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  • Writer's pictureDavid Connolly

Green Tech Could Create The First Trillionaire

Updated: May 27, 2021

Big tech has ignored green tech, but make no mistake: The world’s first trillionaire could well come from the green tech sector.

And right now, while the only clear front-runners are Elon Musk--already the world’s richest person--and Bill Gates, the world’s second, the biggest redistribution of capital is probably still coming …

It’s opening up massive new opportunities for the next round of high-profile green-tech entrepreneurs, from Facedrive’s (TSX.V:FD) Sayan Navaratnam and Plug Power’s (NASDAQ:PLUG) Andrew J. Marsh to Blink Charging’s (NASDAQ:BLNK) Michal D. Farkas and Fisker’s (NYSE:FSR) automotive design legend, Henrik Fisker.

Everyone knows it.

The New York Times’ veteran tech journalist, Kara Swisher, is 100% certain: “The world’s first trillionaire will be a green-tech entrepreneur. That’s trillionaire. With a ‘T’.”

Billionaire VC Chamath Palihapitiya knows it, too.

In an interview with CNBC, this former Facebook exec who left to found the Social Capital venture firm, said: “The world’s richest person should be somebody that’s fixing or fighting climate change.”

While others are fixated on immediate returns, Palihapitiya is fixated on a lucrative future.

And now, two Silicon Valleys--the original and the Canadian “Tech Triangle” that is aiming to compete with California’s version--are preparing to turn North America into the Saudi Arabia of clean energy.

Tesla, for one, isn’t just the world’s biggest EV manufacturer; or even the world’s biggest car company right now.

It’s a distributed energy company that also makes batteries, solar panels and the Powerwall. They aren’t just pumping out electric vehicles. “They are figuring out how to harvest energy, how to store it, and then how to use it to allow humans to be productive," notes Palihapitiya.

It’s certainly becoming easier to imagine Elon Musk as the world’s first trillionaire.

But the rest of the green-tech energy crew have the financial aspects of climate change on their mind, and this is where investors need to be looking for future returns.

So, Tesla isn’t just a car company. Nor is Facedrive (TSXV:FD,OTC:FDVRF) just a carbon-offset ride-hailing platform, even if that was its flagship vertical. It’s a force for change.

Nor is PlugPower just another battery company. It’s developing hydrogen fuel cell systems to replace conventional batteries in equipment and vehicles powered by electricity.

Likewise, BLNK isn’t just another extension cord, so to speak, for electric vehicles. It’s arguably a major EV missing link--and an explosive one.

And Facedrive goes beyond this even with multiple verticals potential.

Facedrive, one of the most exciting companies to come out of Canada’s rapidly rising “Silicon Valley” pioneered carbon-offset ride-sharing in 2019, when the giants in this segment were busy ignoring climate change and butting heads with local authorities all around the world.

It was the first to offer customers the choice of an EV, gas powered or hybrid ride, and now it’s expanding into the United States with plans for Western Europe. It was also the first to take the far more sustainable approach of working with local authorities, such as by planting trees to offset carbon with the City of Toronto, rather than against them.

But that was just the opening salvo …

It’s hit the carbon-offset food delivery segment just as hard, launching with the acquisition of Foodora from one of the world’s most reputable food delivery companies: Delivery Hero.

And its most recent acquisition of Washington, D.C.-based Steer gives it a solid presence in the United States … but it’s much bigger than that: Steer is an EV subscription company that plans to disrupt the auto industry in two very important ways. First, it intends to get many more people into EVs by offering them an on-demand virtual showroom of cars. Second, it fully plans to revolutionize the way we view car ownership. How? By getting people into an entire lineup of EVs that are delivered to their door at the swipe of a finger by a super smooth-running concierge app that takes all the hassle out of owning a car, including insurance and maintenance.

It’s targeting a massive generation of millennials who are much more likely to support it …

A generation that will dictate what happens next with the auto industry, and how it all ties in to climate change.

While a global pandemic and a major shift to remote work have lured millennials back into car ownership, don’t expect it to be the same as years gone by. Numerous studies have shown millenials value “access” to a private car over ownership, and they want it on-demand in a process that is as easy as the click of a button. And they overwhelmingly value EVs over conventional cars.

