07:14 – Being willing to cut your salary by half
13:35 – Point of no return and the supposed car garage mafia
21:33 – From Shopify to building your own technology platform
23:50 – Dissatisfied customers for the win
35:47 – International markets, alert competitors and sought-after investor qualities
Oliver Marchand is Managing Director and Global Head of ESG Research and Models at MSCI Inc., a worldwide provider of support tools and services for investment needs.
Marchand finished his PhD in Computer Science and Meteorology from ETH Zürich in 2003. In 2005, he took a role as Head of IT at Fisch Asset Management. His small team managed to build the entire portfolio management system for FAM, and his decade-long stay provided many valuable lessons for building a company, like negotiation skills, IT security skills and transparency — according to Oliver, “there’s really no other way to do business”!
These tools were soon put to good use. After leaving FAM, Oliver joined forces to found Carbon Delta, a financial technology B2B service evaluating the ecological footprint and possible environmental impacts of companies. Building a social impact company, especially by bootstrapping, was no easy feat. The product was also met with intense skepticism by the investing community of Germany and Switzerland. As an alternative, browsing in America for interested investors and employees meant heavy relocation costs that were just too much for the young company.
Climate change is definitely a hot topic these days, and understandably so. According to Marchand, 50% of the economy desperately needs to decarbonize, and it was precisely this feeling of urgency that made Carbon Delta push forward to overcome their funding struggles. In the first year, their biggest support came from Climate-KIC’s Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) Booster Flagship Programme. This valuable help eventually led the company to reach amazing milestones: some of their victories include the Europe’s Best Climate Venture 2016 award and the European Fintech Award 2017 for Risk, Intelligence and Security. Other major players supporting Oliver’s project include the ZKB and a team of encouraging SICTIC investors — our previous podcast guest Thomas Dübendorfer, president of SICTIC and expert angel investor, is also on the list!
Carbon Delta was acquired by MSCI Inc. in October 2019, and Oliver couldn’t be happier with his startup’s buyer. Fighting for a cleaner planet still presents many challenges, but Oliver hopes his work at MSCI may continue to have a transforming power in the sustainability of the financial industry.
“Transparency needs to be discussed. Assumed. Agreed upon from the very beginning.”
“This is my honest view, and nobody says this because it’s not politically correct. Most people believe that if there’s ‘too much sustainability’ in a business, it’s never going to create return. I believe this is not only ethically wrong, but also factually wrong.”
Strategy Cards are a cool source of inspiration for when Oliver needs to solve a business dilemma or two.
If you would like to listen to more conversations on sustainability, check out our episodes with Sreenath Bolisetty, Laurent Coulot and Liliane Ableitner.
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