A new sustainability-focused investment firm has been launched in the UK, aiming to connect investors to opportunities in renewable energy and other sustainable projects.
Keystone Impact Investments was founded to serve as a bridge between companies or projects seeking growth capital and financial advisors, asset managers, and investment managers who have clients interested in sustainable investments.
The company was founded by Leigh Hyldon and Desmond Conway. Hyldon previously worked for JPMorgan Emerging Markets and Cantor Fitzgerald as a derivatives and bond trader.
Conway was a Managing Director at Keystone Property Group and has experience working on projects around the world in North America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, including social housing and renewable energy.
Hyldon said the pair are aiming to resolve some of the issues related to sustainable investing, including the lack of access to the same opportunities for institutional and retail investors.
“It’s very limiting, retail investors have a lack of opportunity or transparency, so our focus is on breaking traditional models, providing an easy way to raise growth capital, and streamlining a sustainable way of investing.”
Hyldon looks at business development in three phases. Initially, the team will work deal-to-deal, raising capital from investors for specific projects. They currently have a portfolio of deals in the pipeline valued at around £ 100 million to £ 200 million over the next 18 months to two years.
After this period, they will try to expand the company’s skills on the investment management side so that they can oversee multiple transactions and also invest their own capital in projects.
“The third step would be for us to see ourselves as a sustainable investment bank in the future,” he said.
Initially, the team will focus on doing business in the UK and Ireland in areas such as solar energy, biogas, energy storage and agricultural loans. However, Hyldon capitalized on the directors’ experience in Africa and the Middle East and said that there are also projects across Europe and Turkey that they are looking for.
Interest in sustainability and ESG investments has skyrocketed in recent years as many companies have launched products across the financial spectrum in this area.
Not only have traditional asset managers launched targeted funds, private equity groups have also begun to launch dedicated impact strategies driven by increasing investor demand.
As investor interest rises, the market also becomes highly competitive, while concerns about greenwashing generate skeptics. Hyldon has an opportunity for Keystone Impact Investments given the £ 0-20 million volume that has been overlooked by large institutional investors.
“The institutions or professional investors have neither the time nor the” [resources] for these smaller businesses and to group them together, ”he said.
“We looked at the current options for raising and distributing capital. There have been many projects that have been able to produce impact and growth but have no access to funding or the cost of funding is very high.
“We want to be able to work with two hats – to inspire investors to do good with their capital, to help with education and to offer opportunities and then to see the bridge between sustainable projects and these investors. ‘