That’s why Facedrive stock is up over 200% in a month, and over 2200% since its launch.

That’s also why PLUG is up over 100% YTD.

And why BLNK has seen gains of over 2300% in 12 months.

These are the innovators of our present …

And the green tech millionaires, billionaires and possibly trillionaires of our future.

They are the disruptors or understand what is dictating the market. And they understand it from a financial perspective.

Even the new King of Wall Street, BlackRock, is convinced that big money is going to the innovators who understand climate change and green tech. The innovators who understand this financially.

Big money is already refocusing on companies with real sustainability, says BlackRock CEO Larry Find. And “the tectonic shift we are seeing will accelerate further”.

“More and more people do understand that climate risk is investment risk. ...When finance really understands a problem, we take that future problem and bring it forward. That’s what we saw in 2020, and what we’re seeing now,” Fink said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The Race Is Already Underway

TSLA (NASDAQ:TSLA) is without a doubt one of the hottest stocks on Wall Street. As one of the world’s most exciting -and important- car makers, it has made going green a must in this incredibly competitive industry. Its modern design has become the standard. You would have to go out of your way to not see a Tesla when walking around major cities like San Francisco and Hong Kong.

Elon Musk, or Papa Musk as he is lovingly called on Reddit’s Wall Street Bets, had his eye on prize long before the green energy hype started building. In fact, he released the first Tesla Roadster back in 2008, making electric vehicles desirable when people were laughing at first-gen electric vehicles. Since then, Tesla’s stock has skyrocketed by over 14,000%.

In addition to producing one of the most desirable electric vehicles on the market, Tesla is ramping up its solar game, as well. Tesla’s Solar Roof project aims to change the way houses function. It replaces traditional roofs with stronger, and arguably more aesthetically pleasing, solar panels that can power your entire home. It also comes in as the lowest-cost-per-watt solar option in the American market.

Tesla is leading the charge into a green future, and nothing can stop it. Elon Musk had a brief stint as the world’s richest man, but he could be returning to that position in no time, and perhaps even be the world’s first trillionaire if he plays his cards right.

XPeng Motors (NYSE:XPEV) may be fresh on the scene in the Chinese electric vehicle boom, but is looking to follow in its American cousin’s footsteps. Though it only recently went public in the U.S., it’s already taken the market by storm. Riding on the coattails of the success of Tesla and NIO, it has carved out its own demand, especially among the younger generation of traders looking for the next big company to blow. Since its NYSE debut in August, the ambitious electric vehicle company has risen significantly thanks to its promising financials and growing demand for its stylish vehicles.

And retail investors aren’t the only ones showing interest in this EV newcomer. Xpeng has also garnered a ton of interest from Big Money. Earlier in 2020 the company raised over half a billion dollars from giants like Aspex, Coatue, Hillhouse Capital and Sequoia Capital China. Recently, Xpeng has even secured another $400 million from heavy hitters such as Alibaba, Qatar Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala.

As the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, newcomers like Xpeng provide an excellent opportunity for investors to jump on this undeniable trend even if the missed out on Tesla’s meteoric rise to glory.

Automakers aren’t the only ones benefitting from the electric vehicle hype, either. Billionaires couldn’t keep their hands off of Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) last year, with giant BlackRock’s Larry Fink piling in heavily, among other heavy hitters. Why? Partly because Plug Power is already providing its hydrogen-powered tech solutions to big-name retailers, but overall, because the green revolution is clearly happening and unfolding as we speak. It helps that Plug's full-year guidance implies year-on-year sales growth of around 35%, even if profit won’t come for a while.

Morgan Stanley's Stephen Byrd believes green hydrogen will become economically viable quicker than investors appreciate saying Plug Power's deal with Apex Clean Energy to develop a green hydrogen network using wind power offers a chance to tap into "very low cost" renewable power and helps accelerate the shift to clean energy. Plug has a goal for over 50% of its hydrogen supplies to be generated from renewable resources by 2024.

