How a Vancouver company partnered with Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton

Investment firm Vida Carbon is serving as the main title sponsor for Hamilton's Extreme E team.

Lewis Hamilton

Credit: Vida Carbon

Investment firm Vida Carbon is serving as the main title sponsor for Hamilton’s Extreme E team

Jamie Keech still remembers the words of his high school guidance counsellor. The Ontario native couldn’t decide between environmental or mining engineering as his college major. “They said if I wanted to do environmental engineering, I should do it an area that has the biggest impact,” remembers Keech. So he did just that, completing an undergrad in mining engineering at the University of Toronto before getting his masters in environmental engineering at England’s Camborne School of Mines.  

From there, Keech worked for years in environmental engineering on mining projects across the globe. But he didn’t think he was having enough of an impact in the organizations he worked for. “I had a point where I was a bit of a bolt tightener—I was really in the weeds of the projects, I didn’t have any say in what was actually happening,” he says. So he pledged to move into the business side of operations, eventually moving to Vancouver and joining what was then a small mining as its first technical hire.  

What is now Equinox Gold grew from a $20 million operation to a multi-billion-dollar company in a few years, giving Keech what he jokingly calls his third degree—a PhD in capital markets and corporate development. Last year, Keech leveraged that success into the launch of investment firm Vida Carbon, a six-employee operation focused on investing in carbon markets while ensuring climate change leadership and high environmental integrity.  

These days, one of the main priorities for the firm—which Keech serves as co-founder and chairman for—has been reaching an audience and getting its name out there. Last year, Keech (a newly minted racing fan thanks to the Netflix series Drive to Survive) happened to be at a Formula One event in Mexico with some friends. One of them happened to have a connection to a member of racing superstar Lewis Hamilton’s management team, and the wheels started turning in Keech’s head.  

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

“It’s really cool—a lot of lucky things happened to get us to this point,” says Keech. “We’ve got some capital now and are building a really talented team. Just want to get the word out there, tell the market, tell investors what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.”