What are the challenges faced when financing sustainable infrastructure projects? The scale and urgency of the transformation required to fight to fight climate change has never been more clear. In this episode hosted by Silicon Valley Bank (a Division of First Citizens Bank) Climate Tech & Sustainability SVP Maggie Wong, Banyan Infrastructure Head of Product Katie Gardner speaks on her unique background in mining engineering and how it informed her approach to problem-solving as a product manager. She describes Banyan’s mission to solve challenges around financing sustainable infrastructure projects through streamlining complex processes. The conversation explores opportunities and challenges in tackling climate change through technology and mobilizing capital for climate solutions.

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Show Notes

  1. Garner’s background in mining engineering and operations informed her collaborative approach to problem-solving as a PM.
  2. Banyan aims to simplify and accelerate the project financing process for sustainable infrastructure through purpose-built software.
  3. Translating complex finance processes into intuitive software presented challenges for a mission-driven startup.
  4. Refining customer profiles and adapting to changing needs was an ongoing learning process.
  5. Diversity and inclusion were core priorities in Banyan’s hiring and decision-making from the start.
  6. Tracking both environmental and social impact metrics is important for climate solutions.
  7. Recent US legislation provides billions for climate projects but managing funds responsibly requires support.
  8. Software can help non-profits effectively deploy new climate funding at scale.
  9. Climate change requires urgent action but also passion and team growth.
  10. Anyone can contribute to climate solutions by applying interests with a climate lens.
  11. Excellent communication skills are key for translating technical topics.
  12. Curiosity and passion for learning help ask questions that find connections.
  13. Focusing on customer workflows beyond headlines improves small impacts.
  14. Infrastructure challenges need diverse perspectives for equitable solutions.
  15. Early challenges included adapting processes without losing efficiencies.
  16. Hiring quickly grew the team but also required balancing work and training.
  17. Purpose-built software addresses niche finance industry needs and regulations.
  18. Recent climate funding creates both opportunities and responsibilities to deploy responsibly.
  19. Building flexibility while simplifying complexity in product design is an ongoing balance.
  20. Diverse teams perpetuate diverse, inclusive cultures and decision-making.

About the speaker
Katie Gardner Banyan Infrastructure, Group Product Manager Member

Kathryn (Katie) Gardner leads the product team at Banyan Infrastructure, an end-to-end software platform that is purpose-built to simplify, scale, and streamline sustainable infrastructure finance. She is passionate about climate solutions, primarily clean technology, renewable energy, and sustainability, and serves on the Wharton Energy Network as VP of Membership. Previously she worked as an underground mine engineer for Newmont Mining Corporation in Northeast Nevada. She is a JD/MBA graduate from the Wharton School and Penn Law and a Mining Engineering graduate of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. She is a professionally licensed mining engineer in the state of Nevada and has been admitted to The State Bar of California.

About the host
Maggie Wong Silicon Valley Bank, a Division of First Citizens Bank, Climate Tech & Sustainability SVP

Maggie Wong is an accomplished product management and capital markets leader with over 15 years of experience in driving product strategy, delivering global products, fundraising & capital allocation, and leading cross-functional teams. Outside of her role at Silicon Valley Bank to support New York / East Coast based climate tech companies and investors, she is also experienced in increasing program impact, growing community reach and implementing DEI initiatives at travel and fintech non-profits. Maggie is passionate about making a social impact for the next generation, tackling climate change and traveling. She is fluent in Mandarin and Cantonese and a beginner in Spanish.

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