The company has also just announced a partnership with Universal Hydrogen to build a commercially-viable hydrogen fuel cell-based propulsion system designed to power commercial regional aircraft. The initiative will help bring Plug's proven hydrogen ProGen fuel cell technology to new markets.

FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) is another alternative fuel stock that has turned heads on Wall Street. Up over 1200% since February 2020, FuelCell has been one of the biggest winners over the election season, with President Biden campaigning for a carbon-free America.

In fact, analysts even estimate the U.S. could spend as much as $1.7 trillion on clean energy initiatives over the next 10 years. And that’s great news for companies like Blink, Plug and FuelCell.

Though many expected FuelCell to return to earth in the short-term, it has continued to climb. And its long-term trajectory is solid. It has spent years building a patent moat and developing solutions that will tie into the energy transition perfectly. With more and more money piling into the clean technology industry, FuelCell is well positioned to climb even higher.

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is going above and beyond in its emissions goals, aiming to be carbon neutral in the next ten years. A feat that will not be an easy task for such a massive technology corporation. Additionally, Microsoft has also pioneered new solutions to aid other companies in curbing their emissions as well.

Bill Gates’ tech giant has made numerous investments in clean energy across the globe. From Ohio to the Netherlands, Microsoft is pouring millions into solar and wind projects to not only help reduce its own carbon footprint, but also help neighboring communities do the same.

In addition to its investments and green operations, Microsoft is also getting into the auto-game. Microsoft’s Azure cloud-based infrastructure and edge computing is going to be pivotal in this new industry. Not only will it allow automakers to analyze data and optimize their products, it will give them the opportunity to conduct advanced tests and simulations to fine-tune their software in risk-free environments. It’s even partnering with leaders in the auto industry such as Renault and Audi.

Mark Everest, Information Systems Development Manager, Renault Sport Formula One Team noted, “There are so many factors that are constantly changing and can affect race strategy: track temperature, tire performance, what the other drivers are doing. Simulation helps us quickly understand how to configure the car for a particular track."

Canada’s Silicon Valley is joining the ESG race, too. Shopify Inc (TSX:SHOP) Canada’s own e-commerce giant helps users build their own online stores. It has huge clients – everyone from Tesla to Budweiser are on board. And the company is beloved by millennial investors.

In addition to its revolutionary approach on e-commerce, Shopify is playing an increasingly active role in creating a greener tomorrow. It has committed to spending at least $5 million annually to help combat climate change. It’s even making cuts throughout its own operations, decommissioning its data centers and sourcing renewable power for its buildings.

Telus Corporation’s (TSE:T) long-standing commitment to putting its customers first fuels every aspect of its business, has had it a definitive leader in Canada. In fact, Telus Health is one of the country’s biggest healthcare IT providers. And it’s done so with sustainability in focus.

Driven by its goal to connect all Canadians for good, it has contributed over $55 in community giving, reduced emissions by 31% and has four consecutive years on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index.

Shaw Communications Inc (TSE:SJR.B) is one of Canada’s leading telecom infrastructure and cloud service providers. Its dominance in Canada’s telecom sector means that if any internet-based services want to operate, they’ll likely be utilizing the company’s infrastructure. After all, without telecoms, these TaaS companies would not be able to operate. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing when you consider Shaw’s sustainability goals. In fact, it is one of the biggest customers of Bullfrog Power which sources its electricity from a blend of wind energy and hydropower.

Magna International (TSX:MG) is a great way to gain exposure to the explosive EV and ESG market without betting big on one of the new hot stocks tearing up among the millennials right now. The 63-year-old Canadian manufacturing giant provides mobility technology for automakers of all types. From veteran Detroit automakers like GM and Ford to luxury brands like BMW and Tesla, Magna is a key supplier to all of them.

Like Magna, Westport Fuel Systems (TSX:WPRT) is another major hardware and tech provider in the auto-industry. It builds products to help the transportation industry reduce their carbon footprint. In particular, it provides systems for less impactful fuels, such as natural gas. In North America alone, there are over 225,000 natural gas vehicles. But that shies in comparison to the global 22.5 million natural gas vehicles globally, which means the company still has a ton of room to grow.

Author: Felix Williams for

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