Investing in CleanTech
The 17th Wall Street Green Summit put that notion that CleanTech is solar and wind to shame. Investors and market makers convened to talk about water, agriculture, drones, satellites and more. These key innovations are creating markets for new asset classes that are needed to meet the fundamental needs of society. The green economy is going to require new investor paradigms that are based on companies and assets that are urgently needed to build, rebuild and maintain the infrastructure needed to survive. Below are summaries of some of the key speakers.
Private Equity Invests For Impact
Delilah Rothenberg, Operating Advisors, ESG & Impact, Pegasus Capital Advisors LP
Impact investing advisors using ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) is slowly developing metrics that help advisors assess company ESG profiles, goals and accomplishments. Such valuations make company efforts transparent, providing analytics that provide funds and fund of funds with choices that insure the policies in company sustainability report are reflected in practices that ensure the long term competitiveness and ongoing success of the company.
Invest in Securitizing Cleantech
Jeff Cianci, Managing Director, 41 North Securities, Inc.
The “stock market is sometimes right. The bond market is always right.” That is good news for projects in energy and energy efficiency with long term, predictable yields. Bundled projects – asset backed securities – exploded from $200 million to $1.5 billion in 2016.
Invest In AgTech
Charlotte Kim, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich Rosati
In 2017 set a record of $84 billion invested in AgTech, the largest amount since the dot-com era. Deals tend to be larger and later stage than previously. However, with continued growth abroad, AgTech is attracting investors.
Invest In Organic Waste
Matt de la Houssaye, Director, NYC Office, Global Green USA
40% of food is wasted. Startup and local organizations are looking reduce this problem. One trend is Food Rescue in New Orleans, which takes excess from restaurants to shelters. Another is technologies that help haulers avoid empty bins, or more food waste to energy installations. California’s low carbon fuel standard has helped make cost structures better. Efficient waste collection and reuse as fuel or food is an area that is growing.
Invest in Water Technologies
Matthew Diserio, Co-Founder and President, Sustainable Asset Management
Water is an essential commodity that people will always need and will pay for in their rising water and sewage charges. Since 2008 private investor owned utility water infrastructure spending has increased, while municipal spending declined despite $500B need. In 2016, capital expenditures by munis on water was around $90bn, while investor owned utilities expenditures reached $160bn. As demands for water, especially in farm and southern states rises, investors are going to step up.
Invest In Blockchain Technologies
Jason Pereira, Senior Manager, Digital Strategy, IBM
Blockchain is a complicated word for a simple idea: one ledger for all transactions by everyone touching the process. It enables transparency along the supply chain, and is hard to hack because of the multiple permissions needed for transactions. Blockchain is an effective way to manage the produce – say potato – from farm, to harvest, to delivery, to distribution, to sale or expiration, and so forth. In the case of failure, such as a bacterial outbreak, such technology will help identify the places that such an infection can occur as well as ensuring the future quality of delivered products.
Invest In Drones
Stephen Donofrio, Principal & Founder, Green Point Innovations
Drones are increasingly being used to monitor forests; find breaks in electrical lines and methane leaks from pipelines; identify dead vs. healthy plants; and evaluate solar panel efficiency. Because there are lots of military grade tech, innovative businesses are using a combination of drones, new lenses and other technologies to expand their markets.
Invest in SaaS (Software As A Service)
Nick Davis, Founder & CEO, Gridmarket
Saas, like Blockchain, is a complicated term for a simple idea: don’t own the software, rent it. One area that has been increasingly drawing attention is predicting how a specific building could perform with investment in clean technologies that increase energy and water efficiencies. Estimating savings across multiple metrics would be hard for a building owner to obtain, and harder to interpret. SaaS can provide answers, often identifying savings opportunities within seconds. Building owners can then decide how they want to allocate resources, maximizing savings and reducing expenditures.
Invest In Data From Satellites
Sidney Nakahodo, VegaMx LLC (New York Space Alliance)
Satellites in space have a broad view of earth, but often a view with as much detail as lower orbit drones albeit a more expensive one. They can help manage weather and other climate events as they impact agricultural zones by collecting huge amounts of data that can be compared over time. As floods, droughts and fires impact the planet, satellites can provide data that will help us manage how resources are managed.
Start A Business In Urban Food
Jason Green, CEO & Co-founder, Edenworks
The market for vertical urban farms is just getting going. The key to success is in efficiency of both materials and how they are used, as well as being aware of the market and what kinds of foods are in demand. A cycle where water and other nutrients can be shared between plants and fish, for example, lowers the costs of inputs, reduces water waste and helps create a profitable business that can feed urban dwellers for years to come.
Invest for Impact
Jack Jacobs, Founder & Managing Partner, Cleantech Law Partners
Investing for passion as well as profit has been growing, now reaching an $115bn market. A new company, GridShare, even provides a marketplace where investors and companies can find each other. Ignoring the impact of this space puts any company at a disadvantage.