The $250 billion that has poured into ESG index funds as of August 2020 represents a 733% increase in just two years, and what that rapidly growing big money is saying is this: bad behavior, regulatory sins, and careless carbon footprints aren’t just risky business, they’re underpinning underperformance.
Big banks themselves have been among the worst offenders. Look no further than the Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) scandals. Now, even the Big Banks are fleeing these high-risk temptations and desperately searching for places to park their clients’ money – places where it will face less risk and have a better chance of outperforming the market.
That’s ESG – environmental, social and governance investing, also referred to more loosely as “impact investing” or “sustainable investing”.
Two companies, one small and just emerging as a known name across North America, and the other, large and savvy enough to have become the new King of Wall Street, stand out as pioneers who crossed the ESG finish line first: BlackRock (NYSE:BLK) and Canadian startup Facedrive (TSXV.FD).
BlackRock is the hedge fund extraordinaire with nearly $7 trillion in assets under management, and it was the first of its kind to grasp and run with the ESG trend before anyone else caught on. Now, it’s a megatrend, and that makes BlackRock the biggest thing on Wall Street.
Facedrive (TSX:FD.V; OTCMKTS:FDVRF) is an entire ESG tech ecosystem like nothing anyone has ever seen. This innovative startup that emerged from Canada’s “Silicon Valley” has been disrupting everything from ride-sharing and food and pharma delivery to esports, major league sports, social distancing entertainment, COVID contact-tracing, and, most recently, electric vehicle subscription services. And it’s even got its own celebrity co-branded line of clothing (think: Will Smith’s Bel Air Athletics) for all-encompassing branding.
It’s a “people-and-planet-first” company that plans to profit nicely on its principles.
That’s exactly what the ESG megatrend dictates: Going forward, the biggest money, the real money, will be made by companies who understand the true nature of risk, whether it comes in the form of climate change, a global pandemic, or simply good governance and corporate responsibility.
Technology: The Lucrative 5th Dimension of ESG
ESG investing isn’t just about going green. It isn’t just about voting with a conscience. It goes far beyond this, and into a 5th dimension. That dimension is exactly where big investors are scrambling to find more places to park their money.
What is the 5th dimension? Best described by Forbes Business Councilman Walter Schindler, the 5th Dimension of ESG is revolutionary: It’s where we “achieve radical efficiency, faster results, and quantum impact”. It’s the epiphany that technology is every industry, and every industry is technology. Technology is ESG.
It’s the epiphany that BlackRock had before any of its peers, and that Facedrive piled money into way back in 2016 when Uber was choking the streets with more carbon than it replaced and was oblivious to the transformation that was to come.
Facedrive has taken a quantum leap into the ESG 5th Dimension, and it’s been on a mega-acquisition binge:
- In August 2019, Facedrive launched its challenge to Uber and Lyft: The world’s first high-tech ride-hailing platform that is carbon neutral and offers riders the choice of an EV or hybrid, planting trees to offset any potential carbon along the way.
- In November 2019, the company landed a strategic partnership with Westbrook Global, the content creation company owned by Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith. That led to a deal that saw Will Smith’s Bel-Air Athletics co-brand an exclusive line of clothing merch with Facedrive for ultimate celebrity branding.
- In April 2020, Facedrive joined forces with the University of Waterloo to fast-track cutting-edge COVID contact-tracing technology with wearables, winning them government contracts and positioning TraceSCAN at the top of Canada’s contact-tracing tech leadership. TraceSCAN wearables are now available on the Microsoft store.
- That same month, Facedrive acquired HiRide, an innovator coming out of Ontario’s version of “Shark Tank”, giving them access to the entire user base of a unique long-distance car-pooling solution for students and professionals. That gave Facedrive access to first, last and long-distance-mile customers.
- In May 2020, Facedrive made a huge advance on the food delivery segment, acquiring Foodora Canada, a subsidiary company of the $20-billion multinational food delivery service, Delivery Hero, operating in 40 countries and servicing more than 500,000 restaurants.
- In June 2020, Facedrive launched its Corporate Partnership Program and landed giant Amazon and Canadian Tier 1 telecoms company, Telus, with other huge household names expected to follow.
- In August 2020, it was the star-studded strategic partnership and investment in Tally Technologies, the high-tech major league sports predicting startup founded by NFL superstar Russel Wilson. Tally Technologies plans to revolutionize major league sports with “gamification” and online fan engagement. Gamified for ultimate fan engagement, major league sports will now be free-to-play and predictive. That means wild new revenue potential for major league sports, which is exactly why Tally has already been chosen by the NFL, NHL and NBA as the premier tech solution.
- In September 2020, Facedrive acquired Steer, the company that plans to disrupt the global transportation industry with a high-tech EV vehicle subscription service that aims to change the way we “own” cars. Facedrive acquired Steer from Chicago-based energy giant Exelon (NASDAQ:EXC), and the deal includes a $2-million strategic investment by Exelon’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Exelorate Enterprises, LLC. This seamless, hassle-free technology is grabbing onto the $250-billion ESG megatrend by giving every subscriber access to their own virtual garage of low-emissions vehicles.
Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s WestBrook Global is a Facedrive partner, and Bel-Air Athletics is co-branding Facedrive merch.
Steer is backed by energy giant Exelon, which is now strategically investing in Facedrive.
Tally Technologies emerged out of TraceMe, a celebrity content app founded by Super Bowl winning star Russell Wilson with early-in investors from the biggest tech companies in the world. It was acquired by Nike last year.
That acquisition turned the biggest names in the tech industry into Facedrive shareholders.
And on the big money investing scene, ESG is the real celebrity …
The hedge fund superpowers like BlackRock and Goldman Sachs have put billions aside to invest in ESG plays. Now, they’re looking for more.
BlackRock, which has more than $7 trillion in assets under management, has 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.
By the end of 2020, 100% of BlackRock’s portfolios will integrate ESG metrics – up from 70% in April.
“As we sit here today, we have raging fires. We have a hurricane. We have five tropical storms in the Atlantic. We have had record heat throughout the world,” BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said on September 28th. “We are seeing more and more examples of how climate change is becoming an investment risk.”
JPMorgan, which now says the COVID pandemic could lead to even greater adoption of ESG investing.
HSBC just 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.
Facedrive ticks all the right ESG boxes – and more. It’s created, launched, and exceptionally branded 5 entire ESG divisions in a year’s time. That means it’s perfectly positioned to ride the tailwinds of the market’s biggest megatrend.
We’re looking at a number of firsts here, and all with a super sleep high-tech, eco-friendly foundation that fully intends to turn quantum impact into real profit.
By. Brian Wang
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
Known for identifying cutting edge technologies, he is currently a Co-Founder of a startup and fundraiser for high potential early-stage companies. He is the Head of Research for Allocations for deep technology investments and an Angel Investor at Space Angels.
A frequent speaker at corporations, he has been a TEDx speaker, a Singularity University speaker and guest at numerous interviews for radio and podcasts. He is open to public speaking and advising engagements.