Clean energy investments are still held up by the manual process of compiling spreadsheets, emailing documents and an administrative paper trail that hasn’t really changed in decades. Meanwhile the Inflation Reduction Act and various other new clean energy funding platforms “has thrown jet fuel on the fire for the financing of renewable energy projects,” a project developer recently attending Intersolar North America 2023 in Long Beach, Calif., told pv magazine USA.
Banyan Infrastructure, a San Francisco, Calif.-based clean energy financing platform, is raising a $25 million Series B equity round from Energize Ventures, SE Ventures (Schneider Electric) and Elemental Excelerator, to digitize the manual process of procuring project finance between banks, investors and project developers.
With the new investment, Banyan plans to more than double its headcount and further expand its proprietary finance software. Founded in 2018, the company achieved 700% year over year growth over the last year, securing partnerships and customers including Standard Solar and SMBC. The company’s software enables billions of financial transactions to go on across seven countries and thousands of projects, according to the company’s website.
Using a unified risk and data management system, Banyan’s platform enables the rapid scale up of sustainable infrastructure portfolios and allows customers to achieve net-zero targets rather than get slogged in months of paperwork.
The Series B investors were joined by return investors VoLo Earth and Ulu Ventures, bringing the distributed generation finance platform’s total funding to date to just over $42 million.
“Because standardization is lacking for sustainable technology, risk averse investors are hesitant to move quickly in this relatively new industry,” said Will Greene, co-founder and chief executive officer, Banyan Infrastructure. “Our software focuses on reducing transaction costs and increasing transparency to create previously unseen speed and scale of project finance.”
Banyan’s technology replaces manual paperwork with digitized loans and workflows, as well as automated data ingestion, risk monitoring and contractual compliance for each loan, resulting in a faster financing and larger capital deployment rate.
The NY Green Bank, the $1 billion sustainable infrastructure fund of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), has used Banyan’s platform to support portfolio management activities.
“Software is key to making the very nuanced and complex project financing process quicker and more profitable, especially given the unique challenges around financing renewable energy projects,” said Amanda Li, co-founder and chief operations officer, Banyan Infrastructure. “These projects are far more smaller and more distributed, which can lead to the underwriting and risk management process being too complex, or too unprofitable with current timelines and overhead.”
Prior to forming Banyan, Amanda Li was an investment professional at Generate Capital, Obvious Ventures and consulted for McKinsey & Company, while Greene spent 13 years at Oracle, before senior technology roles at Twilio, Revel Systems and Treez.
In July 2022, Dalrada Financial affiliate Dalrada Energy Services partnered with Banyan to develop a cloud-based software-as-a-service for environmental social and governance (ESG) projects of Dalrada. The partnership enabled Dalrada’s commercial clients to have full transparency to meet their net zero goals and contractual obligations, while boosting loan transparency and expediting communications for origination, service and syndication of infrastructure loans.
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