By Andy Drew
Hedge fund superpowers like BlackRock and Goldman Sachs have put billions aside to invest in ESG plays, but they’re facing a major supply squeeze: They can’t find enough sustainable stocks to park their billions.
Thanks to BlackRock, Wall Street now has an ESG portfolio hedge fund on the throne, but when it comes to companies themselves, there aren’t many that have an entire ESG platform.
Welcome to Facedrive (TSXV:FD; OTC:FDVRF) the full-on “people and planet first” company with 5 ESG divisions indicating a potential growth runway that’s broad enough to have something for everyone in the “impact investing” scene.
It’s a company that embraces the ESG theme across an entire ecosystem of revenue streams, and the timing is exquisite: ESG investment supply that makes sense is hard to come by, and there’s a lot of big money just waiting to jump into ESG:
- In 2016, ESG investment assetsreached $12 trillion globally, up 34% from the two years prior. And it was just getting started.
- BlackRock, which has more than $7 trillion in assets under management, launched 23 new ESG funds since January alone. The giant fund’s iShares sustainable ETFs attracted $11 billion just in Q1 2020–double the full year take of $5 billion for 2019.
- JPMorgan says the COVID pandemic could lead to an even greater adoptionof ESG investing.
- Vanguardis planning to introduce its first U.S. ESG bond ETF to add to its two other ESG ETFs.
- HSBCjust launched an investment unit with 35 dealmakers as part of its huge new ESG push.
- Refinitiv just launched the first-ever “league table”for sustainable finance, a first for ESG, ranking everyone on top of the impact investing trend.
Where does Facedrive fit in? Just about anywhere … It’s an ESG driven service provider with huge potential.
Facedrive Rises To The ESG Challenge
It’s an impressive collection of ESG services on a single platform: It’s all about carbon-offset footprints, sustainability, healthy social distancing and even contributing on the front lines of the pandemic.
- FaceDriveand HiRide–Environmentally-friendly ride-sharing and long-distance carpooling
- Facedrive Health: Carbon-offset pharma deliveries and government-endorsed COVID contact-tracing with TraceScan, which now has wearables available at the Microsoft store
- Facedrive Marketplace, with celebrity co-branded (Think: Will Smith’s Bel Air) exclusive clothing focused on sustainably sourced materials
- Facedrive Foodsand Foodora carbon-offset food delivery platforms
- Social distancing trivia platform, HiQ, with over 500,000 app downloads
These are all ESG divisions, and now Facedrive’s recently launched Corporate Partnership Program has landed tech giant Amazon and Canada’s Tier-1 telecoms provider, Telus.
It’s an ESG line-up that should make anyone who has been late to this game salivate.
It’s 2020, and It’s All About Growth Runways
Facedrive released its financial statement for 2019 and the period ending March 31, 2020 on July 14th, but it wasn’t revenue everyone was looking at: What they were looking at was growth potential and a new Corporate Partnership Program that included Amazon and Telus.
This entire decade has been about growth potential. Valuation in last decade and the next is all about high-tech startups with major growth runways.
That’s why investors poured tons of cash into Uber and other startups, giving them valuations way beyond their revenue. That’s why Tik Tok’s owner is valued at over $110 billion with only ~$200 million in revenue.
And now, valuation may increasingly be about what makes sense to the market at a time when ESG is stealing the show.
Smart acquisitions have helped Facedrive expand its flagship rideshare business through the acquisition of fellow rideshare HiRide in March for $1M-$3.5 million in stock, and then it’s food delivery business with a deal on Foodora–the Canadian assets of global giant Delivery Hero for $500,000 in cash.
Overnight, Facedrive is set to position itself into the top echelon of Canadian food delivery services. The next move is international expansion.
Having Amazon on your corporate partnership program helps, too.
Both global e-commerce giant Amazon and Canadian Tier-1 telecoms giant Telus jumped in on Facedrive’s corporate partnership program because they’ll both receive preferred pricing on Facedrive services, giving their employees corporate deals.
And Amazon won’t just be using Facedrive, they’ll be helping it expand its technology infrastructure around the world as it branches out globally.
With Amazon and Telus on board, other household names are likely to follow.
What they’re following is the ESG trend on a very large portfolio of sustainable services that all take advantage of wider potential of rider-platform relationships.
