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The Propcast

Nov 14, 2023

In this week’s episode of the Propcast, Louisa is joined by Emanuel Heisenberg, CEO and Founder of EcoWorks, and Mauricio Weiss, GP and Founding Partner of Zacua Ventures where they discuss all things renovation, regulation and innovation.  

With 40% of emissions being used on buildings and 20% on materials, the guests delve into the short- and long-term costs of going carbon neutral and whether it is a realistic goal with today’s current economic climate. The guests discuss how an increase in sustainability pressure, paired with geopolitical instability and labour scarcity are a handful of the challenges that accompany reaching net zero targets.  

Emanuel shares how the EcoWork’s product can help tackle key issues around scarcity of labour and materials from factories, whilst Mauricio discusses the trends he has seen with his portfolio companies in terms of increasing their sales. 


Companies mentioned 





Previous episodes mentioned 


Episode Highlights 

Regulation is actually pushing for a lot of technology adoption in terms of higher requirements, and these requirements just make the processes much more complex, right? - Mauricio  

So they really tackle the 80 percent renewable energy goal for 2030 and they really decarbonize the heating system with good and aggressive regulations. - Emanuel 

The construction sector invests 1 percent in R&D and the housing sector 0.1%. So, they will not bring any transformation towards affordability and decarbonization. - Emanuel 

You do need regulators – to start pointing the marketing to the right direction, but you also want to keep competitiveness and ensure a free environment and a secure environment to make investments and to see the return of these investments. - Mauricio 

Investors and a lot of stakeholders are questioning whether this is the right moment to be investing in technologies or an economic turn that will potentially slow down the piece of adoption for technology - Mauricio 


Previous episodes mentioned  


Key Takeaways  

  • The use of circular building materials in helping companies reach net zero targets 

  • The need for common standards across Europe, as well as the challenges that this would bring due to difference in buildings and needs for each country 

  • The need for regulators to be very close to investors in sharing short term and long-term goals of decarbonisation and technology adoption  

  • How to position certain aspects of ESG to pitch to create sustainable competitive advantage for that company without changing the core of your business 

  • Emmanuel shares some advice about the German market for founders looking to expand  

  • The lack of construction companies in Germany  


About our guests 

Emanuel Heisenberg 

Emanuel Heisenberg studied history and economics in Munich and Cambridge. He has over 15 years of experience in setting up and developing companies for renewable energies and ESCO and has contributed to more than 50 energy projects. His international network includes numerous funds, utility companies, IPPs, entrepreneurs, and research institutions. After founding a contracting and geothermal energy company, he established ecoworks in 2019, introducing the concept of serial renovation to Germany. An initial pilot project in Hameln proved challenging but was also a significant success. The renovated buildings there have demonstrably achieved NetZero levels. In addition to his role as CEO and founder, he is also active as a speaker and expert in energy and climate policy, advising the German federal government, companies, and private equity funds in the fields of heating and energy efficiency. In 2020, together with journalist Georg Diez, he co-wrote a book on the significance of technology in reinventing democracy (Power To The People: How We Reinvent Democracy with Technology).  


ecoworks develops end-to-end software and prefabricated elements to turn apartment buildings with significant renovation backlog into attractive and climate-neutral living spaces in just a few weeks. In this way, the company is making a significant contribution to rapidly reducing emissions in the building sector and the dependence on fossil fuels. ecoworks is an innovation leader in a market that will unleash enormous investment volumes in the wake of national and European legislative initiatives and rising energy and CO2 prices. Around 45 million residential units in Europe are located in buildings with the worst energy ratings. In addition to regulation, these will be particularly burdened by high CO2 prices, which will become mandatory for the building sector soon. Comparable regulations are already planned or in effect in parts of the US and Asia. 

The Berlin-based company developed the technology in Germany and is currently bringing it to the mass market with several projects. The company is considered one of the most innovative providers of Climate Tech in the building sector worldwide. 


Mauricio Weiss 

Mauricio is GP and Founding Partner of Zacua Ventures, a global Venture Capital fund focused in the construction industry. Mauricio works closely with entrepreneurs in the industry to support the adoption of new technologies and improve productivity and sustainability on construction projects. His background working in a large construction company first and at the CVC of Cemex later taught him what is needed for a successful implementation of technology and the right approach for startups engaging large corporates. 

Zacua Ventures 

Zacua Ventures is an early stage fund focused on the Built Environment. With three GPs based in San Francisco, Madrid and Singapore, the fund has a global focus and each of the founders come with a proven track record, having led 30+ investments in the corporate funds in Cemex Ventures and HILTI.  

The fund has raise over $55m USD, to invest in Pre-Seed to Series A startups that focus on 3 main areas in the construction industry: Sustainability, Enhanced Productivity & Safety and Urbanization Solutions. 


About Our Host 

Louisa is the Co-Founder of LMRE, which has rapidly become the market-leading global built environment recruitment platform and search consultancy, specializing in finding the best strategic talent for the most innovative organisations in PropTech, ConTech, Smart Buildings, ESG, Sustainability and Strategic Consulting with operations across North America, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia-Pacific and MENA.  

To promote the industry she is so passionate about, Louisa set up the Global podcast ‘The Propcast’ where she hosts and invites guests from the built environment space to join her in conversation about innovation.