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Kevin Conroy

Founder & President

Finite

February 8, 2022
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Ep 60: Kevin Conroy - President & Founder, Finite
00:00 / 01:04

Michael Crabb
Welcome to another episode of Energy Impact podcast. We have a great guest today, Kevin Conroy, President and Founder at Finite. Kevin, great to have you on.

Kevin Conroy
Thanks for having me.

Michael Crabb
Before we get into what you're working on now, which is really interesting, tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from? And how did you end up in finance?

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, absolutely. So, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, just kind of right in the middle of the country. I say that, because some people on the coast always ask, Where are we? But you know, the heart of the Midwest. And really, at least part of how I got into what I'm doing now stems back to finance, which is something I started getting into way back in the day in kind of third grade. I started- I discovered the stock market and started buying stocks, which-

Michael Crabb
Third grade.

Kevin Conroy
Third grade, yeah.

Michael Crabb
You're weren't gonna buy baseball cards or candy. You wanted to buy a company.

Kevin Conroy
Well, at least a piece of them and certainly took a very rudimentary approach to it. My first stock purchases were HP and that was because we had an HP computer. And then I bought an iPod and I bought Apple stock. And then I bought the iPod on eBay, so I bought eBay stock. And so very kind of basic strategy, but as luck would have it, worked out pretty well. Those three companies all did incredibly well. And it gave me a really good experience in finance early on. And since then, it's kind of been booming. And I tell people, now it's actually not that rare to have an eight-year old, 10-year old buying and selling stocks. At the time, I had to set up a brokerage account with my grandparents' broker, who was a person. I had to call them whenever I wanted to make a trade and it costs 50 bucks to buy and $50 to sell. So when you're only transacting with a few hundred dollars, you become a long term investor by default.

Michael Crabb
Pretty big there, right? I guess you just saw sort of what was there? Did you have to look at the paper to find prices?

Kevin Conroy
Yeah.

Michael Crabb
Okay.

Kevin Conroy
That's exactly right. Yahoo Finance I think started maybe to come about midway through. But yeah, I'd go through a Wall Street Journal and back of the section scan. And that is not a good way to decide what to buy and sell. It's almost always outdated information. But yeah, started there and really dug more and more into finance. I probably wouldn't say through grade school, but in high school started to get more into it. I was in high school during the recession, so I had an interesting vantage point, because I wasn't experiencing it really firsthand. My parents weren't in finance. I wasn't in finance. I just- I was really curious about it and so I got to watch a lot of what was happening without experiencing a lot of the downside that most people saw.

Michael Crabb
It sounds like your portfolio is relatively protected at the time, which is good.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah. Well, it was- I don't think I sold any... the only thing I didn't buy was Ford. And when it was trading at like $1, I remember my Economics professor was like- he knew I trade stocks and we would trade ideas and $1 just seemed too low. I was like, That doesn't seem right, I'm not gonna buy it. Kind of felt a little like a scam to me and I didn't do it. That would have been a good trade.

Michael Crabb
Like what series is this? This is a subordinate share or something.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah. Well, and ironically - and this will get into where I went - but 10 years later I ended up closing out the restructuring of Chrysler when I was at JPMorgan, which- closing it out, there was a- they had a plant in St. Louis that I was very familiar with. It was about 10 minutes from my house that they- that was kind of one of the last assets left. And so my boss pulled me into it. Literally, it was kind of a gift from her just to say, Well, this is kind of, you can kind of understand this from just a local historical perspective. So yeah, I was reminded when we were finishing out that restructuring that Ford could have had a very similar feat. But yeah, so jumping the gun a little bit. I ended up going to Fordham University in New York. Fordham is a great school, great kind of university on its own, but my primary reason for going was finance. I wanted to be close to New York. I wanted to be close to the city.

