Ransu Salovaara, CEO, Likvidi – Q&A

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Likvidi, the Finnish word for liquidity, is creating a new market that connects green finance with blockchain, a sector that, surprisingly, has received little publicity compared to other projects and earlier first generation ICOs.

In this Q&A he explains the huge opportunities for this meeting of money and technology and is convincing in his argument that Likvidi is about to transform the sector.

Q: Welcome to the Mob76 Outlook audience, Ransu, tell us what you’re trying to do for the planet 

Ransu: As we all know, climate change is a huge challenge for humankind. But what you maybe do not know is that the financial markets will play a major role in fixing this. 

Professional investors around the world will do two switches: 1. divest from the nasty stuff such as fossil fuels, unsustainable agriculture and internal compulsion engine based transportation 2. Have new investment thesis and/or mandates where sustainability is one of the key principles on investment decisions.  

In the sector of green finance, one of the main questions will be whether these investments really are green or are they just so called ‘greenwashing;? 

Here comes a real, future-proof user case for blockchain. We can use blockchain to store and track sustainability and financial data and this way create immutable track records for green instruments such as carbon credits and green bonds, which are the two fastest-growing sectors in green finance. 

This transparency is a crucial part of increasing investors’ trust in green investments and actually saving the world instead of just talking about it. 

Tell us more about the history of green finance 

Ransu: Green finance has been around for about 15 years, but the sector really got going about six years ago with the Paris Agreement. As almost 200 countries agreed on drastic measures towards sustainability, the market for green bonds and carbon credits got its first shake-up. 

Fake carbon credit and wishy-washy green bonds had to be replaced with something more solid. While the market indeed improved with more serious players coming in, better audits and reports, the past six years have still been a coming-of-age period for green finance. Now the market is ready for reen Finance 2.0. 

Green Finance 2.0 is all about going mainstream as a combination of increased investor demand (both retail and institutional), fintech/blockchain, improved regulatory frameworks and the market learning from the past mistakes.  

So what do you actually do?

Ransu: We do two things: 

  1. We work with farmers, landowner and managers around the world to turn their carbon capturing efforts into tokenized high-quality carbon credits that have all the crucial data attached to them offering the best possible transparency, auditing and tradability. These life-improving Carbon Credits (LiCC) will be soon available for individual and for companies who are looking to offset their carbon footprint.

  2. We also help utility size solar parks and wind farms to raise capital so that there will be more renewable energy available for everyone. The energy market will be more decentralized as cities, communities and even houses will have their own renewable energy sources and parties will trade electricity very efficiently 24/7. The green bonds that we issue will have all the sustainability data on blockchain and as they are digital assets, they are ready for DeFi as the market evolves. 

So are you a tech company?

Ransu: Yes, we are a green finance fintech company. Over the past year or so we have built an investment platform on Ethereum that is a unique combination of traditional finance market features and digital assets/securities management.

So, let’s talk more about carbon credits. What are they and what is innovative with your approach?

Ransu: A carbon credit represents the right to emit a measured amount of greenhouse gases (GHG). Carbon credits work as a certification that business or individual owning them is counterbalancing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) aka carbon footprint.

What we are offering is a tokenized version of an actual carbon-reducing credit. This means that we have worked with our network of partners such asforest owners and farmers who capture an increasing amount of carbon and turn those actually life-importing carbon credits to tokens. 

Why tokenization is important:     

Ransu: Carbon credit market has been somewhat shady in the past. It’s been hard to figure out if the credits are real and also there has been double spending issues. 

With the help of blockchain we can increase transparency and make sure the retired (offsetted) carbon credits can’t be resold anymore but they are “burned” as the cryptomarket likes to call it. 

Also, as the carbon credit market is growing it’s important that they are easily tradable that is what tokenization will do that.   

How about the energy markets? 

Ransu: One of the most important things that we can do for climate change is to move away from fossils. The future of the energy market is pretty much the same as the future of the financial markets: decentralisation

As we move to renewable energy,he energy market will be more based on smart grids and therefore be more accessible for the small players. Every electric car can play a part on smart grids.

For us, the first product is the Green Bond Launchpad. This all-in-one platform enables renewable energy projects and companies to raise money via green bonds faster and more cost efficiently. We can be up to 90% cheaper than the old way of issuing these debt instruments. We work with top notch third-party verifiers and administrators to make sure the green aspects are real. 

This year the global green bond market is up 39% and the estimate is that the total issuance will be about $375 billion US (Moody’s projection).    

What about DeFi?

Ransu: DeFi is very exciting for us as we are creating carbon credits and green bonds that are tokenized and transparent and therefore ready for the DeFi market. 

