- Digital platform Co-Axis to pioneer new pathways for giving, financing, collaboration, and community building for investors, philanthropists, corporates, fintechs, and impact ecosystem actors to accelerate impact
- Platform to feature global impact opportunities tackling environmental and social challenges, and innovative financial instruments such as recoverable grants and blended finance structures to catalyse capital and amplify impact per dollar
- Impact measurement and management to be cornerstone of Co-Axis
- Industry-wide platform to be developed in phases, with first phase ready in the first half of 2024
Singapore, 15 September 2023 – Temasek Trust and DBS Foundation announced a strategic partnership at the 3rd Philanthropy Asia Summit to launch Co-Axis, the first digital catalytic capital marketplace that mobilises private investments towards solutions that have the potential to tackle the world’s environmental and social challenges. This is an industry-wide platform which will be developed in phases, with the first phase to be launched in the first half of 2024.
Co-Axis is a technology-based platform that will connect funders, such as family offices, corporate entities, and private foundations to businesses for impact or social enterprises, charitable organisations, and blended finance projects to pursue impact-focused opportunities. More financial institutions and industry actors are expected to join the initiative over time.
Supporting & Scaling Global Impact Opportunities
In the first phase, Co-Axis will offer a curated set of impact opportunities in the social and environmental spaces. It will support innovators, enterprises, fintechs, and charitable organisations with strong impact potential but are early stage or catalytic in nature.
Through Co-Axis, accredited philanthropists and high net worth individuals can provide funding through a range of financial instruments, from donations to recoverable grants and embedded instruments. This will allow any returns to be recycled back to impact opportunities in the future, thus amplifying the impact of the initial contribution. In the longer term, Co-Axis will pioneer more innovative financial offerings such as concessional securities and other blended finance structures.
Co-Axis will also act as a hub from which communities can emerge to share best practices and key learnings through innovative financing, networking, education, and training. Co-Axis aims to bring together key actors and create a community focused on driving positive environmental and social impact. The platform will build a network of philanthropists, development finance institutions, investors, and corporates to explore new mechanisms for philanthropy.
“Today’s urgent challenges demand bold collective action and innovation. Temasek Trust is glad to partner with DBS Foundation and others from across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to develop Co-Axis, the first of its kind in the market. Co-Axis will catalyse impact across the spectrum of capital and build a vibrant, impact-focused community of changemakers. Temasek Trust will continue working with like-minded partners to pioneer philanthropic innovations to catalyse and scale solutions for a better world, and build ecosystems for good,” said Mr. Desmond Kuek, CEO, Temasek Trust.
As a strategic partner, DBS Foundation will contribute to the pipeline of projects on the platform by tapping its network of businesses for impact and blended finance projects. In addition, it will help to drive interest from its network and bring in holistic capabilities towards the development of this platform.
“Since the establishment of DBS Foundation in 2014, we have supported more than 100 Businesses for Impact across Asia. To tackle the growing issues of social inequality and climate change, now more than ever, it is important to draw on a broader ecosystem to enable and accelerate change. Through this initiative, we look forward to having more partners join us in supporting the growth of impactful solutions to build a better world for all,” said Mr Piyush Gupta, CEO, DBS.
Significant Opportunity to Catalyse Impact in Asia
Funds being deployed to early-stage funds have slowed, with a 53% decrease in global VC funding year-over-year in Q1 2023 (Crunchbase News, 2023). Yet, innovative solutions are needed to facilitate a sustainable and inclusive climate transition. Nearly half of emissions reduction needed for 2050 come from technologies that have yet to enter the market (IEA, 2021), amidst a prolonged downturn in the capital markets.
While growing fast, Asia’s slice of the over US$1 trillion global impact market is still small. In 2023, less than 25% of global AUM was estimated to be allocated to Asia (GIIN, 2023). Yet, there is a huge need for impact in the region which accounts for over 50% of global carbon emissions. Without climate action, Asia is estimated to experience a ~26.5% GDP reduction by 2048 due to the physical impact of climate risks and effect of extreme weather events on trade disruptions and the overall economy (Swiss Re, 2021).
