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⚡SaaS for Sustainable Infrastructure Projects

My Climate Journey

Photo by Hanbyul Jeong / Unsplash

Host: Jason Jacobs
Guest: Amanda Li | Co-Founder & COO | Banyan Infrastructure
Category: ⚡Renewable Energy

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:35] “[At] Banyan Infrastructure, we build software for banks and investors to sustainable infrastructure, like renewable energy, to allow them to better originate service and securitize these types of investments, basically allowing for there to be more capital to be brought into the space by project finance ears.”

[7:53] “The big projects have been more traditionally […] where infrastructure dollars went […]. The types of power plants we had were big, centralized facilities, and other types of infrastructure lenders also did things like bridges or roads. But now we finally have this distributed infrastructure concept. Not only with renewable energy, this is solar panels on farms or on warehouse rooftops or on residential rooftops, small [and] localized. But even other types of sustainable infrastructure, such as water systems, or ag systems are more localized.”

[12:54] “You see other FinTech companies that use their own software and become a bank or become a financier of some sort. You have proprietary data and better systems, so you can provide better insights, that certainly may be a possibility if we could firewall off. But as we think about impact, which is very core to our own mission, we feel like we can make a much larger footprint by allowing our tools to be in as many hands as possible. Every single bank and funds out there will need to have a digital strategy and technical systems to enable them to be in this market and go smaller. It seems extremely inefficient for all of them to be building their own. We've had some quotes, internal systems costing 510 million dollars in a million dollars plus a year to maintain. Why not have a tool that you could buy off the shelf and is maintained for you across a number of other facilities?”

[20:32] “We are mostly on the structuring and organizing today. So still a startup. […] What we found, though, is that there is so much low hanging fruit in project finance that’s still uncertain. […] You'll see a lot of friction just in managing basic workflow, and passing back and forth basic data to equal basic metrics. That is where we're at today, where we want to bring project finance to what we call […] FinTech 1.0. […] Once you have that, though, the possibilities are sort of endless. Then you can get to that more, how can we take this information now that everything is digital and attached to these assets? How can you look at the historicals and make more interesting assessments? How can you bundle projects together to make more interesting financial products? All these insights are possible once you collect this beautiful pool of data. But right now, I think for private markets, the gold that we're looking for and digging for is just getting that data and in one place and of high quality and constantly being updated.”

[28:14] “It's SaaS at the moment. […] In the longer run, if we help with trading, we hope to be able to […] bundle up and trade and do that in a more automated manner and not to spend all these fees or less fees on lawyers and bankers and accountants to compile information and go to market. We'd love to take a few bits off the top there now would be a transaction based fee, and also very exciting as we make this very liquid market.”

[36:39] “What we see a lot of when you hear about these big banks becoming more green is, […] we're gonna move around our existing funds so that it's ESG compliant. And […] any forward movement is great, […] but it's sometimes a bit noisy. Brands are saying they're green just by offering the same investments they have reorganized, which isn't actually flowing more dollars into the space. […] Instead of let's do larger billion or trillion dollar new types of ESG funds, put that directly into infrastructure. […] If we could just have that shift a little bit faster, I think that would be a great amount of money to come into the space.”

[38:29] “The timing is great, but the gap is still very large. So I think it's a fantastic time to either be a climate entrepreneur or to put more funding into the space. […] It feels like sometimes with our lack of people, there is an infinite number of funds and dollars flowing in, but it's still not enough. And so if you can help more dollars flow in by creating a fund and fundraising for it or creating more tools in the climate FinTech space, or using Banyan to jettison your own funds. I think it does feel very urgent […]. I'm optimistic because the urgency is there.”

Rating: ⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "Startup Series: Banyan Infrastructure")
🕰️ 40 min | 🗓️ 08/19/2021
✅ Time saved: 38 min

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