Kevin Conroy
Be in the action, which- that forum, there are kind of two actions. One, you're in the middle of the Bronx, which there's a lot of action in the Bronx. And then the second is, yeah, you're about a 20-minute train ride into the city which enabled me to do finance, really to kind of buy my sophomore year into freshman year. I started first with an unpaid internship at UBS and then lucked into - or I would call it maybe a little luck and hard work - but I ended up getting a summer internship as a sophomore, which is kind of rare. And I went to the family office of the former head of JPMorgan's investment bank, so kind of a titan of Wall Street partner Goldman Sachs. I mean, just an old school Wall Street guy. And got to see I would say fairly high above my paygrade how a lot of stuff on Wall Street happened.

Michael Crabb
Be in the action.

Michael Crabb
Any surprises? Anything- I mean, you've sort of been interested in the industry for a really long time. Was there anything you were like, Huh, I can't believe it's done that way.

Kevin Conroy
It was hard for me to believe at that time how much money really was in the world. I mean, I didn't grow up with a terrible upbringing, right, but I also didn't grow up with just gobs of money floating around. And that office was in the heart of Midtown - it's actually right across the street from JPMorgan - and just that whole ecosystem there and how much happens in a 10-block radius? Yeah, that was eye opening for sure.

Michael Crabb
Which is maybe good foreshadowing to sort of the scale of the energy transition, right? The number of zeros become very hard, if not impossible, to comprehend.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, I'm not sure even people that deal with a lot of money comprehend trillions, what $100 trillion is right. You can kind of comprehend, I think, 100 billion. Well, like that's- some people have that much money. And you can think about ways to invest in and use that money. 100 trillion is an absurd amount of money.

Michael Crabb
It's crazy. It's crazy. So you had this appreciation for scale. You had this sort of really cool opportunity to see- I mean, at this point, you'd seen more of the ecosystem than many people see in their entire lives. Super cool. So where did you- where did that drive you then here post undergrad?

Kevin Conroy
I ended up getting a job at JPMorgan in their investment bank doing restructuring. Investment bank is generally split up in industry silos, so you work on a propose or media telecom. I didn't have a particular passion for any one industry. I really wanted to get into a piece of finance. And so I found a really interesting group within the bank that did restructuring and they operated across industry. The function of that group was really to, say any client of the bank that we had lent money to, our group would manage their process of distress. So as they started experiencing distress, we'd become their coverage banker. And then through bankruptcy that happened or just through distress and then out of distress as they started to recover. Very few companies at that scale actually get liquidated. Most of the companies actually did re-emerge from their distress and we ended up getting to usually own a piece of that company. I don't know if we're the only, but one of the few groups in the investment bank that actually had an equity portfolio we were managing that was about a billion dollars of just post-restructured companies.

Michael Crabb
Maybe to give the scale sort of for listeners, distress meaning balance sheet liabilities, capital stack or otherwise greater than sort of the ongoing value of the business. So you started with the debt lens and then to the extent you can convert into equity to try to recover long term, that was sort of that transition, right? And so you were really managing JPMorgan's own book and not sort of on behalf of other syndicated lenders or maybe a little bit of both.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, that's exactly right. We would handle the deals we were agent on, so the ones we had kind of set up. And it was interesting, because we had to stick around. You ended up in a position almost in the middle between distressed hedge funds and creditors, which are generally very aggressive investors. And the company who's sitting there saying, Whoa, this is not what we signed up for. I am generally very kind of calm and just low-key person. I think that came through as one of my best attributes in that job of not letting those participants ruffle- even as a young- I mean, it was just an analyst, right, as a young person.

Michael Crabb
And how early would you get involved then? I mean, there's some sort of line of sight to distress here and you can start balancing those relationships and personalities probably pretty early.

Kevin Conroy
Yes and no. In a planned restructuring, yes. I mean, people come and go, but you kind of know what's going to happen. There's a whole other segment called a "fallen angel," which is when an investment grade company goes into distress kind of in a day, right? I mean, it could be more than that, but very unexpected. And those were the ones actually where a lot of times it would be something like an environmental issue or fraud. It is something that was not good that the company had done and probably maybe knew about, maybe it didn't, but it now became an issue.

