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illuminem: “Home” for a Sustainable World, a Fortune cover story

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By illuminem

· 5 min read


illuminem is featured as one of Fortune Italia's cover stories, a tribute to our living mission and our growing community.

In a world teetering on the brink of irreversible climate change, illuminem emerges from Venice—a city symbolizing the urgent call for sustainability - to redefine the environmental landscape. Founded by a group of international young professionals, “illuminem has swiftly become a beacon in the sustainability ecosystem”. With a robust platform that merges cutting-edge AI with human expertise to distill crucial environmental data and insights, illuminem connects a global community of over 300,000 users across 110 countries, from scientists to CEOs. Underpinned by an expansive database and the exclusive illuminem Voices, the startup not only informs but empowers businesses and professionals to integrate sustainability into their core strategies. As Venice's waters lap at the thresholds of their Giudecca Island headquarters, illuminem’s team—comprising top global talents and backed by top global investors like Techstars—boldly champions a future where green is not an option, but the foundation of all. Our team members have studied at the best universities in the world and worked for prestigious companies. But they chose to leave because they believe it is necessary to contribute to saving the planet. We want to set an example and are willing to take a small personal risk to do so.

English translation of the original article on Fortune
The young Venetian startup aims to become a true reference point in the sustainability ecosystem. Gori, a young Tuscan with contagious enthusiasm and energy, is the classic 'climate quitter': after studying economics, history, and finance at Europe's top universities (London School of Economics, Bocconi University, and HEC Paris), he had a promising future in consulting ahead of him. Yet, feeling called to action, he decided to take the plunge to create a positive and lasting impact, starting from Venice, one of the most climate-vulnerable cities in the world.

"After my studies, I started working in London for J.P.Morgan. From there, I moved to Boston Consulting Group (BCG)”, one of the world's leading consulting firms, Gori recounts. "At BCG, I won my first bet. Many advised me to go into private equity or financial consulting, but I committed to creating the role of sustainability consultant. The timing soon turned favorable."

In the last two years spent between the Paris and Dubai offices, he served as BCG’s Global Green Champion. "At that point, I decided to risk everything, and with my best friends, we came to Italy, to Venice, to focus on sustainability."

illuminem was born from an intuition. "In the sustainability transition, we can make a difference: with information and with data." Thus, a platform was born, primarily an aggregator of quality news on major environmental issues. "Artificial intelligence scours the web for valuable information, which is then aggregated, categorized, summarized, and made accessible on our site. This AI work is complemented by illuminem Voices, exclusive contributions from the world's top experts in the field."

illuminem's network of authoritative voices includes scientists, ministers, heads of state, and CEOs of large companies. This creates a community united by an interest in environmental issues, which today already counts 300,000 active users from over 110 countries. For Gori and his team, it's time to implement phase two, the product. "We have created a database that offers insights and data on companies' environmental performance. For any company, public or private, from small businesses to multinationals, it is possible to consult ESG data: sustainability maturity, targets, reports, emissions, size of the team, and sustainability decision-makers. In this way, we promote transparency. With our software, we also support the commercialization of sustainable services and products and enable sustainability solution providers to identify potential buyers." The platform thus facilitates the meeting of supply and demand, and Gori intends to extend the service to the ESG job market in the future. "Sustainability today is a fully-fledged professional sector that is growing more and more. I am convinced that the future will be green or it won't be at all. Sustainability will therefore be part of the DNA of any economic activity, just as digital is today." illuminem is headquartered in Venice, on Giudecca Island, in the heart of the city. "It's an island we are trying to repopulate with many young people and climate-related activities. The choice of this city is not accidental: Venice is the frontier of climate change, making the mission felt every day. When our colleagues come to work, see the water reaching the doorstep, they experience what climate change means firsthand. Moreover, we believe Venice has all it takes to become an international hub for sustainability," emphasizes the founder. His team is made up of young talents from all over the world: New York, Paris, Athens, Helsinki, but also Argentina, Liberia, Lithuania, and South Korea.

"Our team members have studied at the best universities in the world and worked for prestigious companies. But they chose to leave because they believe it is necessary to contribute to saving the planet. We want to set an example and are willing to take a small personal risk to do so."

illuminem is currently a seed startup, attracting significant investors such as Techstars, one of the largest early-stage investors. "Techstars Sustainability invests in only 12 startups, and we were the only Italian one selected," recalls Gori. "We want to become the home of sustainability - concludes the founder - With information and data, we can disrupt any business process. Our data will enable companies to make the right decisions."

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