What needs to happen next is that the DeFi market expands to the real-world assets. MakerDAO has now had couple proposals on this as a USA based solar park funding and now the Sociate General’s $20M MakerDAO loan with bond tokens as collateral.   

https://www.coindesk.com/business/2021/09/30/societe-generale-applies-for-20m-makerdao-loan-using-bond-token-collateral/    

My guess is that we are about 1 year away from working with leading DeFi platforms to finance renewable projects that can pay 5-10% interest for green sector investors and have assets and power purchase agreements as collateral.  

Thank you, for sharing your vision with our audience. We look forward to seeing how your progress

Ransu: 
It was my pleasure, happy to add value

Prsnt raises $290K investment for gifting app

Brighton-based tech startup Prsnt has raised $290K in early funding to expand its gifting app that helps consumers celebrate friendships in an immediate and exciting new way.

Available on the App Store and Google Play Store, the company’s ‘mini-gifting concept involves sending affordable, meaningful gifts redeemable from shops, cafés, pubs or online retailers – all for the same price as a birthday card and a stamp.

Prsnt has partnered with more than 100 of the UK’s most-loved high-street brands, including  Costa Coffee, Amazon, The Body Shop, Nike, Deliveroo, Red Letter Days, All Bar One, Spotify and many more. This means that no matter who the recipient is, the gifted will be able to find a great gift for that special person.

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“What we’re trying to achieve is a modern way of gifting, removing all the bottlenecks in terms of hassle while also addressing sustainability. We achieve same-second delivery, so it’s perfect for a friend’s or family member’s birthday or you don’t want the delay of sending something in the post,” said ,” said Omid Moallemi, Co-Founder, Prsnt.

The app reminds users when their friends’ birthdays are, and lets them send a gift – perhaps a coffee or glass of wine – and a personal video message straight to their phone when they can’t be there with them in-person to celebrate.

Once the recipient has received their gift, they can redeem it from their local outlet or online, removing a huge geographical barrier to gift sending and receiving that currently exists for most people.

Prsnt Co-Founders Omid Moallemi and David Parr were working as Co-Directors of a marketing and design agency when they began developing Prsnt. They share a co- working space in Brighton’s North Laine with technology developer Hamish Page, marketeer Louis Wren, and IT specialist Dan Hamilton of Source 3 Media. The two teams joined forces to combine their diverse skill sets and build Prsnt in September 2019.

In March 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for the Prsnt team to pivot their efforts to developing the app full time. By June 2020, the app had received an initial round of seed investment and the final months of 2020 saw the app gain its initial test market through peer-to-peer referrals.

Likewise, if lockdown restrictions were to return, Prsnt has enormous potential for helping people stay connected with digital mini-gifts that can be redeemed from online retailers.

Admix Strengthens In-Play Leadership For The Americas

Marty Berman joins Admix as VP Sales US and LATAM

Marty

Admix, the pioneering In-Play advertising platform that bridges the gap between gaming and advertising, announces the appointment of senior advertising industry leader Marty Berman as VP of Sales for North America and LATAM.

Berman’s appointment signals the latest phase of Admix’s 2021 US growth strategy, which will see the experienced teambuilder spearhead a major talent acquisition drive across the US, with Q3 and Q4 hires planned for New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Chicago native will work closely with Michael Silberberg, Admix’s New York-based VP of Global Partnerships.

He joins Admix with over two decades of media and advertising industry experience, having held senior leadership roles at global organizations such as InMobi, Integrate Marketing, NBC Internet, Triad and Monster, with key accounts including American Family Insurance, United Airlines, GMC and Progressive Insurance.

The gaming industry is at a tipping point following the change in consumer habits accelerated by Covid-19, which accelerated gaming’s mainstream cultural awareness and hypergrowth.

Consumers now spend more time gaming than they do on social media, creating both an opportunity and a challenge for brands to reach the three billion active gamers globally given the intrusiveness of many gaming advertising formats. Admix’s proprietary rendering technology has been engineered from the ground up, to insert demanding ad creatives into any 3D environment.

Marty Berman, VP Sales for North America and LATAM, commented:

“As demand increases exponentially to buy gaming inventory programmatically, Admix is in the lead position to deliver a solution to the Northern America and LATAM markets that solve the major barriers of scale to reach this elusive audience. Reaching the gaming audience via In Play media will continue to grow rapidly given its non-intrusive nature and the ability to automate the process programmatically, properly target, measure and prove ROI.”

Announcing the hire, Samuel Huber, CEO at Admix, commented:

“ Marty is a critical hire who will help Admix communicate the significant benefits of In-Play advertising, and he will also be instrumental in building our boots on-the-ground team across the East Coast, West Coast and Midwest.”

Over the last year, Admix has experienced hypergrowth with an 800% revenue increase driven by unprecedented inbound and direct sales, and expects to double in size from 40 to 100 staff this year.