What Consumers Want Is What the Market Wants
Facedrive (TSXV:FD; OTC:FDVRF) isn’t just an ESG platform: It’s a high-tech ESG platform that understands the huge millennial consumer base and their demand for ‘experiences, impact and relationships–not just simple services. And it’s all got to be high tech and seamless.
Facedrive is sharp, sleek, ultra-high-tech and eco-friendly all the way. It’s the face of a new megatrend that understands how to actually turn a profit from impact.
It’s the first to offer riders a choice of EVs and hybrids.
It’s the first to plant trees to offset its carbon footprint.
That’s because it was the first to foresee the problem with Uber and Lyft: They completely ignored sustainability, with ride-hailing resulting in nearly 70% more pollution than whatever transportation it displaced.
It’s the first to bring cities and communities on as stakeholders, and it’s the first to treat its drivers as people who deserve living wages.
It’s the first to understand the technology nexus between things as diverse as shared mobility, pandemic contact tracing and social distancing.
Facedrive engineered a major coup at the height of the COVID pandemic, launching TraceSCAN, a homegrown Canadian COVID-19 tracing solution and the only known viable application that features Bluetooth wearable tech integration.
It’s also got one of the biggest labor unions in the world on board, and more recently–official endorsement from the Government of Ontario, which is supporting its deployment–far and wide.
That’s because it’s the only tech that can effectively help trace coronavirus infections, and it will be crucial to contact tracing from Parliament Hill’s major renovation project in Ottawa to corporate offices, sporting events, healthcare facilities, long-term care facilities and outdoor venues.
It’s HiQ App, which is a socialization and gaming mobile application that encourages users to stay connected and engaged while practicing social distancing has more than 500,000 downloads in less than a month.
With the big banks all on board now, especially since ESG king BlackRock took over Wall Street, and with the pandemic promising to fast-track what is already a mega-trend, ESG is definitively the “new standard for investing.”
Other companies riding the ESG wave:
In addition to being the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) is also the de facto leader in the ESG push. It has well over $7.4 trillion in assets under management and clients in over 100 different countries. Just three years ago, the investment giant underwent a major shift in its strategy. Instead of simply following the status quo, indiscriminately investing in blue chips, BlackRock began prioritizing stocks that were more sustainable, conscious and under better management, kickstarting a multi-trillion-dollar investment trend across the globe.
In June, BlackRock even launched a new suite of funds focused on the ESG trend. The funds include; iShares ESG Aware Conservative Allocation ETF (EAOK); the iShares ESG Aware Moderate Allocation ETF (EAOM); the iShares ESG Aware Growth Allocation ETF (EAOR); and the iShares ESG Aware Aggressive Allocation ETF (EAOA).
Like BlackRock, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) too is shifting focus. On multiple fronts. Last year, CEO Jeff Bezos has launched a $10 billion climate change fund, but that was only the beginning. Amazon is also making major moves to clean up its act. The company is investing big on the transportation of tomorrow, leading a $700 million investment round in the electric vehicle startup, Rivian. It has also acquired a robo-taxi startup, Zoox.
The $1.5 trillion e-commerce giant caught some criticism earlier this year regarding the treatment of its employees, but responded quickly, raising the minimum wage for its workers and setting aside hundreds of millions of dollars to increase the quality of life for its employees.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is another tech giant taking the ESG demand from investors seriously. It has taken the lead in the tech world in positive social – and climate-related endeavors. Microsoft is going above and beyond in its carbon emissions promise. It is aiming to be carbon neutral in the next ten years. Not just is the tech giant taking a major role in minimizing its carbon emissions, but it is also at the forefront of a technological wave that is actively helping other companies control their emissions.
The pivot is paying off for Microsoft, as well. In December 2019, ESG funds held over $2.3 billion in Microsoft stock, making it the biggest winner in the ESG push by a long shot. For comparison, Apple came in second place with funds holding nearly $500 million less of its stock.
We can’t talk about ESG without mentioning Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA). There’s a reason Tesla has performed so well this year. Investors love Elon Musk’s vision. As one of the world’s most innovative car manufacturers, it has single-handedly made electric vehicles cool. Its slick design is beloved across the world. In fact, it’s almost impossible to NOT see a Tesla in cities like Hong Kong or San Francisco.
Though Tesla has received some poor marks for its workplace health and safety due to a few incidents of employees feeling overworked and under-appreciated compared to its peers, Tesla scores very high on pollution prevention and corporate governance.
