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Member Spotlight: Funding the Infrastructure of the Future

Can a startup leverage the private sector to bring about infrastructure that is cleaner, smarter, more efficient, always connected,  and ultimately better able to adapt to the needs of tomorrow?

American infrastructure – consisting of extensive transportation systems, strong power grids and diverse telecommunication options – has been the engine powering American economic growth for the last 50 years. How can we continue this into the next 50 years?

NextInfra, a Washington, D.C.-based startup founded by two former World Bank policy wonks, wants to answer all these questions. NextInfra plans to unlock the next wave of American infrastructure — smart, resilient, connected and ready to power the next generation of economic growth and human potential.

The United States, once a global leader in infrastructure competitiveness, now ranks sixteenth in the world. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) has estimated that necessary infrastructure improvements in the United States will require a $3.6 trillion investment by 2020. But if institutional investors have raised large infrastructure equity funds and interest rates are low, then what is holding back infrastructure investment?

ASCE fta-report-summary-infographic

NextInfra has identified two pain points causing this bottleneck in American infrastructure, and is offering coherent solutions.

First, state and local governments face historical constraints on their fundraising abilities. The NextInfra platform enables governments to open up project funding to private entities, increasing citizen involvement, optimizing willingness-to-pay and freeing up tax revenue for other essential services.

Second, infrastructure developers have limited sources for early-stage development capital, while there is no shortage of late-stage private equity and low-interest debt. The NextInfra platform enables developers to tap into capital willing to fund that early risk.

NextInfra also enables wider access to an asset class that was historically restricted to all but the most sophisticated institutional investors. The United States could soon become the biggest market in the world for infrastructure public-private partnerships, and NextInfra lets you be a part of it.

The timing is right, too. With proposals such as the National Infrastructure Bank and the potential tax-free repatriation of corporate profits, the public sector is developing bipartisan proposals to fund infrastructure projects. By increasing private sector investment options, NextInfra can multiply the positive impact of these efforts.

Infrastructure improvements enable governments to work creatively and innovate in new ways to benefit their citizens in multiple ways. As we move into the next wave of smart cities, NextInfra has an exciting place in the fintech landscape.