Our journey to employee ownership: accelerating our commitment to climate tech

Paige Padden
Paige Padden
Life size journey to employee ownership
Life Size news
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Last month, we announced our intention to become employee-owned. This is a significant milestone for our company, so we wanted to share our story and vision behind this decision and how it will help advance the climate tech industry.

Our journey

We’ve always felt strongly about doing things differently. Since we were founded in 2010, we’ve been led by the vision that clean technologies deployed at scale will be the key to overcoming the climate crisis. In a sector that often focuses on the ‘what’ of a technology, we concentrate on the ‘why’. We believe this is where the magic happens – where real change is delivered and how climate tech start-ups will succeed.

As a team, we’ve had an agile working set-up since 2015, combining our work with a healthy work-life balance. We’re spread across Europe, allowing us to gain knowledge of local markets and access multiple climate tech communities. We take a seat at the table with our clients, engaging in high-level discussions about business growth and strategic communications. Thanks to this unique approach, we can best serve our clients and guide them to success.

After 12 years leading Life Size, our Founder and CEO, Alisa Murphy, started reflecting on her role. Throughout her extensive and varied career, she has developed trusting relationships with climate tech founders and often helped them navigate their journeys from young start-ups to established business leaders.

This naturally led her down the path of coaching, in which she found immense joy and completed training to become a certified coach. As we looked to the future, we reflected on ways Alisa could transition away from the day-to-day business while ensuring our commitment to cleantech and that her legacy would be preserved and carried on.

Choosing the right ownership model

Doing things the Life Size way also meant exploring the meaning of sustainable business and ownership. We wanted an ownership model to preserve and support our independence, company culture, brand, and mission. This led us to employee ownership, where Life Size would belong to and directly benefit those who make our mission a reality.

So, what does this mean, practically?

  • Once the process is finalised, Alisa will step down as CEO and join a newly created Board of Directors. As such, she will still be involved in overseeing strategic directions for Life Size.
  • We will be fully owned by an Employee Trust, which will ensure the company performs well and that all decisions benefit our employees.
  • Jan Christoph Bohnerth, our current Strategic Director, will become our new CEO.
  • We expect the transition to becoming a fully employee-owned business to be completed by April 2023.

Voices from our team

Transitioning to employee ownership means every Life Size employee will participate in protecting our legacy and shaping our future. This benefit was crucial behind Alisa’s motivations:

“Life Size has always done things differently and questioned the norm. As I looked to the company’s future, I knew this principle needed to extend to how we were owned. We’ve always been fiercely independent, so acquisition was never going to be an option. Employee ownership means that everything we’ve worked so hard to build and our dedication to climate tech are secured. The company will belong to and directly benefit those who make our mission a reality. I can’t think of a better ending to my part of the story than handing it over to the incredible Life Size team.”

Jan is already looking to the future:

“Even before I joined the business, I knew that Life Size isn’t your standard communications agency. Alisa’s long-term view, excellent leadership and ambitious vision have grown the company from an idea to an international business. I want to continue this legacy while establishing great foundations of my own.

Becoming the first employee-owned climate tech business is an exciting path for me and the team, strengthening our commitment to the industry. Personally, I’m incredibly grateful for the trust bestowed on me by Alisa and the team. As CEO, I look forward to working with the most ambitious climate tech founders and businesses to tackle the climate crisis.”

Continuing the journey with you

Our new ownership model won’t change our approach to strategic communications or our client relationships. In fact, being employee-owned will reinforce our commitment to climate tech. We will continue to have eye-to-eye level conversations with our clients, striving to achieve the best results for them. By preserving and building on how we do things differently, we can guide cleantech companies to success. That’s because our greatest success is seeing you succeed.

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