FintekNews is pleased to offer our weekly feature column “3 Questions With”. Each week, we feature a thought leader within a unique sector of fintech and ask them to answer just 3 questions for our audience in their vernacular. This week, we’d like to introduce you to Thomas Byrne, CEO of CleanCapital, an investment platform that originates, underwrites, and manages operating clean energy projects on behalf of investors. Its mission is to accelerate clean energy through simpler finance.
NAME: Thomas Byrne
WEB ADDRESS: http://cleancapital.com
What does your firm do/offer within the fintech sector?
In addition to myself, the co-founders – Marc Garrett, Kevin Johnson, and Jon Powers – are each driven by the urgent need to accelerate clean energy and we have an amazing team that shares that value set.
To lead that charge, we are creating solutions to bring more investment to clean energy assets. The list of capital providers in the clean energy space is small yet some estimate that up to $90 trillion is required over the next 15 years to achieve climate goals. CleanCapital makes it easier for investors – pensions, insurers, family offices, endowments and individuals – to participate in this space. We originate and underwrite assets, and do all of the hard work so that investors can easily review and invest.
We believe technology is a crucial piece of this effort, and serves two important roles for us. Our technology and algorithms allow CleanCapital to more rapidly and accurately onboard and underwrite assets, while also providing investors with a simpler and more understandable investment process. Over time, we expect this approach to bring more investors to the market, and deliver more capital to owners and developers of clean energy assets.
What is your role within your firm and what do you do there on any given day?
I am involved in all aspects of the company. On any given day, I can be working on originations, technology, capital markets, or accounting. However, as the team grows, I am increasingly able to focus my attention on efforts to grow the business. Over the next 12 months, I will likely work more on technology and capital markets. The interplay between those two pieces of the business is where CleanCapital will really make an impact. Our CTO, Marc Garrett, and his team are doing some really innovative things and I look forward to seeing them shipped over the next 12 months.
What area/s of fintech do you believe will grow the most in the coming 5 years?
Two things. Over the next five years, I expect to see a menu of artificial intelligence solutions that significantly streamline the most onerous of financial transactions. It’s already happening and will become the norm in the next 5 years, and we have only seen the beginning.
On a more macro level, I don’t think fintech will even be a distinct category. Established institutions will have a more fintech feel, and many fintech companies will become more established. Most financial institutions have embraced technology to some degree, and this will only increase as startups continue to push financial technology solutions to new heights. As long as technology solutions increase accessibility, eliminate barriers, and provide more transparency, this is a good thing.
Thomas Byrne is the CEO of CleanCapital where he leads corporate strategy and operations, capital raising and capital markets. CleanCapital was born out of the inefficiencies that Thom witnessed while spending his career in clean energy finance. Prior to CleanCapital, Thom was a Partner and General Counsel at True Green Capital, a private equity firm focused on clean energy investments; he was previously an attorney in the renewable energy finance group at Akin Gump.