Real Assets Adviser

May 1, 2021: Vol. 8, Number 5

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From the Current Issue

The demand for listed infrastructure: Investors exploring ways to tap into this global growth opportunity

Infrastructure is the backbone of the global economy, providing society with the foundation to function. It is also front and center in the evolution of several key trends across the global economy that will likely drive increased investment opportunities in what is a dynamic and rapidly evolving asset class. From the energy we consume to the transportation networks we rely on; infrastructure is well placed to provide investors with access to a global growth opportunity in the coming decades.

Steep hill to climb for young, aspiring homebuyers

The residential real estate market might be hot but saving for that precious down payment is the holy grail, particularly among younger generations looking to buy a home in expensive markets. A new report issued by Point2, a firm that covers real estate market trends, shows a wide disparity among generations and the average time it takes each to gather the funds required for a down payment and purchase of a home.

Is the renewable energy transition really all it’s being advertised to be?

We are making a terrible mistake when it comes to future energy policies and the challenges posed by the so-called energy transition. There is imminent harm awaiting investors and policymakers who fail to acknowledge certain realities. Every green energy proposal we have examined relies on the trifecta of wind, solar and electric vehicles combined with various battery technologies. In recent months, a renewed “hydrogen mania” has broken out as well, which adds a fourth leg to the green energy stool. Unfortunately, based on our extensive research, these plans, including the current hydrogen craze, are bound to, at best, severely disappoint and, at worst, outright fail in what they attempt to accomplish.

Real estate interests using corporate venture capital to underwrite proptech startups

While the major real estate industry players have been making headlines with a new SPAC announcement seemingly every other day, you may have missed that some of them have their own internal venture capital firms to invest in early-stage proptech companies. What does that mean and why are real estate firms launching their own corporate venture capital arms to invest in proptech?

No beef with this concept: Plant-based food startup raises $335 million

Livekindly Collective, a group of plant-based protein brands and a media platform, has raised $335 million, making it one of the sector’s highest funded startups, and one of the fastest-growing plant-based food companies. The plant-based food market is projected to account for a quarter of the meat market by 2040.

Pre-SPAC, post-SPAC: Why private markets have supplanted IPOs

In the past, an initial public offering (IPO) was the goal of almost every entrepreneur, as they anticipated an influx of cash, publicity and the prestige of listing on a major securities exchange. However, many business owners have since realized that IPOs come with added burdens of market volatility, significant time requirements and SEC scrutiny. Thus, more organizations today are turning to the private markets — and after the current SPAC trend runs its course, we expect to see this number increase.

What’s working in affordable housing — for tenants and investors

Long before COVID-19 washed up on U.S. shores, a different kind of crisis plagued many Americans, the shortage of affordable housing. And long after the pandemic dissipates, the U.S. affordable housing crisis is expected to persist, if not worsen, creating ongoing opportunities for investors, provided property developers get it right.

Smart parking technologies give an old game new life

Any experienced driver knows the frustration of struggling to find a parking spot, and city planners have been foiled for years in trying to ameliorate the problem. Any experienced investor in parking properties knows the frustration and lost profits of parking’s old-fashioned inefficiency. Then smart parking came along. The basic function of smart parking systems is the provision of accurate, real-time data to drivers regarding the location of vacant parking spaces. Sensors such as surface and flush mount sensors and overhead sensors are among some of the most commonly used technologies to allow operators to gather information from several dozen spaces simultaneously, while simultaneously utilizing existing overhead infrastructure, such as lampposts, to bring drivers and empty spaces together.

The micromobility revolution: How bikes and scooters are shaking up urban transit

Here is the problem facing city dwellers: Urban congestion continues to rise and existing modes of transportation — such as cars, buses and trains — are not keeping up with growing populations. U.S. commuters have lost an average of 99 hours a year to traffic congestion, according to the 2019 INRIX National Traffic Scorecard. In 2019, traffic cost Americans roughly $88 billion or an average of almost $1,400 per driver.

Profile: John Valentini, CEO of Fiera Private Alternative Investments, argues that most investors have sorely undervalued real assets

During his days at the Big Four accounting firm of Ernst & Young, John Valentini asked his new boss, Jack Schnek, a straightforward question: “What do you expect from me?” To which Valentini received an equally straightforward answer: “Make my life easy. Do your job.” The reply offered the kind of simplicity and bluntness one imagines Valentini, now CEO of Fiera Private Alternative Investments, embraced and has since advanced to his own executive team at the big Montreal-based asset management firm.

Unaligned interests: Modern real estate investing means putting investors first

Think 21st century real estate investing and technology typically comes to mind. Websites, apps and other digital tools have definitely made investing easier and quicker than ever. While the adoption of technology within the real estate industry has become more widespread and increased access for all types of investors, one component that has lagged, even when compared to its publicly traded counterparts, is ensuring that real estate investing is designed for the investor and not for the sponsor. That’s what modern real estate investing is truly about: putting the investor first.

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