We are excited to be welcoming Wren to the USV portfolio. We first came across Wren while navigating the confusing process of purchasing carbon offsets for our firm’s travel. We found Wren to be one of the most clear and trustworthy solutions in what is an otherwise confusing space that borders on the scammy. A big part of USV’s thesis 3.0 is about finding brands that fill a trust gap in low-trust markets and this is exactly what Wren is doing.
Buying carbon removals (a type of carbon offset where the carbon is removed from the atmosphere) is one of the best actions an individual can take to help reverse any negative effects their lifestyle has on the climate crisis. But as anyone who has tried to purchase offsets knows too well, buying offsets is wildly confusing: there are too many options that are hard to differentiate, it’s unclear how much carbon to offset, which project is most impactful, how much to pay for offsets, and how much of that payment is actually going to the offsetting project (in many cases, only 25% goes to the project and the rest goes to various middlemen). Plus, some offsets are fraudulent which leads to distrust across the whole industry.
Wren is focused on bringing transparency to carbon offsets. Customers who offset their carbon emissions from a project through Wren get regular updates on the progress of the project, they get information on the project’s efficacy to date, and a guarantee of how much of their payment goes to the project itself. Wren’s goal is to make offset buyers feel like they are a part of the offsetting project team the way a platform like Kickstarter makes people feel connected to the projects they back, and give them transparency into the actual impact of their purchase and where every dollar they spend goes.
USV is not only an investor in Wren, we are also a customer. Through Wren we are offsetting our air travel by purchasing removals from a Kenyan tree planting project. Many of the trees planted by this project grow medicinal or edible crops and so this project serves a dual purpose of sequestering carbon and supporting local agriculture. Because we are buying carbon removals through Wren, we have transparency and guarantees around where our money is being spent. For every $10 we spend on Wren, $5.50 is going to compensate farmers for planting and maintaining trees on their land, $2.50 is going to teaching new farmers how to participate, and $2 is going to Wren the company.