Simon Monk

Climate Tech investor based in Sydney, passionate about the value of great design, innovation and imagining the future.


The best thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Climate is without doubt the most pressing challenge of our time and the science of climate is clear. The world needs to look very different if we are to remain inhabitants of it.

Energy is the largest contributor to CO2 and a vast energy transition is underway, driven by fundamental economic forces. While we are quickly making spectacular progress, CO2 emissions are still rising. (See the data on the sources of CO2 by sector.)

This is where I focus my time, energy and attention.


Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.

Joe Sparano

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. I find it remarkable that the value that design excellence brings to business, particularly startups, is still largely mis-understood and under-valued.

This remarkable Marc Andreessen piece on product market fit is essential as is Build by Tony Fadell where he shares his wisdom and expertise from building insanely great products like the iPod, iPhone and Nest.

Much has been written about design thinking, but the best process for rapid design innovation is the design sprint outlined by Google Ventures.


Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.

Nelson Mandela

I'm extraordinarily privileged to have been born into a place where education was highly valued.

Not only have I been able to travel widely, but I've witnessed those less fortunate and it's incredibly humbling to try to help do something about it. I invented one of the first digital micro-donation platforms, which helps change the lives of many people around the world, and as a family we continue to give.

To enable climate policy, we believe it's essential to shift the balance of power to Independents. Our matching campaign helped deliver an excellent result.


The EDO are effectively using the courts to hold companies and organisations to account.

The AGNSW help Australia develop appreciation of Asian culture through their Asian Collection.

WaterAid help create long-term sustainable change like hygene, sanitation and education.

Restoring someone’s sight, brings back their independence, ability to work, or get an education.

Have you ever gone more than a day without food? Every single day millions of people do.

World Nomads

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

Heraclitus 475 BC

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 as my personal website, thinking the name philosophically reflected who I was. I created one of the first travel blogs before ‘blogging’ was even 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 like me. 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.


Life unfolds in proportion to your courage.


Travel has always been a big part of my life and I've been dreaming about what's over the horizon for as long as I can remember. I'm fortunate to have had some incredible adventures over the years. Here are a few.

  1. Via Ferrata

    A month of climbing and canyoning with my friend Peter. Via Ferrata Punta Anna was a particular highlight. (I'm the cameraman of course)

  2. Kumano Kodo

    Simon Monk Kumano Kodo

    A trek through the mountains and temples of Wakayama offers another perspective on Japan.

  3. Raja Ampat

    Simon Monk diving Raja Ampat

    I've had some remarkable dive adventures, but this was my son's first trip after getting his diving license. That's him on the left!

  4. Lycian way

    Simon Monk walking the Lycian Way

    A family walking trip through parts of ancient Greece. Here at the Acropolis of Bergama.

  5. Central Asia

    Simon Monk at Kel Su Lake

    Up near the Chinese border at Kel Su, that's me on the horse. This was one of the last pieces of the puzzle that is Marco Polo's 14th century journey to China and back.

  6. The Marquesas

    Simon Monk & Kai on Fatu Hiva, Marquesas.

    I didn't even know the Marquesas existed until I stumbled across them scrolling around Google maps. Although hard to reach, they made for a wild family adventure.

  7. Himalaya

    Simon Monk on the Snowman Trek

    The Snowman Trek is one of the finest treks in the entire Himalaya. It's also one of the most challenging.

  8. Shuzenji

    Simon Monk, Shuzenji, Japan.

    Japan never ceases to amaze me. At a Ryokan in Shuzenji, the food was so spectacular you didn't want to touch it.

  9. Climate Witness


    Witnessing climate change first hand is sobering. Out onto the ice with Jason.

  10. Tigers Nest


    Like a dream come true, on my first trip to Bhutan I was incredibly fortunate to go with National Geographic photographer, Jason Edwards. Sometimes even the famous places can still take your breath away.

  11. Abydos


    On a trip along the Nile we were lucky enough to stumble upon the temple of Seti I at Abydos. Here my son's are captivated by a ray of light crossing the floor.

  12. Saigon


    An extraordinarily chaotic collision of cyclo's, ducks, decrepit Renault buses left by the French in the 40's and huge Chevy's left behind by the Americans in the 60's. Today's it's all rather tame.

  13. 1989

    Chengdu 1989

    On the streets of Chengdu among millions of protesting Chinese. A truly searing memory, one that transformed my opinions of both media and society. 1989 was such a pivotal year.

  14. Camino de Santiago


    Nobody really walked the Camino back then. There was almost nowhere to stay except dusty schools, old barns and the odd police station.