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HSBC plans climate tech funding push - Industry roundup: 22 September

HSBC plans climate tech funding push

HSBC has announced plans to make available US$1bn of financing to early-stage climate tech companies around the world. The financing is expected to support start-ups to create a range of new solutions, including EV charging, battery storage, sustainable food and agriculture, and carbon removal technologies. This announcement also follows the launch of HSBC Innovation Banking and of HSBC Asset Management's Climate Tech Venture Capital strategy.

The bank says it is seeking to deepen its support for the ecosystem of climate tech innovation. This comes as recent data shows that after successive rapid year-on-year growth, venture capital funding for climate start-ups plunged by 40% in the first half of 2023, as market conditions in the venture capital space put downward pressure on nascent tech valuations. HSBC’s climate tech proposition aims to enable these critical technologies to reach the market more quickly at scale.

While the majority of global early and growth stage climate tech investment has focused on the US and Europe, HSBC’s $1bn allocation plans to focus on high potential climate tech companies, wherever they are in the world.

Estimates suggest almost half the emissions reductions required to reach net zero in 2050 will come from technologies that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phase. HSBC aims to support climate tech innovation to scale, supporting early-stage companies and providing capital for first-of-a-kind demonstration projects, including through its $100m investment in Breakthrough Energy Catalyst.


Canadian small business owners need additional cyber support 

Ahead of Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023, Mastercard has released research findings that show cybercrime in Canada has increased by over 600% since the start of the pandemic, with small businesses particularly vulnerable. 

While a cyber breach can cost small businesses money and a loss of trust, just 16% of Canadian small business owners surveyed feel certain they know the best steps to take following a cyber attack and only 18% are totally confident that their business would recover fully from an attack in the next six months. The reality facing small businesses in today’s digital landscape is that cyber attacks are not a matter of if, but when - and what next?

Maintaining and rebuilding consumer trust is critical to small business recovery following a breach. According to the study, data protection measures (57%), accountability (53%), and transparency about past cyber incidents (52%) are among the highest factors that influence Canadian consumers’ perceptions of small business security and trustworthiness. A robust and transparent cybersecurity plan is essential for small businesses to uphold their reputation and maintain long-term resilience, even as cyber threats increase and evolve. 

The Mastercard research found that women small business owners in Canada are less likely than their male counterparts to feel confident in the cybersecurity tools they’ve implemented (27% vs. 37%) and to feel confident that their businesses would fully recover following a cyberattack (46% versus 53%).

To help Canadian small businesses start securing their business, Mastercard and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) have partnered to deliver the Cybersecurity Academy, with short lessons and free tools tailored to the needs of small businesses. Mastercard also offers a range of free tools and insights via its Small Business Cybersecurity Hub to help owners and entrepreneurs understand cyber risk, effectively defend against cyber threats, and create effective, actionable plans for swift recovery.


ACI Worldwide and Microsoft to accelerate global move to real-time payments

ACI Worldwide has announced a collaboration with Microsoft that is designed to help financial institutions and technical services enable instant payments transactions faster through its Real-Time Payments Cloud (RTPC) platform. Hosted in the Microsoft Azure environment, ACI RTPC is a multi-tenant SaaS platform that provides a payments interface between financial institutions and instant payments infrastructure, including The Clearing House's Real-Time Payments (RTP) Network and The Federal Reserve's FedNow Service in the US.

The platform helps financial institutions of all sizes gain access to both US domestic instant payment networks: RTP and the FedNow Service. It lowers the barriers to entry, allowing any provider to have direct, real-time access to RTP and the FedNow Service and benefit from the platform’s elasticity to increase transaction volumes as their business grows. For example, ACI currently supports Corporate One Federal Credit Union, one of the largest credit unions in the US and a leader in real-time payments. Corporate One serves 14 of the top 50 credit unions in asset size and has more than 700 members across 45 states, reaching more than 28.5 million people.

In addition, the relationship with Microsoft supports ACI’s AI-powered anti-fraud processing model— featuring patented proprietary incremental learning technology—that allows clients to run payments operations securely and with high resiliency while protecting transactions and financial institutions’ and aggregators’ privacy. This emphasis on security and privacy is designed to help financial institutions effectively prevent, detect, and recover from cyber incidents, irrespective of clients’ system complexity and legacy infrastructure.


DBS and RESET Carbon to scale up adoption of decarbonisation solutions in Asia’s manufacturing supply chain

DBS and RESET Carbon (RESET) have announced a partnership to focus efforts on accelerating the adoption of decarbonisation and sustainability solutions in the apparel, footwear and textile (AFT) supply chain. The collaboration was formalised with a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was inked today, in conjunction with the ReThink HK Sustainable Business Conference & Expo.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the trillion-dollar fashion industry accounts for up to 8% of global carbon emissions. Of this, upstream activities within the supply chain including materials production, preparation, and processing, account for an estimated 80% of emissions. While apparel brands have made strides to reduce emissions in their own operations to be in line with their commitments, decarbonising supply chains continues to be a hurdle.

To enable and accelerate sustainable growth in the AFT sector, DBS and RESET aim to work with both buyers and suppliers, including small and medium enterprises, in Asia’s manufacturing supply chain. AFT brands can access RESET’s advisory services and technical support to help drive carbon reductions in their supply chains, set science-based carbon targets, as well as strengthen in-house capabilities. DBS will provide financing solutions to suppliers to invest in cost-effective technologies that enable meaningful reductions in their factory emissions, water use, and waste.

In addition, companies can participate in the Carbon Leadership Program developed by RESET and the Apparel Impact Institute. The three-year-old program is designed to help apparel brands and their suppliers set science-based carbon reduction targets. Action plans are then developed through benchmarking and assessments, using a set of standardised tools and collaborative processes.


Fleximize receives £136m financing for SME lending solutions

Business lender Fleximize has secured £136m in securitised funding from existing investor Goldman Sachs Asset Management and new lender Citi. 

This latest securitised facility backed by loans to SME originated by Fleximize will be used by the company to redeem existing debt, expand its lending operations, accelerate its growth trajectory, and reaffirm its position as a pioneer in the digital lending space.

By leveraging its proprietary technology and underwriting processes, Fleximize ensures a seamless and expedited application process, allowing businesses to access the funds they need quickly and efficiently. The firm has recently hired 18 new staff members across a range of functions and continues to invest in technology to improve its services to SMEs.

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