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Episode Info:

Karl W. Feilder is a serial entrepreneur, Founder and Chairman of The Neutral Group and CEO of Neutral Fuels. “I’m not an environmentalist, I’m just trying to save the planet,” Karl says, and his direct actions to mitigate climate change have already resulted in over 10.5 million tonnes of CO2e savings from global corporations, such as DHL, Del Monte, Anglo American, and McDonald’s. 


In the last decade, Karl has built up The Neutral Group from a two-person start-up to an international business, and is now preparing its Neutral Fuels LLC subsidiary, a company that produces biofuel from used cooking oil, for an IPO on the London AIM stock market in 2023. Simultaneously, Karl is building another subsidiary Neutral Assets LLC into an “Internet of Things” asset management company. 


Since starting his first company in 1990, and selling it to Microsoft, Karl has built and sold five companies, and led two companies to their Initial Public Offering. He has conducted business in 46 countries and has created a world first this year – a highly innovative strategy to turn human faeces into reusable energy. 


Karl mentors start-ups across industry, and was the first Adjunct Lecturer at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi. He has worked as a Catalyst at Hult International Business School in both Dubai and San Francisco. Karl holds an B.Eng. (Hons.) in Industrial Engineering, an executive MBA, and is writing his thesis on “Psychological profiling of start-up teams.” 


As the regional expert on biofuels and their adoption in the Middle East, Karl and his company have won regional and international awards and Karl delivers keynotes on entrepreneurship, business and sustainability, all over the world. 


Enjoy the discussion.


Show Notes:

  • 01:30 - On being an entrepreneur for all his life, he was just born to be an entrepreneur
  • 04:45 - First startup in the UK and selling to Microsoft
  • 05:45 - How Microsoft courted them to sell
  • 07:15 - Joining a biker gang post exit
  • 11:00 - His multiple ventures and IPOs following the biker gang years
  • 14:15 - The founding of the Neutral Group
  • 15:15 - What is the Neutral Group?
  • 23:30 - Getting a fuel production license in the UAE
  • 25:45 - Opening more facilities in other countries in the region
  • 27:15 - The different types of fuels they produce at Neutral Fuels
  • 30:30 - The challenge of building a great diverse team
  • 32:45 - “Never meet your heroes”
  • 35:00 - On being a lead singer of a rockband
  • 38:45 - How Dubai is perfectly suited for an entrepreneur like Karl
  • 41:00 - How redtape is seen as an opportunity in Dubai
  • 42:30 - On the merits of making time everyday to think
  • 45:15 - The benefits of discovering what makes you happy
  • 55:15 - His ‘non-words of wisdom’ wisdom to share

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