Michael Crabb
I guess that, yeah, I could probably rephrase as on or off balance sheet.

Kevin Conroy
So yeah, those would happen. And that's when you would- I remember showing up one Monday morning and my VP had been in the office all weekend and I was kind of like, I didn't see you here. He had been there all night. I had been there on Saturday and early Sunday. He had been there all Sunday. What happened? And you know, a company in Canada that we had lent money to, they had a- their dam broke. And the dam was, they were doing mining. So it was not a good dam to break. It caused a lot of issues. And that was a problem first thing Monday morning. Things like that would happen as well. But I ended up getting, I think, really interesting exposure to companies, right? I mean, you're dealing with a company, you're looking at their operations, you're understanding where there's value, where there's not. And what that led me to was two things: one, saying I like finance, but I do want to get a company, and two, where is kind of a company that's going up? And I didn't mind the down, but I wanted to experience it. And I forget the guy's name, someone advised me that was kind of senior in restructuring, get experience on the upside, too. Because that'll help you if you want to come back to restructuring and I said, That makes sense to me. And that's really when I kind of fell into renewable energy.

Michael Crabb
Transitioning a couple of different ways. You were switching focus, kind of had to pick an industry, right. Were there a couple industries that were interesting to you or renewables really was sort of a clear winner?

Kevin Conroy
No, renewables wasn't even on my radar. I mean, at the time and when I left JPMorgan, with the exception of one person, everyone said it was a bad idea to go into renewable energy. And they were actually right in the short term. I'll get to that in a second.

Michael Crabb
What year was this roughly?

Kevin Conroy
This was 2016. So what happened-

Michael Crabb
The oil price crash, right?

Kevin Conroy
Well, you had Sun Edison.

Michael Crabb
Yeah, yeah.

Kevin Conroy
So I- a lot of kind of people when they leave banking to work with headhunters. When I was working with a headhunter I said, Look, I want to go to a private equity shop that is buying these companies as they're emerging and helping them rebuild on the upside. I think that'd be a cool way to kind of manage what I'm looking for. And one of them came in a month later and said, Hey, it's not exactly what you asked for, but I think it could work. And they kind of- the company was Dividend Solar, which at the time was, I think I was number seven. So they were kind of entering that phase of- they were exiting the phase of we have an idea, we want to build kind of our initial product, entering the phase of people are actually using it now. And the founder of that company, Eric White, was also a former banker. He had brought in this headhunter to say, Look, we need a couple bankers. They can work 80, 90, 100-hour weeks, they're not gonna complain about it and we need that right now. So I met with Eric went out to San Francisco one Saturday, and met with the team and said, It's kind of interesting. I mean, at the time, they were booming. They had some good deals that they thought they were going to close. And I thought, Well, this could be an interesting company to join. I then started looking at solar and kind of recognizing how much it made sense just from a cost perspective for consumers, which is what Dividend did, right? They lent to consumers to go solar on their home.

Michael Crabb
Yeah, so maybe talk through a little bit about that dividend business model, especially since you brought up Sun Edison at the same time. A little bit of a leap of faith.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, well, yeah. So it's kind of interesting. When I was making my decision, Sun Edison came out and said, We're gonna buy Vivint Solar. I saw that and thought, I gotta get out there. This industry is moving. Deals are getting done and this is a good time to join the industry

Michael Crabb
Consolidation time, right?

Kevin Conroy
Maybe. So what Dividend did - and does still, I mean, they're still six, seven years later, doing a good business - they worked with local installers and provided them a really easy way to offer their customers financing to go solar. Solar is about a $30,000 experience for a homeowner, almost always saves the homeowner money. But you had to go to the bank and you had to ask them for a loan. It was just a really clunky financing process. And so at the time, the market was 80 or 90% PPAs and leases. You had cash in there, too, so loans were really a small portion. That is, today, if you look at the numbers, it's almost exactly inverted. You have about 80% are loans. And so it's just a much-

Michael Crabb
Specialty lenders like Dividend getting more comfortable with the collateral and all that kind of stuff? And probably faster processing?