The potential to drive impact in Asia is significant – it has 60% of the global population and accounts for over 50% of climate emissions (ADB). Technology and digital inclusion are key enablers, with 3 in 4 Southeast Asians having access to the internet (Google, Temasek and Bain, e-Conomy SEA 2022). Capital interest is also increasing, with 81% of HNWIs in Asia believing they can tackle societal issues through investing versus 56% in the West (RBC Wealth Management, 2018).
Still, real challenges remain on the ground. Innovators find it hard to secure funds, especially at the early stages of their corporate life cycle. Similarly, funders have challenges sourcing meaningful ways to deploy their capital.
Mr. Adi R. Nugroho, CEO & Co-Founder of MYCL, a biotech startup that produces sustainable material for the global market, said: “Impact startups like us commonly face dual challenges in raising funds to fuel our mission and finding partners and allies who share our vision. Especially at the early stages, traditional investors are often reluctant to invest in us because of unproven concepts or track record. DBS Foundation and Temasek Life Sciences Laboratory have supported us in our journey and a platform like Co-Axis can further catalyse collaborations and partnerships by connecting philanthropists, funders and investors with many impactful startups that have innovative solutions to pressing global challenges.”
Connecting, Collaborating, & Catalysing Industry-wide Action
Impact opportunities on Co-Axis will be curated from partners across the Temasek Trust and DBS Foundation ecosystems and beyond, including Philanthropy Asia Alliance and their partners, ABC Impact, GenZero, Temasek Life Sciences Accelerator, The Amplifier (a startup mentorship programme newly launched by Temasek Trust entities Philanthropy Asia Alliance and the Centre for Impact Investing and Practices), The Liveability Challenge presented by Temasek Foundation, and The Earthshot Prize.
Impact measurement and management will be a cornerstone of Co-Axis. Impact projects raising funds through the platform will be required to commit to impact monitoring to qualify. Knowledge sharing, capacity building, and training will also be provided on Co-Axis. The platform will draw from existing impact measurement and management frameworks and resources by a rich ecosystem of knowledge partners including BlueMark, Tideline, UNDP SDG Impact, and Wealth Management Institute.
A beta version of Co-Axis is targeted for launch at the co-located Ecosperity and Philanthropy Asia Summit in April 2024.
Call for Partners
Co-Axis is an industry-wide platform and initiative. Organisations interested to be part of the movement to catalyse innovation in philanthropy are encouraged to reach out. A wide range of partners are sought, from financial institutions, investors, family offices, and corporates, to startups, charities, and impact project owners. One can participate in the initiative by committing capital, featuring impact opportunities, and / or contributing to the build-out of the community and platform.
To find out more about Co-Axis and how you can get involved, please email [email protected]
Note to Editors
About DBS Foundation
The DBS Foundation is committed to uplifting lives and livelihoods by igniting change in businesses and communities.
Since 2014, the DBS Foundation has been championing social enterprises in Asia, businesses that are for profit, and impact. The Business for Impact chapter now catalyses the growth of innovative, purpose-driven businesses, including SMEs, designed to address pressing issues facing our planet and society.
In 2022, the DBS Foundation raised the bar with the formation of a new Community Impact chapter, to equip the underserved with digital and financial literacy skills to face the future with confidence and enable communities to be more food secure and resilient.
Our vision is to spark collective action, together with our partners and DBS People of Purpose, to help build a better world for generations today and tomorrow.
For more information, please visit: www.dbs.com/dbsfoundation.
About Temasek Trust
Temasek Trust, established by Temasek Holdings, is a steward of philanthropic assets, advocate of sustainability and catalyst of positive impact. It provides governance and financial oversight of endowments for an ecosystem of entities with the shared purpose of building better for every generation by protecting the planet, uplifting communities, connecting people, and advancing capabilities. In forging new pathways for philanthropy and impact investing with like-minded partners, Temasek Trust aims to promote catalytic philanthropy as a force for good. For more information, visit www.temasektrust.org.sg
Amanda Fong, Communications
Tess Chia, Director, Communications & Engagement
Christabel David, Senior Manager, Communications & Engagement