Connecting Waterpeople

First-of-its-kind digital marketplace enables billions in financing for Texas infrastructure

  • First-of-its-kind digital marketplace enables billions in financing for Texas infrastructure

About the entity

Aqaix
Aqaix is a Silicon Valley software company and “Fintech” (financial technologies) that is digitizing business processes for financing infrastructure, including water infrastructure.
Schneider Electric
ResilientH2O Partners and Aqaix have launched one of the first cloud marketplace to enable billions in public and private financing for infrastructure projects aimed at making Texas more resilient to catastrophic flooding, water-scarcity, and other natural disasters.
 
Employing highly innovative software, the Texas P3 Resilience Marketplace provides a single cloud platform that will allow resilience project proposals to be collected, evaluated according to standardized criteria and technical models, and matched with funding sources. The marketplace also facilitates public-private partnerships (P3s), blended finance, conditional and performance finance, and other innovative finance models.
 
“Texas is providing global leadership on innovations in resilience planning and mitigation,” said Richard Seline, CEO of ResilientH2O partners, an advisory investment firm on financing resiliency. “Texas P3 Resilience Marketplace seeks to support and strengthen those innovations by bringing together all of the public, private and nonprofit stakeholders necessary for success.”
 
“Resilience is hugely complex and requires planning for flooding, water scarcity, fire prevention, leaks, and other disasters,” Seline continued. “There will never be enough public money for all of the resilience planning and project development that communities and industries need. The current economic downturn only tightens up funding. The Texas P3 Resilience Marketplace unleashes alternative financing and new investment that can make up shortfalls in resiliency funding challenges. Since every project may not be funded by a public source, we need a mechanism to get great opportunities delivered.”
 
The marketplace, which runs on the Aqaix infrastructure finance platform, eventually will support and, where applicable, spark additional resources for thousands of project proposals and enable collaboration by more than 300 federal, state, and local agencies, nonprofits, foundations, and private businesses across Texas.
 
Phase 1 of the marketplace will focus on selecting projects to receive approximately $20 billion in federal, state, and local flood resilience funding from 12 sources. Subsequent phases will tap into other government funds, as well as commercial and nonprofit capital.
 
“Houston and the surrounding region have an enormous burden to mobilize resources quickly to achieve flood-resilience before the next major storm,” said Auggie Campbell, Executive Director for the Association of Water Board Directors of Texas. “Protecting our region requires government and private entities to cooperate and bring capital. Texas P3 Resilience Marketplace offers a way to help collaborate and manage all aspects of the complex projects we need. Bringing advanced software and marketplace models to help organize, fund, execute, govern, and monitor these projects will allow project partners and the public to realize the promised benefits.”
 
Following the catastrophic flooding brought about by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Texas stakeholders analyzed resilience projects and financing needs, coming up with a daunting price tag of $60 billion. Various business, chamber of commerce, and economic development leadership organizations worked together to launch a strategic, decade-long campaign to secure that funding. In the process, stakeholders realized that mobilizing sufficient capital will require software and a marketplace allowing many different types of financing to partner with traditional and innovative funding solutions.
 
Aqaix CEO Michael Gardner says Aqaix software defines a new category of software for infrastructure project finance just as Salesforce.com defined a new category for business software 20 years ago.
 
“Our software enables and drives this type of complex financing,” Gardner said. “Nowadays, organizations of all types must be able to efficiently collaborate using data and information to make evidence-based investment decisions based on multi-benefit models across portfolios of projects and enabling new financial instruments. The old way of doing that is a morass of spreadsheets and email. Our software makes it much easier, faster, cheaper, and safer.”
 
“Once you start adding more organizations and accommodating accounting for investors interested in social and environmental ROI (return on investment), the communications and paper costs become astronomical,” Gardner continued. “Our platform allows the scaling of finance for the 21st century’s many infrastructure funding challenges. It can handle virtually any type of infrastructure project or program.”
 
Texas P3 Resilience Marketplace: https://www.texasp3resilience.com/