Crushing Carbon: Introducing Our New Brand Identity
Recently, we quietly flipped the switch on a completely redesigned website, including a new brand identity we’ve been using for some time. We’re thrilled with the result and want to share how we got here.
We started this project by asking two fundamental questions: Is our product and identity that we offer still relevant? And, what’s the best way that we can convey our story?
Our product is something we obsess over -the “three C’s” as we call them: code, capital, and customers make up the bulk of our product. Our product generally comes in the form of $500k - $750k of initial capital and access to our customers and code via our network advisor platform. Our team also tries to dig deeper, engage more frequently with founders and teams.
The way to go about getting these answers was to ask our customers directly - both current founders as well as those not in the portfolio. We listened to what they said and how they said it. Their words served as our North Star for how we’d go about telling our story.
We started to see clear signals in the data. Access became a recurring theme – both access to customers and to capital. Pulling this thread further, we started to tease out concepts around support and how we could better align ourselves to support these visionaries through the first years of a startup’s journey.
Armed with a newfound understanding of our customers, we partnered with Roey Tsemah at PlayMakeThink.Together, we designed our core beliefs that aided the design, identify, and website.
Moving beyond simply the financial product, we also realized our core focus – to invest in change makers focused on environmental impacts, wasn’t truly reflected in our messaging. With a sense of renewed commitment (and urgency) we decided to narrow our focus from “investing at the intersection of old industries and new technologies” to “investing today in tomorrow’s infrastructure”.
Myriad data has shown the earth is getting hotter – and that we are causing it. By focusing our efforts on technologies that reduced our carbon footprint, not only did our name need to reflect this shift, but quite honestly, everything needed to change. How we talked about companies, why we get heavily involved, etc. were all shifting. Not so much with the “what” we invest in, but quite a bit on the “why”.
That why – really comes down to time, resources, and focus. With limited time to engage with founders and scarce resources we knew we wanted to focus on topics and industries that mattered most to us. More broadly, we spoke previously of building a “Vitamin vs. a painkiller”, now we needed to speak of carbon reducing “vitamins”. To find the change agents focused on environmental good (or reducing environmental harm) were are targets.
In the Army, there was an oft-used phrase, “solider first, mission always”. With a renewed purpose, we see this as “founder focused, mission always”. When we set out to build a mentor network, we knew we had two pillars that must be articulated throughout: honesty and access. To enable our founders high quality engagements, we needed honesty on both sides of the table. We also needed to ensure a time commitment from both the founders as well as the mentors.
Recently, it appears that a large number of early stage firms are asking to see more and more revenue and more mature product before funding. Our messaging needs to articulate a fearlessness – we want to be your first check, your first call, and your first email.
In a sector as opaque as environmental impact, focusing more on the facts and less on the “feel” led us to build our own toolkit to help evaluate companies and the customers they serve. What data exists currently, what can we readily attain, and what story does it tell?
When you truly reach alignment with your teams, it permeates all aspects of life. From coffee chats to bus stops to board rooms, our singular focus on advancing the mission of our teams.
At the end of the day, our founders tell our story. They tell of their worlds, the futures they aspire to create – the challenges they go through to build this utopia. They also introduce us to their peers along the way, connecting us to other citizens focused on similar carbon reducing missions.
This is why we built Carbon Ventures. To invest today in tomorrow’s infrastructure.