Simon Monk is an innovator and investor, focused on the energy transition & climate change. He is based in Sydney, Australia.
A concern with climate issues and interest in solar energy lead to an awareness of the vast energy transition underway; everything from solar and EV's to food production and carbon capture. This category is currently where I invest my time.
In response to the 2004 Tsunami, I invented one of the first digital micro-donation programs, which has helped change the lives of many people around the world and was probably the most rewarding part of my career. As a family we continue to give to a variety of philanthropic causes.
I trained in Industrial Design (now more frequently called Product Design) where the skills are much the same whether the product is physical or digital. Remarkably, design is still largely mis-understood and I'm an advocate for design excellence. The value it brings to business, particularly startups, is under-valued.
Many businesses have a good creation story, so this is mine.
In 1989, I quit my job, sold everything and headed off to explore the world. The experience of being able to go anywhere, do anything and taste unconstrained freedom was memorable.
When you're young, you feel bullet-proof. I had nevertheless bought travel insurance to cover me for six months but, as with all the best travel plans, they changed and I ended up in China during the tumultuous summer of 1989. Being pre-internet, staying in touch was by letter and post restanté and there was certainly no means to buy travel insurance while you were still away.
After emigrating to Australia in 1993, I bought worldnomads.com as my personal website, thinking the name philosophically reflected who I was. I created one of the first travel blogs (before ‘blogging’ was invented) by sending stories home by fax and film canisters by courier!
In 2000 I started developing an online travel insurance service for independent travellers with a couple of partners. My travel experiences inspired the World Nomads core concept of being able to buy a travel insurance from anywhere and have the freedom to extend it as many times as you needed. It was the first of its kind.
For more on what I've done since, listen to my 2018 interview for the World Nomads PodCast.