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Frank Knowles prize to be established at Carbon13

A Frank Knowles prize will become a regular feature of the Carbon13 venture builder initiative following his sudden death earlier this year.

Frank Knowles, co-founder at Carbon13 and Cambridge Judge Business School alum
Frank Knowles, co-founder at Carbon13 and Cambridge Judge Business School alum

Frank Knowles had more than 30 years of experience in the financial sector, most recently as one of the founding partners of New Street Research, which he helped grow into the leading international communications research provider, with offices in London, New York, Singapore and Melbourne. Prior to that he was the top-ranked European high-yield debt analyst, and ran Merrill Lynch’s leveraged finance research team. In previous roles he spent seven years with units of The Prudential Insurance Company of America in New York and London, investing funds in private equity and debt, and representing the company on a variety of industrial company and private equity fund boards.

As an active investor in early stage companies, especially those with a social purpose, one of his prime achievements was to originate the Carbon13 concept – “the venture builder for the climate emergency” – in 2019. Carbon13’s goal is “to create scalable ventures with the combined potential to reduce CO2 emissions by 400 million tonnes or 1 per cent of global emissions” every year.

Chris Coleridge, senior faculty in management practice at Cambridge Judge Business School and CEO of Carbon13, said: “Frank Knowles, a social impact investor and Cambridge Judge Business School alumnus, was one of three original founders [of Carbon13] and introduced Dr Nicky Dee into the founding team.

“He originally acted as CFO but at the point of his untimely and sudden death in April 2021 had stepped back to a non-executive role. He strongly believed in the potential of entrepreneurial ventures to help address the climate emergency.

“Carbon13 will be awarding the Frank Knowles prize at the end of each venture builder cohort to the team chosen by other teams within the programme as the one which was most supportive to helping its fellow C13 ventures make progress—we believe Frank would have found this recognition of the ‘coopetitive’ aspect of our work a fitting tribute to his attitude to business.”

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