A team of highly talented and extremely bright chaps from Silicon Valley are doing something quite radical, they are disrupting the way infrastructure deals are financed in the US and other parts of the world.
Zanbato Sutter is bringing tech and transparency to the closed community of infrastructure investment. Aimed at primary and secondary transactions, their web platform matches buyers and sellers of infrastructure assets and fund interests.
If you're a seller, let's say a bank or government agency, you can create a profile post your deal or opportunity on the site for free. The Zanbato algorithms match you to an investor's criteria, who will then get an alert telling them about your opportunity. You can track who's checked out your deal, respond to requests for more info, and ultimately close the deal through the site. As an investor, you benefit by getting access to a wide range of deals and everyone and his dog does well out of a more streamlined and efficient online process.
On the transparency front, deals being done in back rooms, through word of mouth or via old boys' networks become a thing of the past. Emerging markets are all for embracing the Zanbato e-platform, government agencies in Africa can see the merits of Zanbato, as a credible one stop shop for promoting their opportunities to global investors.
Here in the UK, you can envisage the marketplace used to run funding competitions for publically bid for projects, so long as it represents value for money and doesn't delay the procurement process.
But for me, it's not the most exciting aspect of Zanbato's product range compared to their Storefronts concept.
A big barrier to infrastructure investment in the UK, is the lack of viable information and data from the public sector on pipeline opportunities early enough for investors to plan for it. Let's face it the National Infrastructure Plan pipeline was not the Treasury's finest hour –you can't expect investors to get pumped up about an opportunity from one line in a spreadsheet riddled with inaccuracies, glaring gaps and out of date information.
Zanbato Storefronts are a simple and effective way to promote an opportunity and attract investors.