Irish companies urged to apply to Asia sustainability fund

Irish companies urged to apply to Asia sustainability fund

Martin Murray, Executive Director Asia Matters: We are a patient venture capital facility and are trying to connect start-ups, high-impact technology firms and growth firms interested in coming into AsiaPacific

IRISH companies with innovative sustainable tech solutions are being urged to investigate a new investment fund designed to open doors to vast Asian markets.

ADB Ventures has been established by the Asia Development Bank to spur high-impact cleantech, agri tech, fintech, and health tech innovations, particularly in the areas of climate action and gender balance.

The fund will tell the Global Asia Matters Business Summit this week that they are looking for Irish start-ups or growth-stage companies with tech-enabled solutions.

Ideally, the companies should already have a developed product and a clear path to sustainability and non-equity finance growth within three years.

Over 80% of its investments are expected to be in climate impact and 75% must also have a strong female market or management participation.

Despite the access opportunity presented by the Irish Government being a shareholder in the ADB, our businesses are behind the European curve in availing of the vast procurement market that it operates, according to Martin Murray, Executive Director of Asia Matters.

“Ireland has provided $520 million in capital subscription to the ADB since joining the bank in 2006, with companies and consultants from Ireland being awarded $30.6 million in procurement contracts on ADB-financed projects,” said Mr Murray.

“However, Irish companies were awarded just 0.03% of available contract funding from main ADB funds in 2020, and are missing out on golden opportunities, particularly in the areas in which we excel.”

The ADB Portfolio of 1,000 projects has a value of $132bn and there are currently over 900 technical assistance projects available valued at over $1.6bn.

Galway company GDSI Ltd secured $2.11m through these channels, with Dublin-based consulting company AARC Ltd winning contracts worth $9.64m over the past five years.

In addition to the main ADB fund, ADB Ventures has been established to invest in early-stage technology companies globally that can address urgent development challenges in emerging AsiaPacific.

The fund tends to take a minority role and seek to co-exist with leading early-stage investors.

“We are a patient venture capital facility and are trying to connect start-ups, high-impact technology firms, and growth firms interested in coming into AsiaPacific, and helping them to reduce their market entry risks,” said ADP Ventures Lead on Impact Tech Saumya Kailasapathy.

“Irish companies breaking into AsiaPacific typically land in China, but typically they have no knowledge on how to approach South and South-East Asian markets such as India, Thailand, and Myanmar, where there are huge opportunities.

“We support companies to find a client, negotiate the contract, help them through the regulatory framework, and put them in touch with good networks.

“We can seed the companies with reimbursable grants of up to $200,000 to test the market and enable them to get to the next round of equity financing quicker.

“If required, ADB Ventures can then invest up to $4m in early stage and growth companies with technology-enabled solutions as patient capital for up to 10 years.”

The fund has four labs in operation – travel, energy, water, and agri tech, where it works with partners in the region.

The labs contact large industry players to map their pain points, identify the problem and then source the best-in-class solutions from all parts of the world to try and source solutions.

Chaired by Alan Dukes, Asia Matters is a non-profit and non-political membership institute that works in close partnership with leading corporates and government stakeholders.

The Asia Matters Global Business Summit is themed around Global Partnership and will feature top speakers such as Harry Moseley, Global CIO of Zoom, Ellie Norman Director of Marketing for Formula 1, and Derek O’Halloran, Head of Digital Economy from the World Economic Forum.

See asiamatters.eu for details.

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