First Stage Investor

Slow Governments Won’t Stop This Startup From Saving the Planet

Slow Governments Won’t Stop This Startup From Saving the Planet
By Andy Gordon
Date November 4, 2021

“We need decarbonization now, across every sector in every country,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres tweeted earlier this week.

Don’t kill the messenger here, but he’s spitting in the wind. A plea for governments to pick up the pace of decarbonization will do little good. Not even the increasing incidence of fires, floods and extreme heat has gotten governments to act with the urgency and alacrity necessary to prevent a destructive global climate crisis. 

But there is hope. Because more and more companies in the private sector are answering the call and offering solutions that can make a real difference. And they don’t require the consent of a hundred countries to do so. 

Many of them are startups, including World Tree. I first presented this small, can-do Canadian startup in early 2019. World Tree was by far the best revenue-sharing opportunity I’d come across at the time (a minimum 11X return). You can read the details in my original article. By planting thousands of voracious carbon-eating Empress Splendor trees every year, it’s helping to solve a global problem threatening to spiral out of control. 

World Tree offers the dual benefits of making good money and helping to save the world. It’s an irresistible combination in my book. And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Some 1,000 investors have readily responded to World Tree’s enticing value proposition. Last year it raised around $6.5 million. And this year it’s already raised nearly $2.5 million (via a Regulation D raise). It’s currently raising another round on Wefunder

The price per (planting) acre was $2,000 when I first presented World Tree to First Stage Investor subscribers. It’s gone up since then from $3,000 last year to $3,600 in its current raise.  

To World Tree’s credit, it has more than offset these price increases by decreasing risk. There’s much more geographic diversification than before. More trees are being planted in more countries (the U.S., Canada, Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico). The genetic material World Tree uses to plant trees is also more diverse. It’s doubling its number of nurseries and diversifying where those nurseries are located. This is important, as World Tree uses its nursery-grown trees to replace trees that have died on its more than 270 farms.  

With more farms and acreage to manage, World Tree has also expanded from 12 employees in 2019 to 40 employees today. That’s serious growth, folks.

And all this growth is happening well before World Tree’s first official harvest, which takes place in the winter of 2025 to 2026. (It’s had three unofficial harvests, including one on former President Jimmy Carter’s land.) 

World Tree intends to handle all the sales of its lumber. It hired a full-time lumber salesman this January and is laying the groundwork for its first harvest by contacting about 100 lumber buyers/manufacturers and sending them samples for testing. 

World Tree has planted its trees on more than 5,000 acres. But that’s just the beginning. It wants to cover tens of thousands of acres with Empress Splendor trees. World Tree is in it for the long haul. But unlike our slow-moving governments, the company also wants to make an impact in the short term. And that’s why World Tree is raising again on Wefunder. More money raised means more trees planted. World Tree understands that no less than the future viability of our planet is at stake. It wants to grow to make an environmental impact as soon as possible. 

But instead of taxing us to finance government-sponsored environmental programs, World Tree lets investors take home 25% of the profits. It’s a pretty sweet deal.

World Tree’s Wefunder raise is scheduled to end on December 31, 2021.

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