TreeCard, a UK fintech promising to plant trees when customers make payments with its wooden debit card, has just taken in $23 million of series A funding.
The round is being led by the US VC Valar Ventures, climate tech VC World Fund and EQT Ventures, with participation by Seedcamp and Episode 1, and a couple of business angels: Figma founder Dylan Field and DoNotPay CEO Joshua Browder.
Founded in late 2020, TreeCard plans to let customers using its Mastercard debit card use it with their existing bank account so they don't have to set up yet another set of account details.
They'll also get the TreeCard app with "gamification techniques" and neobank-like features, as well as customer rewards like free entry to National Parks and match sponsorships to remove plastic bottles from oceans.
The trees are being planted in partnership with the not-for-profit search engine Ecosia, which has long tried to do a similar thing for web searches, using ad profits to fund tree planting, around 120 million of them since 2009.
More on the specifics: 80% of the merchant fees will go to reforestation. Earlier reports said a tree will be planted for every $60/£45 spent by TreeCard's customers. And on the startup's website, a graphic says becoming as big as the Bank of America would lead to 3 billion trees being planted every year.
TreeCard is just doing this for US customers at the moment, until the end of its Beta programme. There's a 250,000 customer waitlist to get through, and TreeCard's reforestation drive's already planted 200,000 trees to start with. Next year, European customers will have access as the product formally launches.
Equipped with series A funding, TreeCard plans to grow headcount aiming to double its team. The wooden debit card is set to arrive in European letter-boxes next year, so there's still time to hone in on product.
Jamie Cox, co-founder and CEO at Treecard, said: "We’ve always believed that if there was a button that could make your life more sustainable, then people would press it.
"There is a desire, and an urgent need, to be more sustainable but too often people don’t know where to start or aren’t sure about the right way to go about it."
The build up to TreeCard's launch is good news for Ecosia also. Ecosia was a participant in the startup's $1 million seed round two years ago, buying up a 20% stake.
TreeCard later added $5.1 million in an early 2021 seed round led by EQT Ventures with backing from Seedcamp, Episode 1 and angel investors Matt Robinson and Charlie Delingpole.