Start-up used teen climate activist to raise millions: Swedish paper

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Start-up used teen climate activist to raise millions: Swedish paper
Greta Thornberg's image was used in the company's share prospectus. Photo: Hanna Franzén/TT

A Swedish entrepreneur who claims to have been “the first to pay attention to” Swedish child climate activist Greta Thunberg, used her name to bring in almost SEK 10m for a new share issue, according to an investigation by the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.


Ingmar Rentzhog, founder of We Don’t Have Time, asked Thunberg in October if she wanted to sit a Youth Advisory Board for his social media start-up We Don’t Have Time, which she accepted. 
He then used her more than eleven times in the promotional material for a share issue announced  on November 27.  
The prospectus promised investors that the venture, which channels just 10 percent of its profits to a charitable fund, has potential to be "extremely profitable” by creating viral environmental content to pull in money via digital adverts. 
Thunberg’s father Svante Thunberg told the newspaper that Rentzhog, who has a background in financial PR, had never informed the family that her name would be used. 
“No, we haven't received any information about that. Neither has Greta,” he told the newspaper. “It is unfortunate if she was used commercially. But she hasn't known anything about this. None of us have known this.”
Rentzhog founded the company in 2017, aiming to create “the world´s largest social network for climate action".
On the same day that Thunberg started her school strike last August, he came with a freelance photographer, posting her photo on his Facebook page and Instagram account, and making a video in English that he posted on the company’s YouTube channel. 
The film has been watched almost 88 000 times.
In the 120-page prospectus, the company makes a claim to have discovered Thunberg. 
"Leading representatives from We Don’t Have Time were the first to pay attention to Greta Thunberg's protest through Facebook and Twitter posts as well as Youtube films that received viral spread,” it reads. 
“The company thus played a central role in giving Greta Thunberg's protest great national and international attention.” 
Rentzhog defended his decision to make We Don’t Have Time a for-profit company. 
“Look, this is the situation: I am an entrepreneur and have become aware of the climate crisis,” he said. 
“We want to build a platform with modern technology. This is not free, a lot of money is needed. We have so far received just over SEK 20 million from 500 investors through two new issues, of which 10 million was from the last one in December."
"The importance for us is that we can solve the climate crisis. In order for it to succeed, we must have financial resources. Then we cannot just depend on donations. I see nothing wrong with this."


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