Kevin Conroy
I think it's a much better product for most homeowners, right? If you can take advantage of the tax credit, going solar is a great kind of household financial decision. You get a 26% investment tax credit, which is a lot of money. That's $7,000-8,000 for a household, which that's on top of the savings you're getting just on a monthly basis. A lot of the people we talk to maybe don't understand how big of an impact a $7,000 check is for most households and it's an important thing. When I looked at that market, it kind of was maybe the aha moment of, Wow, sustainability actually makes sense now, financially, which I care about. I didn't think anyone would go solar because it looks good on the roof. And so looking at that and saying, Alright, this is kind of, this can be an industry that grows over time and obviously has. I mean, today you see there's so much capital flowing into the space. That helps, but I think the underlying winners made the process very simple.

Michael Crabb
And so is this like net metering debate sort of time? There's been sort of an evolution of the household economics, which we would we don't have to get in too deep, but this is sort of that same time period.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, that's right, it happened. So two things- well, three things. I guess one, Sun Edison went bankrupt. A lot of people didn't realize, but Sun Edison had a lot of interactions with small- and mid-sized local installers and it really had a trickle effect on a lot of small businesses. That was incredibly detrimental in the industry. What happened there was not good, obviously restructurings. Everyone says, Well in hindsight, we wouldn't have done that. But it hurt the industry in a big way. It hurt dividend also. Yes, we went from growing really fast to just the industry stalling out. It was about three months after I joined. My restructuring experience helped just in keeping a level head, right. I mean, seeing all the turmoil that was happening, I think some people freaked out and left the industry. Having gone through restructurings, I kind of knew there was going to be opportunity that came from it. Ultimately Dividend emerged, I think very strongly and ramped their business up significantly. And so that happened. You had under the Obama administration the extension of the ITC, which helped, and then you did start having securitizations take place. We can talk about what's wrong with securitizations in general, but one of the great things about securitizations is it forces specialty lenders to make sure their assets are really good. I mean, they've got to basically take them public. And so that's what the industry started doing, at least in part. And that helped I think get a lot of capital comfortable. And where we are today, you have a ton of banks and credit unions in the space, because there's now robust performance history which they can rely on.

Michael Crabb
That makes a lot of sense. I'd love to get into the securitization discussion. It's probably for another podcast.

Kevin Conroy
Might be for the next time.

Michael Crabb
Yeah, there are those of us financers out there that love that. It's always funny to hear how timing impacts sort of the evolution of people's perspective. And so it's clearly some sort of major events in this quarter. And you thought you were coming on the way up and you got a little. But it sort of set you up for where you are today. So talk to us about the transition to kind of striking on your own where you saw that opportunity and where you are as a firm.

Kevin Conroy
Absolutely. I started Finite about two years ago. And the real focus was, okay, the industry in general has a lot of good assets. You have really high quality builders. And that's kind of a broad term, but you know, people that are actually building these assets. Institutional capital in general is kind of loving to deploy capital in the space. And yet, you still had this huge friction in between capital and builders. And as you kind of zoom in on each kind of silo builder you kind of have different friction, but in general, saw a ton of friction and didn't think that that was going to be solved with simply a piece of technology or layering on top of something else. So what we did, and one of the reasons that we started two years ago and are just now getting our first prize that is we basically did a ground up redesign of sustainable finance and saying how do we go all the way to the core and make it a seamless experience to invest into sustainability and candidly, just not trusting what currently was out there. I mean, looking at some of the companies that were doing sustainable investing, I think a lot of it has come to light in the last few years, but just didn't want to lean too heavily on some of those products. And so we built our own and what we ended up with was- and I gotta say, I listened to the podcast you did- or the team did with Juan from Energize and Juan's a great guy. He talks about the easy button for energy efficiency. That's what we created for sustainable finance. I mean, when you think about what Nest did for energy efficiency, people don't do energy audits on their home like that. You've got to make it something that in minutes someone can say, Alright, cool, I'm more efficient now. I'm sure I save a few bucks, but it was easy. For us, we saw people on sustainable finance, family offices in particular, taking years to figure out what to do after that divested. And really, I mean, only a few options. That's your kind of billion-dollar family office. You then go down into someone that's got $100,000 or even $1,000, there's no option for them.

