This AI finds your startup – if you’re sustainable

Omar Selim, CEO of investment firm Arabesque, about buzzword-bingo, green tech investing & why capitalism needs to change

Emission-free mobility, search engines that plant trees or clothes made from recycled materials: companies with a neutral or even a positive impact on the global or local environment, also called “green businesses”, are on the rise - and rightly so, we think. 

But what’s really sustainable and what’s just buzzword-bingo or even greenwashing? This entrepreneur is on a mission to find that. 

Omar Selim, the CEO of Arabesque Group, an investment company that’s focusing on sustainable investments. Omar’s team developed an artificial intelligence to crawl large public data-sets with the goal to analyze certain companies’ sustainability level. 

Before taking over that position he worked in traditional banking for 20 years at UBS, Morgan Stanley and Barclays amongst others. And in conversation with Britta Weddeling, Editor-in-Chief at Bits & Pretzels, the banker turned investor explains why he has decided to enter the entrepreneurial world. 

He thinks the finance world needs to change its operations and start to invest more in sustainable businesses. And in this podcast he explains 1) why he thinks that finance has a bigger role than just providing money or giving advice, 2) why for a founder financial transparency is key, and 3) why it’s important to “not chase everything that moves”.

01:43: Omar’s journey from traditional banking to Arabesque
07:54: How big is the current market for sustainable businesses?
10:48: How to detect authentic sustainable intentions
15:00: How many big investment targets are there for sustainable investors?
16:52: „Give credit to what’s good and try to improve what’s bad“
23:20: Why Europe has to catch up regarding risk appetite
25:05: Beer Garden Break: How the banking industry has shaped Omar as an investor
31:40: Tool Box: „Don’t chase everything that moves“
33:07: Either-or-game: „Innovation and creation is the most beautiful thing“

Production: Regina Körner, Migo Fecke (professional-podcast.com); Sophie Dechansreiter & Dina Zhakupova