Tesla’s success has also fueled a boom in other EV-related companies. Blink (NASDAQ:BLNK), for example, an electric vehicle charging company, has risen by over 300% in just a few months, and the sky is the limit for this up-and-comer. A wave of new deals, including a collaboration with EnerSys and another with Envoy Technologies to deploy electric vehicles and charging stations adds further support.
Aric Ohana, CEO of Envoy noted, “We’re excited to work with Blink on the deployment of their fast Level 2 charging stations as part of our exclusive electric car-sharing service. The vision of our two companies is aligned: to advance the adoption of electric vehicles. To continue to drive the growth and success across our expanding locations, we have to ensure that our clients have easy and efficient access to high-quality, reliable charging equipment. Blink has an established reputation as an innovator in the EV market, and we are thrilled to add them as a preferred partner.”
Canadian companies are making their own ESG push, as well:
Let’s start with some Canada’s renewable energy boom. Boralex Inc. (TSX:BLX) is one of Canada’s most ambitious renewable energy firms. It played a major role in kicking the country’s domestic green energy boom into high gear. Its main renewable energies are produced through wind, hydroelectric, thermal and solar sources and help power the homes of many people across Canada and other parts of the world, including the United States, France and the United Kingdom.
Westport Fuel Systems (TSX:WPRT) is another renewable energy company in Canada. It creates green solutions for the transportation industry. it provides systems for less impactful fuels, such as natural gas. This is a huge emerging opportunity in the push for cleaner fuels. In North America alone, there are over 225,000 natural gas vehicles. But that’s nothing in comparison to the 22.5 million natural gas vehicles on the road across the globe. That means Westpoint Fuel Systems still has a ton of room to grow!
Canada’s Silicon Valley is joining the ESG race, too. Shopify Inc (TSX:SH) Canada’s own e-commerce giant helps users build their own online stores. It has huge clients – everyone from Tesla to Budweiser are on board. And the company is beloved by millennial investors. In addition to its revolutionary approach on e-commerce, Shopify is playing an increasingly active role in creating a greener tomorrow. It has committed to spending at least $5 million annually to help combat climate change. It’s even making cuts throughout its own operations, decommissioning its data centers and sourcing renewable power for its buildings.
Canada’s telecom providers are on board, as well. BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) is one of the country’s leading telecom companies, and it’s been at the forefront of the environmental push for the past 25 years. Their environmental management system has even been accredited to be ISO 14001-compliant for over a decade. BCE has been included in a number of environmental indices, including the Global Compact 100 Index, FTSE4Good Global Index, and many others.
Shaw Communications Inc (TSE: SJR.B) is another Canadian telecom company transforming the industry through its use of green technology and renewable resources, In fact, it is one of the biggest clients of Canadian energy provider Bullfrog Power which sources its electrical power from a blend clean energy sources like wind and hydropower.
By. Andy Drew
**IMPORTANT! BY READING OUR CONTENT YOU EXPLICITLY AGREE TO THE FOLLOWING. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY**
This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that the demand for ride sharing services will grow; that the demand for environmentally conscientious ride sharing services companies in particular will grow quickly and take a much larger share of the market; that Facedrive’s TraceScan app will be adopted by other parties including government; that Facedrive’s marketplace will offer many more sustainable goods and services, and grow revenues outside of ride-sharing; that new products co-branded by Bel Air and Facedrive will sell well; that Facedrive can achieve its environmental goals without sacrificing profit; that Facedrive Foods will expand internationally soon; that major corporations will partner with Facedrive; that Facedrive will be able to fund its capital requirements in the near term and long term; and that Facedrive will be able to carry out its business plans. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include changing governmental laws and policies; the company’s ability to obtain and retain necessary licensing in each geographical area in which it operates; the success of the company’s expansion activities and whether markets justify additional expansion; the TraceScan app may not be adopted because of better apps offered by competitors or because of expense the ability of the company to attract a sufficient number of drivers to meet the demands of customer riders; the ability of the company to attract drivers who have electric vehicles and hybrid cars; the ability of Facedrive to attract providers of good and services for partnerships on terms acceptable to both parties, and on profitable terms for Facedrive; that the products co-branded by Facedrive may not be as merchantable as expected; that Facedrive does not attract major corporations as corporate partners, and even if it does, the partnerships do not bring the customers or revenues expected; the ability of the company to keep operating costs and customer charges competitive with other ride-hailing companies; and the company’s ability to continue agreements on affordable terms with existing or new tree planting enterprises, riders and drivers in order to retain profits. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
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