Peter Reinhardt spent the last decade as CEO of Segment helping to build the customer data platform, selling it to Twilio for $3.2 billion along the way. Today, Reinhardt announced that he was leaving Twilio to be full-time CEO at industrial charm, a carbon mitigation startup he co-founded in 2018.
Reinhardt has expressed mixed emotions about the exit, calling it bittersweet, but believes working on the global climate crisis is something that demands his attention right now. Steve Davito, Twilio Segment’s go-to-market leader, will replace him, according to the company.
Reinhardt says Charm’s business began picking up steam last year after its co-founder, chief scientist Shaun Meehan, made some major strides, and he felt it was time to fully devote his energies to the venture.
“My co-founder Shaun realized that we could convert biomass to a liquid and that would solve a lot of cost-effective logistics issues about making biomass affordable,” Reinhardt said.
“And then the second thing was another breakthrough that Shaun had, which was that we could pump this liquid biomass underground and actually put the oil back where it came from. And this idea of pumping liquid plants, basically back underground, to put oil back underground [was key]”, explained Reinhardt.
We’ve seen biodiesel fuel made from vegetable oil or cooking grease work. specially equipped vehicles for years. Jon Shieber, a former Ploonge reporter who now works as a partner and editor-in-chief of the Footprint Coalition, a firm that invests in climate startups, says he’s taking the opposite approach. kidnap him permanently,” he said.
The company reports that it has got off to a decent start, removing more than 5,400 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in 2021 using this method, its first full year of operation. It believes this makes it the biggest and most successful carbon mitigation project in history, but even with that kind of success, the startup recognizes it’s just the beginning.
“And yet…5,000 tons is a drop in the bucket. We are in a race against time to remove billions of tons of carbon dioxide a year (according to IPCC models). We’re going to need various carbon-removal methods, all escalating at breakneck speed, to achieve our climate goals,” Reinhardt wrote in the company blog in October.
Shieber says Charm Industrial is actually part of a group of startups trying to tackle this problem. “Everything [of these companies are] very promising parts of an emerging carbon capture, sequestration and utilization chain. Solutions have to do more than just replace fossil fuels. We have to clean up the mess we made in the air,” Shieber told me.
The company generates revenue by having customers pay them in a form of carbon offsetting to cancel their carbon usage across the entire supply chain. Stripe was the startup’s first customer.
“Stripe really led the way here with a carbon dioxide removal RFP. And so they became our first customer. They bought a few hundred tons of permanent removal. And they’ve also bought a bunch of other really cool new technologies that also do permanent carbon removal,” Reinhardt told me.
Other companies that have taken this approach with Charm Industrial include Shopify, Zendesk, Block (formerly Square) and Microsoft.
Pitchbook Reports Charm has raised more than $25 million to date, a number he disputed, only confirming that the company raised an A-round.