New Zealand's clean tech sector is set for a boost, thanks to a new fund being launched by ASB bank. The Clean Tech Fund is a unique initiative that aims to provide an easier route for early-stage companies in this field to access capital.
Small companies focusing on technology or processes that either directly lower emissions or improve the usage of natural resources, with applications throughout the wider economy, will become eligible to receive up to $5 million in lending from this fund. The Clean Tech Fund is specifically designed for these early-stage companies, most of which wouldn't be able to secure traditional bank funding due to their new or cutting-edge ideas that may not yet be profitable.
ASB's Executive General Manager for Corporate Banking, Jonathan Oram, expounds, "We are excited to be at the forefront of clean tech innovation and proud to support Aotearoa’s transition to a more sustainable future. The Clean Tech Fund offers options to clean tech businesses that might not be able to secure traditional bank funding. We look forward to working with innovative companies who are on a mission to shape our future."
New Zealand currently has a burgeoning clean tech ecosystem with approximately 400 companies. The prospect of these companies developing into a high-value export sector, presenting answers to global challenges, is very feasible. However, these companies are primarily made up of early-stage ventures which require substantial capital to flourish.
The recent Startup Investment report found deeptech – technology solutions based on scientific and engineering principles – to be the hottest sector for investment in the first half of 2023, accounting for almost half the 67 deals made. Among its sub-sectors, cleantech received 22 percent.
However, there continues to be a tightening in investor capital available globally, particularly for Series A and B rounds.
"Access to capital at the right time can make or break these early-stage companies. We want to back innovators to grow their businesses while maintaining ownership and control. The clean tech industry will be so critical to our zero-carbon, climate-resilient future and we want to see New Zealand benefit from the opportunity this presents," Oram further explained.
The Clean Tech Fund aims to assist businesses in a range of areas, such as renewable energy generation, developing new low-carbon transport, materials for construction and industrial processes, technology to decrease waste and pollution, carbon sequestration, reducing farm emissions, and preserving the natural environment.