How a Vancouver company partnered with Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton

Credit: Vida Carbon

Investment firm Vida Carbon is the main title sponsor of Hamilton’s Extreme E team

Jamie Keech still remembers the words of his high school guidance counselor. This Ontario native couldn’t decide between environmental or mining engineering for his college major. “They said if I wanted to do environmental engineering, I should do it in a field that has the greatest impact,” Keech recalls. That’s exactly what he did, completing a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering at the University of Toronto before obtaining his master’s degree in environmental engineering at the Camborne School of Mines in England.

From there, Keech worked for years in environmental engineering on mining projects around the world. But he didn’t think he had enough impact in the organizations he worked for. “I had a moment where I was a bit of a bolt-on – I was really in the weeds of the projects, I had no say in what was really going on,” he says. So he committed to moving to the business side of operations, eventually moving to Vancouver and joining what was then a small-scale mining operation as his first technical hire.

what is now golden equinox grew from a $20 million operation to a multi-billion dollar business in a matter of years, giving Keech what he jokingly calls his third degree – a doctorate in capital markets and business development. Last year, Keech used this success to launch an investment company Vida Carbona six-employee operation focused on investing in carbon markets while providing climate change leadership and high environmental integrity.

These days, one of the top priorities for the company — of which Keech is co-founder and president — has been reaching an audience and building awareness. Last year Keech (a new racing fan thanks to the Netflix series Drive to survive) turned out to be at a Formula 1 event in Mexico with friends. One had a connection to a member of racing superstar Lewis Hamilton’s management team, and the wheels started spinning in Keech’s head.

Earlier this week, Keech revealed that Vida Carbon has become the main title sponsor of Team Hamilton’s Extreme E (a racing series in which electric SUVs compete in remote parts of the world). Formerly known as X44, the Hamilton team is now called X44 Vida Carbon Racing.

“It’s really cool, a lot of happy things have happened to get us to this point,” Keech said. “We have some capital now and we are building a really talented team. I just want to spread the word, tell the market, tell investors what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

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