Smart Infrastructure Managers (SIM), an asset manager focused on ‘smart’ infrastructure opportunities where digital and traditional infrastructure are converging, and Astarte Capital Partners (Astarte), a real assets-focused investment firm, are pleased to announce the formation of a new joint venture that will seek to invest more than US$1 billion in smart infrastructure opportunities across North America and Europe.

SIM was formed by seasoned infrastructure investor Rob Mah to assist private and public owners of global infrastructure in exploiting existing technology, and provide financing solutions which enhance the value of their infrastructure assets. Prior to forming SIM, Rob was executive vice president private investments for Alberta Investment Management Corporation (“AIMCo”), where he had oversight over infrastructure and timber assets. The team’s founders have experience in direct infrastructure ownership which gives them a valuable perspective in assessing opportunities in the smart infrastructure space.

The joint venture combines SIM’s investment experience and expertise with Astarte’s complementary ESG and asset management framework, to target value-add and core-plus smart infrastructure investment opportunities. The joint venture will have an initial focus on the transport and energy sectors, but can also target opportunities in water, waste, and social infrastructure. Applying the combined expertise of SIM and Astarte, the joint venture will seek to create value by optimising infrastructure assets with smart technology solutions and digital business models.

SIM and Astarte believe that global infrastructure is currently undergoing significant digital transformation, characterised by the integration of software, big data, and artificial intelligence into traditional infrastructure assets. Despite this, there remains a significant investment gap between physical and digital infrastructure, which SIM and Astarte believe presents new and compelling investment opportunities within the smart infrastructure space. The joint venture seeks to capitalise on these significant thematic tailwinds.

Supported by Astarte’s proprietary ESG framework, the joint venture will seek to develop ‘greener infrastructure’ by integrating ESG throughout the due diligence, investment, and asset management processes. Through the adoption of established technologies, the Joint Venture believes that these investments can contribute to the global battle against climate change by generating measurable ESG benefits ‒ including increased energy efficiency, reduced traffic congestion, and reduced levels of pollution. In particular, the joint venture is committed to supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Robert Mah, managing partner of Smart Infrastructure Managers, commented: “Smart Infrastructure Managers is excited to partner with Astarte, who we believe are true innovators in the private markets space, combining broad institutional reach, accretive in-house resources and commitment to sustainable investing. We share a mutual belief that the rapidly emerging smart infrastructure space represents a significant and transformational cross-over investment opportunity.”

Dr. Stavros Siokos, co-founder of Astarte Capital Partners, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with SIM to invest in such an exciting industry, where our complementary skills will help transform traditional infrastructure assets into those fit for future generations. Smart infrastructure is a growing area with vast potential, as well as an important driver of sustainability – with significant environmental, social, and governance benefits and best practices. We are confident that SIM’s infrastructure investing experience, and focus in this field, combined with our shared commitment to sustainable business practices and ESG, will allow the Joint Venture to capitalise on the unique opportunities this industry offers.”