Michael Crabb
Because a family office has - I'd push back a little bit - the family office has access to a number of these - you bring up Energize and Juan - the full scope of sort of the private capital market.

Kevin Conroy
Exactly.

Michael Crabb
And we can debate how each of those define sustainability. But it's really those retail investors that there's this sort of big gap, right?

Kevin Conroy
The family offices have really good access to private opportunities. And I think Energize just raised their second or third fund, $330 million. I'm sure that's going to be a great fund to invest in. They're a very smart team and they do create a lot of impact. And I think when you look at a family office, that Energize fund, I think the last fundraising they did, it maybe was two years ago, right? So you just don't have access to that fund every month or every day. You kind of have to wait for it which is why I think, to your point, over time they do have access to a lot of private opportunities. But it takes a lot of time. And actually, on the fixed income side, there's not a ton out there. There are a few options, but there aren't actually a ton of credit opportunities. What we saw was this huge unserved market, which was call it your retail, retail plus, and high net worth, but not billionaire family. And we wanted to write a product that looked and felt very similar to an ETF, but was not an ETF. We thought- we felt like those were fundamentally useless and what we have to do kind of over time was stability. I can defend the useless if we want, but-

Michael Crabb
I actually, this is my bias, I sort of appreciate that perspective. I guess if I were a better host, I'd play the other side. But I think in the interest of time, let's talk more about the solution instead of banging off some of our other ideas. But you're really solving access and liquidity, right? There are sort of two pillars. Not to put words in your mouth, but it strikes me as two pillars here to the solution.

Kevin Conroy
No, that's exactly right and not to overuse the ease of it. We wanted to make it so that an investor to come in about a minute and invest in this fund. They could do it every day if they wanted to. We also on the other side wanted to work directly with the builders. We didn't want people in between. And there are a lot of I call them toll takers in the industry, people that are in between doing this. We wanted to get that capital directly to work. And what that ends up doing is one, makes a lot of projects pencil that otherwise wouldn't have because they've got 10, 15% transaction cost, right? That's a- in a lot of places, that's the difference between a deal working and not. And so we felt if we could make a streamlined process where investor capital to builder was smooth and that pipe was clean, we could open up the market in a material way, while also providing what we expect to be a good return to our investors. I should caveat we can't promise returns and this isn't a- we're not offering anything here. But we didn't feel like anyone would invest if they didn't think there was an expectation of market or better returns.

Michael Crabb
Yeah, okay, so let's peel- there's a lot in there. Let's start with this sort of liquidity piece, because one of the really unique things here, it's sounding like you're investing directly in assets. It sounds like equity and or fixed income that you maybe kind of play the spectrum. So you can come in in a minute. Is it a daily redemption or a weekly? I mean, how do you sort of promise redemption kind of risk given the underlying asset?

Kevin Conroy
One, I'll just clarify a little bit, it's primarily fixed income, s credit. We're mainly focused on lending into these assets. And there are kind of reasons for that, but for solar in particular, we felt was most appropriate.

Michael Crabb
Can you share some of that?

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, so I'm not the guy that's gonna operate a solar plant. And in order to go out and actually build up a billion, billion dollar plus fund, you've got to be able to aggregate assets quickly, but also in a way that's rational and scalable. When we looked at it, lending into projects was a really good way to tell a builder, Do what you do really well, and an operator to say, Do what you do really well. We're going to help bring in more capital that helps you do your job really well. And so we just, we wanted to focus on we could do really well. And solar is kind of a localized business. I mean, you've got plants around the country. It's US focused, so around the US.