Pension carbon emissions are a national scandal

Nearly 69% of adults are worried their company pension is investing in businesses that are contributing to climate change

pension

Research from Cushon, a FinTech workplace savings disrupter, has found that a staggering 99.5% of the population have no idea about the scale of carbon emitted as a result of their pension’s investments.

When coupled with the fact that each average UK pension pot finances the CO2 equivalent of nine family cars, this lack of awareness is a ‘national scandal’.

According to Cushon’s recent research, more than eight in ten (84%) people are concerned about climate change and 69% are specifically worried that their company pension could be investing in businesses that are contributing to climate change.

In 1995, the average carbon emissions per capita in the UK were 9.3 tonnes. Over the last 25 years the population has actively managed to reduce this output to 5.9 tonnes, yet the way people invest their pension pots remains relatively unchanged and finances nearly four times our personal emissions.

Choosing to use a climate-friendly pension is minimal effort and saves the CO2 equivalent of 27 years’ of recycling each year.

With £2.2 trillion of assets held by pensions, and 62% of the population saying that they would engage more with their pension if they knew their money was making a positive impact on climate change, this exposes a massive missed opportunity for the UK to simultaneously do good for the planet and encourage healthier saving habits for retirement.

Climate change and savings habits are inextricably linked, and the pension sector’s part in this is a considerable, if poorly understood, part of the equation. In fact, each pension pot in the UK finances an average of 23 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year[6] through its investments.  Yet, only a tiny fraction of the population is aware of this.

Responding to this issue, Cushon recently launched a world first Net Zero Now pension. In doing so, their members are actively contributing towards slowing climate change and a 1.5 degree target. The fund has a management fee of just 0.15%, while offering highly competitive returns without sacrificing performance.

Responding to the Cushon research, Baroness Ros Altmann CBE, former UK Pension Minister, said: “It is about time we put people’s pension savings to good use in the battle to protect our planet and knowing their money can help long term sustainability will encourage more people to feel proud of their pensions.

In-Play Report from Admix Says Ads Will Rock 2021

in-play

In-play advertising pioneer Admix has released a revealing report showing the state of in-play ads that are transforming the advertising industry under lockdown and beyond.

In-play is disrupting traditional advertising models within games where ad units can be displayed directly within a game’s environment. From billboards in endless runners to large screens in stadiums, in-play’s non-intrusive nature is adding to the gaming experience, not detracting from it.

In the report, premium mobile game developers ranging from industry titans to emerging studios such as Peaksel have all reported an increased interest in the in-play advertising model.

To find out more about in-play advertising or to read the full report, please click here.

The total surveyed partners combined have amassed billions of downloads across all games and more than three billion downloads across Android and iOS. The sample included 80 respondents including eight from Pocket Gamer’s list of Top 50 Global Studios.

Extra revenue

New privacy regulations, mainly spearheaded by Apple removing the IDFA, have created huge uncertainty with publishers. Without the IDFA, the lack of attribution measurements could result in a drop in CPMs, which publishers rely on to monetise.

As a result, publishers have been looking at alternative solutions to mitigate a potential revenue drop. In-play advertising emerges as a top contender for additional revenue, providing brand spend less susceptible to be affected by the lack of IDFA.

Player first

Another quality of in-play and gamer-first advertising is an uninterrupted and undisturbed experience for gamers. When questioning respondents on how their players have reacted to in-play ads, a majority said that players are entirely unaffected would have been a positive result.

In reality, 93% of players felt no negative impact of in-play ads in their games, and more than a third of players loved having them in the game. This is a fundamental change as more games adopt this ad format globally.

Hypercasual games leading the trend

The nature of ad placements appearing in game scenes goes across all genres, not least sports and racing games environments where ad placements are especially natural and non-intrusive.

But there is more. The fastest-growing developer segment globally is most interested in the in-play model. The format is a revenue-generating way for studios to increase their impressions per session in a player-friendly way, which integrates perfectly with hypercasual’s typical monetisation strategy.

Most exciting ad format of 2021

This report also looks forward to the future of in-play, asking a variety of questions about how developers intend to use it. Almost every developer questioned reported that they plan to use more in-play ads (94%) with no developers planning to use fewer.

The most powerful result for in-play, however, came from asking developers what format they’re most excited about in 2021. In-Play was the winner, with rewarded video coming in second, and interstitial video following with a distant third.

“It’s fantastic to see such an epic shift in attention and positive sentiment to our new revenue stream. We have spent the last few years developing the technology to scale and support this new monetisation format, and now it’s really starting to pay off for our developers,” said Sam Huber, Admix CEO.

The report follows Admix’s impressive start to 2021 making two key hires from Google and Spotify to expand its operations in the US and Europe while Forbes recently invited Huber to join the Forbes Council as a thought-leader on games and Advertising.