Marketlend’s funding option GreenLend encourages green investment
This week The Fifth Estate is reporting about Marketlend’s new clean energy funding option GreenLend, which has garnered the participation of leading Australian renewable energy company Planet Ark Power. The new funding plan is on track to connect more environmentally conscious investors with green businesses.
Investors are increasingly looking to invest “beyond” their checkbooks and with their consciences, but they can also find it difficult to find and fund businesses that align with their values. In particular, many investors are seeking to invest in solar and renewable assets, while also looking to avoid big banks and high interest rates.
That’s where GreenLend offers a solution since it was designed to accelerate the expansion of solar capacity and other clean energy in Australia. It helps sophisticated and wholesale investors directly fund clean energy SMEs by offering them a special interest rate on loans from Marketlend’s investors.
According to founder and CEO of Marketlend, Leo Tyndall, Marketlend has always taken a long-term view when it comes to financing SMEs.
“We want businesses to thrive long into the future,” he says. In fact, since its launch in 2014, Marketlend has funded over AUD$56 million to Australian SMEs. But GreenLend specifically targets Australia’s energy future by “ensuring today’s energy innovators get the access to capital they need so they can continue addressing one of the world’s most pressing concerns – climate change.”
SMEs can apply for funding on Marketlend’s online lending platform, and those businesses in the clean energy space will be marked with a special badge to help investors identify them. This will be based on criteria that will include supporting SMEs largely or wholly focused on clean energy, sustainable products, recycling and energy efficiency. Once identified as ‘green’, these borrowers receive an attractive interest rate of 8-9 percent while investors in these clean energy businesses will typically earn a return of between 5 percent and 7 percent.
The funding plan’s first borrower, Brisbane-based Planet Ark Power, has received a $500,000 loan from fifty investors through GreenLend. It will be use the money to improve cash flow, trade credit, and working capital. Planet Ark Power’s mission is to help businesses, governments, and individuals reduce their impact on the environment. Executive Director Richard Romanowski explains that the energy provider’s main focus is making renewable energy as efficient and hassle free as possible. The greater the uptake of renewables, he explains, the greater the benefit to the planet.
But in the past financial hurdles had hindered growth plans, which is why Marketlend’s GreenLend can help the company. The funding plan connects Planet Ark Power directly with investors, and helps the company rapidly increase recruitment and installation of more rooftop solar panels across Australia.
“In turn, we’re able to save households and businesses millions of dollars while reducing our carbon footprint – it’s game changing stuff,” Romanowski says.
While Planet Ark Power is one of the first companies to receive funding, Marketlend is uniquely placed to connect more SMEs with needed funding, helping them progress across their growth curve and achieve scale in ways they couldn’t before.