Michael Crabb
Is that fair? I mean, is the equity in these deals, are they really response- I know they're actually, but they're still outsourcing operations, right? Or maybe not.

Kevin Conroy
You're thinking probably larger scale than we're looking to do. We look in kind of that residential and then small and medium scale commercial. The biggest deal we would probably do would be a $10 million deal.

Michael Crabb
The small businesses have enough sort of turnover, cash on their balance sheet to put that equity. And I guess, to your point on the percentage on the capital stack here, how much this sort of debt ratio for these?

Kevin Conroy
In residential, it's 100%. You're usually doing 100% financing. Sometimes you're required to pay the ITC into the loan within 18 months, so that helps a little bit. But yeah, you're providing a lot of capital to a fairly high advance rate. And the small scale commercial, it's kind of like, it's really just a big residential deal in a lot of scenarios and so you've got to figure out how to underwrite that, but that the owner can take the ITC, it can be very valuable use of their rooftop or their parking garage. That's the kind of stuff we see a huge opportunity to bring a lot of capital into the space and can do it a lot better in general than I think banks and other participants.

Michael Crabb
Yeah. There's something to be said to building up the mousetrap at those cheque sizes, right? Okay, so talk a little bit about what these loans actually look like. What are the rates? How do those compare to kind of a mortgage rate, for example? Not to say- that's probably not the right risk-free rate comparison, but give us some color there.

Kevin Conroy
The risk-free rate is becoming kind of an interesting element.,

Michael Crabb
Another conversation for sure.

Kevin Conroy
I'll talk kind of what we're looking at, right? I mean, the market is anywhere from 2% up to probably 20% on it. We look to do deals in the five to 10% range. If a deal has- is looking for 3-4% capital, they can probably get it from a bank and it's a really good deal, meaning it's got, they're rated offtake and there's just- the risk adjusted there make sense for a bank. On the other end, a deal that's 15-16%, our view is either that's getting mispriced by kind of your traditional private capital or it's a really hairy deal that maybe shouldn't be getting done.

Michael Crabb
Talking about fixed income. That's wild, right?

Kevin Conroy
It's really high. And those deals, they happen. I mean, we've had investors say, Oh, we really like double digit returns. And I kind of tell him, You're in the best credit cycle we've seen in a long time. And no one has a crystal ball, but if you're getting 10-15% here, yeah, the low defaults. That works right now, but we want to be kind of in that safe range. We're not looking to do the hairiest deals in the market, so that's what we like to do.

Michael Crabb
But there are some areas, right? You're going from that three to four, your low end to your kind of mid?

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, absolutely. And with credit, there's- you assume there's going to be default. If you assume no defaults, you've probably never been in credit before. We underwrite to a certain default rate and we look to just have- we're looking at deals on the commercial side that commercial pace can be a good option. We can even do a second lien real estate secured deal where they've got a ton - maybe not a ton - but they've got enough equity in the real estate where we can feel comfortable, that on a downside scenario, we end up owning a piece of that and we're not relying on the cash flows of the business as much as thing. And then with solar across the spectrum, savings, right? If it doesn't make sense on an annual cash flow basis for the person paying the bill, they're probably going to default at some point. I mean, day one there might be really excited about their solar system, but over time, it's not a place we want to be operating. And candidly at this point, across the country I think most areas can make sense. There are still some areas of the country that don't, but rates keep going up. Panels, until the last few months, kept going down and so your install costs in general are really coming down.

Michael Crabb
There's a really interesting dynamic there with the distributed generation trend. The more people come off of the system, the higher everyone else's rates go. There are some interesting sort of trends. And maybe that's a good segue. Talk a little bit about how you see this evolving for your firm. You're focusing on solar, focusing on the US, you kind of have a specific niche. Are you just going to scale that? Maybe different geographies, different technologies? What's the- what are your thoughts?

