We were delighted to recently catch up with Jules Buker (BSc Hons Management, 2017), who was named alongside his two TreeApp cofounders on the Forbes 30 under 30 list earlier this year! The team were recognised in the social impact category, after they created a sustainable app that enables people to plant a tree for free. Find out more about Jules and his revolutionary work to help save the planet!
Huge congratulations on being named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for the brilliant and inspirational work of TreeApp. What does this recognition mean to you?
Being nominated by Forbes is a great recognition of the impact Treeapp has been having in the last two years as well as the amazing work the team has been putting in.
It is great to be named amongst so many other successful individuals and organisations that are making a difference in their respective industries. Treeapp has planted over a million trees since its launch in April 2020 but it’s only the beginning! We intend to massively scale our environmental impact while making sure that it benefits the local communities we’re working with from a social and economic perspective as well.
How did the idea for TreeApp come about? Can you tell us more about it and why you think it has made such an impression in a short amount of time?
Almost everyone is aware of climate change, though a majority of individuals don’t know what they can do to fight it. We identified three main barriers to taking climate action: people don’t have the time, money or know how to have an impact. Treeapp is the solution we found to circumvent these barriers: a free, mobile and easy way to have an environmental, social and economic impact everyday directly from your phone.
Being French and Turkish, reforestation is also something that is particularly close to my heart: in 2019 Turkey set a record by planting 11 million trees in one day, but a few months later 90% were dead! I wanted to find a way to promote robust tree planting & monitoring practices which are accessible to all.
You’re clearly passionate about social impact! How important is it to use your voice on such issues and to try and make necessary changes?
Our mission is to democratise impact making and for it to be truly accessible to anyone. By using technology and the power of communities, we are starting a movement that focuses on raising
awareness on climate change and promoting reliable/trustworthy solutions to tackle it.
The impact that Treeapp is having is as much social as it is environmental: we are creating jobs for the local communities and enabling them to be more independent.
For example, in Haiti we’re planting fruit trees which can then be consumed or sold by the farmers – bringing economic benefits to the local community.
Some of our projects also focus on women empowerment: in Nepal, our project is completely led by women.
Finally, in locations like Indonesia, we plant trees along the coasts to prevent the risk of flooding which is paramount for the local communities to thrive.
What does the future look like for TreeApp?
Our goal is to become the largest platform for impact making.
In order to reach this goal, we plan on expanding Treeapp internationally to truly enable anyone, and literally anyone, to have an impact every single day. We’re planning on launching in another European country by the end of the year.
We’re also going to be looking at other ways our users can have an impact beyond tree planting.
Finally, we are currently investing more and more into our B2B services as we believe that it is by working with both consumers and businesses that we’ll truly be able to tackle climate change.
How have the skills you gained/developed during your studies prepared you for cofounding TreeApp and managing it daily?
The hard skills I learned throughout my studies have enabled me to effectively plan and execute our strategy when launching and scaling Treeapp.
The soft skills that I developed by meeting classmates from all over the world have also been invaluable in order to recruit the best talent and build strong partnerships with our different business partners.
Finally, it is by applying and practising these skills during my first work experiences that I’ve truly been able to improve. I strive to learn and get better every day by trying, failing and iterating as much as possible.
Why did you choose to study Management at Bayes?
I chose to study Management because I always knew that I wanted to start a business: the different skills I learned at Bayes seemed like the most relevant for what I wanted to do. From hard skills such as accounting all the way to soft skills like networking and presenting – these are paramount to building a team and scaling a business.
Finally, I also wanted to highlight that I particularly enjoyed the practical approach that Bayes had when teaching new skills to its students: I got to put the new things I learned into practice straight away which really benefitted me in the long term.
We’d be delighted to hear more about your time at the Business School. Do you have any standout memories that you would like to share?
The thing that stands out the most from my time at Bayes is the diversity of the people that were in my class.
I really enjoyed making friends from all over the world – discovering new cultures and ways of thinking.
It truly broadened my perspectives and made me more open to new ideas/practices.
What happened after you graduated?
After graduating from Bayes, I went on to study at London Business School. The professors and staff from Bayes were very supportive and helped me reach this next step in my academic journey.
What advice would you give to others looking to follow in your footsteps?
My number one advice if you’re looking to start a business would be to get first-hand experience by working in a startup (ideally pre-Series A). After I graduated from Bayes and London Business School, I joined Crowdcube, the leading equity crowdfunding platform in the UK. It was the perfect match for what I wanted to do as it enabled me to be part of a fast growing, well-funded startup while at the same time working hand in hand with entrepreneurs from all industries (Fintech, Cleantech, F&B, etc).
Getting so much exposure to how a startup grows and the different processes that need to be put in place was a steppingstone in order to successfully launch Treeapp.
Thank you to Jules for sharing your story and huge congratulations for being recognised on the Forbes 30 under 30 list!
Find out more about Treeapp on: