirmed nor planned. The commitment and pledge are made for the long term and the final sum of the donation is pending the results of the company.
I have everything I need, a wonderful relationship, a healthy body & mind, great friends and family, a beautiful home and the salary to support a carefree and fulfilled way of life. I wish for all my financial means above and beyond that to contribute to what has always excited me most — building and supporting impactful technology-enabled businesses. On the 9th of March this year, I signed my Founders Pledge commitment to transfer all my shares in TIER to “Blue/Impact”. Blue/Impact is my personal investment vehicle for backing and supporting the next generation of impact entrepreneurs.
Over the past years, the vehicle has invested in early-stage rounds of some of Europe’s most ambitious founders looking to make serious dents in the UN sustainable development goals. Amongst others, we supported companies looking to improve health care, provide nutritious food solutions, develop more energy-efficient production processes and track CO2 emissions. The “evergreen” structure of the vehicle will assure that all proceeds will be re-deployed back into the fund with no payouts permitted for my personal wealth. Blue/Impact will always exist to invest capital into aspiring impact businesses and help founders realise their vision of a better tomorrow
The same way that the flea market represented the starting point for growing my entrepreneurial endeavours, I hope that Blue/Impact can provide the support and resources for other entrepreneurs to launch their visions. I have always believed in the power of technology to improve the world around us and I am convinced that the next generation of founders will share this creed. Today, as we face humanitarian disasters, deteriorating climate, racial divides and a global pandemic, the rise of this new class of impact entrepreneurs is desperately needed. The sense of urgency is becoming apparent to an increasing number of ambitious founders. It is my personal mission to support them on their journey. The Founders Pledge and Blue/Impact will be way of doing that.
This is my way of giving back and my natural next step to humbly, yet ambitiously, contribute to building a better tomorrow.
This article was originally published on Medium.
Lawrence Leuschner is an impact entrepreneur, committed to fighting climate change through building companies with sustainable visions. He is the CEO and Co-Founder of TIER Mobility.