Kevin Conroy
We touched on this a little bit, but the scale of the opportunity is massive. It's 100 trillion plus capital opportunity. We think that there's an opportunity to come in as a new player that's built specifically for sustainable investing and ramp up. We're starting solar. It's kind of my background directly from Dividend. But if you look at our team, we've brought on David Kretschmer. He managed the Anthem Insurance. He was CIO at Anthem Insurance where he managed about $30 billion, had nothing to do with sustainability. I mean, they might have had some in the portfolio, but his focus was on stable fixed income. And so we're really building the team and the product to be one that scales beyond just solar. As we go into new asset classes, we're really just not looking to take technology risk. Once that technology is proven, if there's capital needed - which there almost always is for sustainable infrastructure - we want to be a player in that flow of capital and deployment of capital.

Michael Crabb
Yeah, super interesting. Is there a technology or two that you're eyeing that- I mean, I guess the natural would be wind, but are there- I guess batteries maybe with the solar line. Hydrogen? What do you think?

Kevin Conroy
We can do batteries out of this fund if they're connected to a system, solar system. We kind of view that- at this point, if the solar system includes a battery in parts of the country, so even though the fund is solar specific, we wanted to include batteries. I think wind is just, it's inherently a large scale deal, right? And so the costs there are have been and continue to be very low for capital. And that's fine. I think banks do a really good job there and we likely cannot play in that space, because your yield will be like 3%. And we can't- I wouldn't add much value there either. I think that's built out enough. Some areas we're seeing, I mean, like two years ago you didn't see anything with forests and kind of forest pre-finance. That in the last 12 months has picked up. We've seen some interesting things with social bonds and people starting to actually go beyond just environmental and say, Well wait, what should we do socially as well? Two years ago there were zero social bonds. Maybe rounding down to zero, but very few bonds and now you've got- that's ramping up in a similar way, green bonds have. So when we look at that, we kind of say, Alright, are there opportunities there? I think vehicle electrification, there's going to be a lot of build out with charging stations and kind of infrastructure rebuild there which can be interesting. And energy efficiency, it's kind of boring, but there's a lot to be done there in retrofits. That's a huge value to the overall environment. And when it's not that exciting of stuff to do, sometimes it gets overlooked and energy efficiency, it's not as sexy as carbon capture. I get it, but there's a lot of capital that needs to go into that and it works today. So we like that. We like going into areas that work today and maybe you just don't have enough capital.

Michael Crabb
Interesting. That's a pretty broad- I mean, it's pretty broad array from forestry to- so how do you- it's kind of interesting. You sit in between this sort of investor demand for renewable products that you were talking about and also the businesses that are building the true customer demand. How do you sort of take that feedback to drive that next frontier?

Kevin Conroy
I think when we look at companies that are really working with the customers and building the products, if their balance sheeting anything, we want to help them not use their equity capital to build this infrastructure. I think one of the unique things we've built is, over time we can have an equity fund that invests in mid stage - we probably wouldn't go early stage. We have some really good investors, Powerhouse is one of them. They do an incredible job early stage investing. We'll let them keep doing that. We know they're better at it than we probably would be. But there are some late stage opportunities that I think we could put a fund around to help those companies beyond just the debt side. And over time we'd like to do that, but right now we want to come in and help them just on funding their projects with debt capital.

Michael Crabb
There's certainly quite a runway with the mandate you've set up here right in front of you. But yeah, there are a lot of zeros in 100 trillion, right.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, that's right. And I think the other- I think brands can be built in this industry that consumers can trust. At the end of the day, we want someone to be able to say, at least in theory - people should always read the fund docs - but in theory, be able to say, Yeah, I invest in this Finite fund. Maybe I didn't read it, but I trust they're going to do something good with sustainability. And they're going to take care and manage the money appropriately. At the end of the day, when we're brought in the market like we are, on the investor side people are entrusting us with their money. And in a lot of ways, it's gonna be the first time they're investing in sustainability, so we view it as a pretty high watermark to make sure they have a good experience. We don't want to be in a situation where people have just- they lose money and stability. That will leave them out of the industry for a long time.

