Anshuman Bapna - the man behind a networking revolution

1st August 2023


Online platforms and tech start-ups are playing an increasingly important role in tackling the climate and environmental crises. Anshuman Bapna, founder of Terra.do, explains how

Anshuman Bapna is a self-described “serial entrepreneur”, having founded four highly successful companies, selling two of them, and raising vast sums of venture capital along the way.

Based in the heart of Silicon Valley, the tech whizz is more accustomed to working under a tree on a beach in sunny Stanford, California, than the four-wall office space most of us are familiar with.

However, from his peaceful surroundings, Bapna is facilitating a quiet revolution, connecting thousands of people across the world with one shared purpose: averting climate breakdown.

He does this through his latest venture, Terra.do – an online school for anyone who wants to work towards tackling climate change – which has partnered with IEMA’s Green Careers Hub.

Here, he explains his unconventional career path, and outlines how online connectivity will bring together the workers needed to ensure a sustainable future for the planet.


You’ve had a varied career, having worked for Google and Deloitte before founding several successful online platforms. How did that lead to Terra.do?

I was part of the class at Stanford when Steve Jobs gave his commencement speech about how all the dots connect, and this has happened in my life. One nonprofit that I started, Democracy Connect, got talented professionals to work with Indian politicians on development issues, and as chief product officer at MakeMyTrip.com – now India’s largest online travel company – we brought people together to work on under-served opportunities. I then had a genesis moment in 2016, when I returned to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and saw bleaching of the reefs, and that about 30% of it had died. I began to look at climate change more closely.

The ambition of Terra.do is to get 100 million people working on climate change this decade. How big a challenge is that?

We are talking about the biggest transformation humanity has ever seen, transforming energy, agriculture, transportation, manufacturing and finance in every country in 10 to 20 years. Yet we have only two million people working on it. That doesn’t make any sense. I have such a strong sense of déjà vu, because my first company was an internet company in 1999, when the internet was supposed to be this cute little thing, and now, 20 years later, 250 million people are employed in the digital economy in some shape or form. The climate economy is going to be bigger than the digital economy – unlike anything we have ever seen. It’s moving quickly, but there is a big shortage of talent.

How important is it to increase connectivity and share technological resources in the Global South?

Someone asked me recently what I would do on climate action if I had $100bn. My answer was to put that money into the loss and damage fund created at COP27. This is an opportunity to demonstrate with actual dollars and technology transfers how we can all help upskill each other and into the new climate economy. Countries like India do not need to make the $2trn mistake that America and China have by investing in oil and gas infrastructure – they can leapfrog directly into solar and wind. This crisis is an opportunity for us to reaffirm the human contract we have with each other, because there is a massive sense of injustice from developing countries and marginalised communities. At Terra.do, we’ve focused on having representation from all across the world, and our learning programmes typically have people from 25 plus countries, roughly 40% from developing countries.

What advice would you give to workers with a tech background who want to help tackle climate change?

My suggestion would be to zoom out, and come to places such as IEMA and Terra.do to make sense of the entire climate change landscape and what’s happening to solve the problems, then take your technology lens and find the intersection point. There are tonnes of interesting companies and jobs out there, and there’ll be many more in the near future.

Why did you partner with IEMA’s Green Careers Hub?

I met Sarah Mukherjee MBE on the bus at COP26. I’ve been amazed by IEMA’s long-standing vision to get sustainability professionals across the world together. The Green Careers Hub is a fantastic step forward; a place where individuals can build their careers and grow our community. We can power the Hub with all kinds of resources, not just jobs, but learning as well, which aligns with our mission to get 100 million people working on climate change. I’m very excited about that.

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