Google parent Alphabet forays into ‘tech-enabled infrastructure’ with Ontario Teachers

August 30, 2019 | Alternative Investments, News
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Sidewalk Labs LLC and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan will set up an infrastructure holding company

Google parent Alphabet announced plans to launch a new firm called Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners (SIP). The new firm will invest in projects over $100 million in a variety of fields. These opportunities include advanced mobility, energy, water and waste, digital infrastructure, and social infrastructure.

How SIP will invest

SIP will invest in large-sized infrastructure projects and in companies that sell their products to such projects.

“In all of these verticals, SIP will facilitate the application of technology to enable sustainable, distributed and intelligent urban infrastructure, creating jobs, improving mobility, and providing more environmentally friendly infrastructure solutions,” said a statement on the website of Ontario Teachers.

Ontario Teachers

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan had assets amounting $153.8 billion as on June 30. Infrastructure was 9% of its total portfolio.

Infrastructure as an investment choice is rising in popularity as it is an alternative to traditional assets and provides longer-term income with enhanced capital security.

“We will bring our infrastructure and investment expertise to the table, while leveraging our partners’ world-leading capabilities in technology, to enable sustainable, intelligent and efficient physical infrastructure,” said Olivia Steedman, a senior managing director, who leads the pension fund’s Teachers’ Innovation Platform.

Sidewalk Labs and Google parent Alphabet

A reference to the website of Sidewalk Labs shows it is designing a district in Toronto’s Eastern Waterfront called Sidewalk Toronto, that aims to make the city the global hub for urban innovation.

Sidewalk Toronto aims to be a climate-positive district that cuts greenhouse gases by 89%. The goal includes more than 75% of all trips by transit, walking or cycling. With 40% of its units available at below-market rates, the project will create an affordable, inclusive community. Planners have also set the project in an ecosystem that will encourage further urban innovation.

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