Carl, 62y., father of 4, studied business administration in Germany, UK, France and Canada and holds an additional master in economics. He started his professional career at Deutsche Bank and IBM for 5 years, before taking over a family business in the wood industry with 100 employees, which was in a difficult situation at that time. He managed the turn-around and started a new company – Karibu Holztechnik GmbH – as a spinoff, which became market leader in the German market for garden houses. As president of ArgeHolz, a PPP for marketing and technical consulting for the entire wood industry of Germany, Carl managed the coordinated efforts of a large and diverse stakeholder group. After a successful trade sale Carl left the wood industry after 16 years, keeping only minority shares and real estate.
On the basis of these assets he formed a family office including a charitable foundation and additional investments in the clean-tech sector and forestry, before he reassumed an entrepreneurial role again with the foundation of sunfire GmbH in 2010.
Together with two co-founders Carl built up sunfire from a mere vision and business plan to a veritable technology company with a team of 130, a strong patent portfolio and over 60 Mio. € investment. sunfire is developing and manufacturing novel galvanic energy converters which allow to transform solar or wind power into renewable fuels and vice versa with a game changing efficiency. This helps to close the carbon cycle - a strong motivation for Carl and the entire sunfire team.
The rapid development of sunfire during the last 10 years was due to a combination of organic growth and acquisitions and was supported by strong co-investors like KfW, TOTAL, EDF, CEZ and Paul Wurth SA. Still Carl remains to be the largest investor and shareholder of sunfire and holds the CEO position. This ensures a healthy balance of start-up spirit and agility with the power and international reach of VC and corporate backing.
Large customers like Boeing, Thyssen-Krupp, Gazprom, Audi, China Steal Corporation, Salzgitter and others are building long term partnerships and pursue a joint route to market with sunfire. Further recognitions include large federal and European grants and the graduation to the Cleantech-100 list.