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Carbon Counts raises $7M for its tree-planting quest

Aug 29, 2022
Illustration of pixelated game coins arranged in order of ascending size

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A forthcoming mobile game is aiming to connect in-game play to IRL tree-planting for the climate.

Why it matters: The game's creator, Carbon Counts, is the latest in a growing field of startups that features a climate component to its business in an otherwise non-climate-related business.

The details: Carbon Counts has raised more than $7 million since 2021, including a $4.5 million round it closed earlier this month.

How it works: Free-to-play games typically make money through in-app purchases and advertisements. Carbon Count's game, EverForest, is no different.

  • As players complete puzzles and interact with in-game plants and animals, they'll receive a "token" each time they view a certain number of ads or make in-game purchases.
  • Each token can then be redeemed for a tree. Carbon Counts aims to plant 100 million trees by 2025 in countries such as Kenya, Madagascar and Nepal.

Of note: "Carbon Counts is considering monetizing the trees it plants by selling carbon credits," co-founder Michael Libenson tells Axios.

Yes, but: Tree-planting efforts have come under increasing scrutiny.

  • Poorly managed tree-planting programs can exacerbate existing environmental problems.
  • Carbon credit programs meanwhile often overstate how much carbon a tree can absorb, especially before it's fully grown.

What's next: The game is in beta testing with "the first couple hundred" players, Libenson says. Carbon Counts is aiming for a soft launch in Q4 next year — followed by more games.

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