Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and an online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, who are advancing the UN SDGs.
Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Luca Zerbini, the CEO and co-founder of Una Terra Venture Capital Impact Fund. Let’s learn what’s happening at Una Terra Venture Capital Impact Fund and how Luca is making a positive impact in the world.
Spiffy: Hi Luca, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge is Una Terra Venture Capital Impact Fund addressing?
Luca: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Una Terra invests in companies that can contribute to solving two of the critical environmental issues of our days: the warming of our planet and the waste plastic in the oceans. Through our fund, we support company founders to accelerate their growth, supporting them with capital, growth support, and sustainability. Beyond our mission to eliminate 2 Gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions and 1 million tons of plastic waste per year until 2030 (ca. 5% of the total), we also believe implementing a truly sustainable approach can increase returns for investors. We believe we can become the platform for responsible investing in Europe.
Spiffy: What motivated you to do it?
Luca: I started working on sustainability since the birth of our sons. Over time, I took additional responsibility and positions to better understand this from a pragmatic perspective. The decision to get deeper, create an entire organization and recruit some of the best people to work on it came with urgency. The need became not only limited by my own time in the quest for environmental impact, but also expanding and accelerating this impact by leveraging people and money.
Spiffy: I love that! How would you say that your organization is working towards a more equitable world?
Luca:The companies we invest in, even if often starting from European innovation, usually have a global approach to market and target to provide similar solutions globally. Also, in terms of social agenda, we believe in diversity and inclusion - for instance 60% of the companies we invested in are female-led. Our board is also majority female. We have dozens of countries and ethnicities represented on our team and in portfolio companies.
Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make?
Luca: We were just selected as "Innovative fund for our future" by the World Economic Forum, which means significant support and recognition for our brand and our fundraising. Our advisory board, scientific board, and team have been recently completed, so we are very excited to be able to now be ready to accelerate our agenda and focus on impact.
Spiffy: Please share a company that you are excited about in your portfolio.
Green Parrot is a very exciting company that has the potential to transform the waste management industry with artificial intelligence. They significantly improve the opportunity to reuse materials for instance in packaging, food or constructions, but also can help brands to significantly improve their solutions providing real life information and data.
Spiffy: Is there anything else you would love to tell our audience?
Luca: I believe there is an opportunity to use sustainability to truly transform our world and our society for the better. The crisis we are facing will push us to further collaboration and to focus our people and planet less on money and more on purpose.
Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Luca—it’s been an honor!
Luca is the Managing Partner and co-founder of Una Terra Venture Capital Impact Fund. Previously, he led P&Ls in public corporations like Honeywell, Amcor and HP, but also as CEO of two PE-backed companies. He also honed his business skills as a management consultant at Bain & Company
Luca holds an Industrial Engineering MSE from the Polytechnic in Milan and an MBA with Honors from the Wharton School. He speaks fluently English, French, Italian, and he is conversant in Spanish and German. (Nominated by Ladderworks. First published on the Ladderworks website on October 26, 2022.)
© 2022 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Jason Block. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.