Michael Crabb
Always comes down to people and trust in all these different experiences. And certainly a way to sort of come full circle to some of your early experience, right?

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, that's true.

Michael Crabb
Anything else that- that's sort of a great note to maybe wrap up. Anything else that we didn't talk about that you'd like to hit?

Kevin Conroy
Well, maybe I'll just hit a little bit on the fund. It's kind of- it can get in the weeds a little bit for people, but it's important.

Michael Crabb
Please, go ahead.

Kevin Conroy
You can buy into the fund daily. It's what's called an interval fund which means you can buy in daily. And then on a quarterly basis we repurchase shares of the fund, between five and 25% of the total fund. What we always tell people is, while you can buy in daily and we've made it very simple to buy in daily, think of this as medium, long-term investment. And unlike an ETF, other kind of publicly available funds, it's not traded. When you buy into our fund, the money goes into the fund. You buy a share. We're issuing you a share. You're not buying it from someone else. And the benefit there is dollars come into the fund on an ongoing basis and we go out and deploy those dollars on an ongoing basis. We think it's a really good way to have kind of that measurable impact where dollars can point to deployment.

Michael Crabb
And so that- instead of sort of a pure dividend, I guess that interest in principle you're receiving from the underlying assets is used to buy back shares. And then you-

Kevin Conroy
Not necessarily. I mean in theory it could be, but we do a quarterly distribution. Those interest kind of payments that are received by the fund would likely end up being distributed. You're basically getting the benefit of- some people invested in Mosaic Loans early on. They did a thing, it was kind of a peer to peer deal at first. You're kind of getting the benefit of that without having to buy one loan at a time. You're buying into a fund that's got a basket. If you're buying one loan at a time, you have a lot of kind of unlucky risk, right? Where you buy what looks like the same- I can buy the same loan as you on paper. I get a zero and you're sitting there saying, Yeah, I got 10% return, this was great. You're kinda like- you get a lot of concentration or it's gonna appear that we just- back to the point of people and trusting us, we don't want an experience where someone says, Wait, how come I got zero and Mike got 10%? So that's a couple of nuances on the fund. By the time this comes out, it should be live. We're in the final days here with the SEC, who I will say has been very good to work with. I feel like they get a lot of public scrutiny and I went in expecting that and they've been one of our best partners in helping get in this live. That's been really good. Yeah, it'll be- you can invest through the website. Maybe don't quote me on the 60 seconds, but 90 seconds. You should be able to do it under 90 seconds.

Michael Crabb
Under promise a little and over deliver.

Kevin Conroy
Yeah, that's right. That's right.

Michael Crabb
Awesome. Well, that's super exciting. Not every day we get an SEC shout out.

Kevin Conroy
I'm here for it. They've been good.

Michael Crabb
I mean, it is fair, right. Like it's not an easy job. It's not a fun or glamorous job, but it really speaks to how the community sort of rallies around all of these different ways to support that and fund that $100 trillion energy transition.

Kevin Conroy
And the thing that I think I've realized, the SEC sees a lot of stuff. They're very thoughtful in what they review and they're seeing a lot of ESG stuff that isn't really environmental or social. And I think we were probably at a good time to bring something that's genuinely environmentally important. And that helps, I think. That's a- it's hard work, but they've got to review all that stuff and make sure that there are no misrepresentation. So yeah, they've- SEC shout out I'm happy to give and we're excited that they're actually a partner in this fund.

Michael Crabb
Kevin, great way to kind of wrap it up. Super excited to see that go live and we'll share the link to the website and everything so people can click through to it.

Kevin Conroy
Awesome.

Michael Crabb
All the best.

Kevin Conroy
All right, well, thanks for having me.

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