Five key tech sectors will enjoy a combined growth of more than 400% over the next five years, according to market reports.
These innovation pacesetters – nanotechnology, AI, Digital Twins, genomics and other biotech life sciences – attracted a combined $892.63 billion of investment in 2020, set to rocket to $2.44 trillion by 2025.
Paul Stannard, Chairman of the Vector Innovation Fund (VIF) – an international alternative investment vehicle for advancing enabling technologies globally – said:
“These top five tech growth sectors are the ones currently lighting up investment opportunities, and we have specifically aligned our investment pipeline to them. They hold the key to solving major global challenges relating to sustainability, healthcare, energy, food resources and equal and fair distribution of innovation worldwide.
“Most tech sectors are growing, but these game-changers attracting that $2+ trillion investment won’t be companies enhancing things that already exist, like simply making your TV screen sharper.
“We are backing tech companies that transform how we deal with healthcare and future pandemics, sustainable clean energy, food production and combine these opportunities with AI and machine learning.
“Our fund’s first key target is health tech, which has enjoyed record levels of investment in the wake of COVID, so we would focus on potential nanomedicine breakthroughs such as reversing degenerative diseases and cancers or creating a multi-vaccine to protect us from a range of diseases.
“And while funds like ours can supply management expertise, our target companies are also those showing the skill to commercialise and monetise their offering to a willing market.
“What we have seen with the pandemic as well as Climate Change is a global realisation that we must also accelerate investment in enabling technologies supporting environmental, social & corporate governance (ESG) and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) principles where impact can deliver better outcomes for everyone.”
The Top Five tech growth sectors highlighted by market reports are:
- Artificial Intelligence has the most far-reaching potential, and the market is forecast to grow 16-fold from $62.35 billion in 2020 to $997.77 billion by 2028 at a 40.2% CAGR, being the catalyst for accelerating almost all tech sectors and has already shown how it can enhance food science, lower retail and banking costs, and develop medical advances such as remote patient monitoring and more intelligent clinical diagnosis.
AI is transforming future healthcare, food, energy, transport, construction, aviation, and many other sectors. Combining AI with nanotechnologies, for instance, allows platform technologies to re-invent the industries over this decade.
According to data gathered by StockApps.com, in the last quarter of 2020, there was a massive surge in investment in AI technology companies totalling $73.4 billion, which was a $15 billion increase on the start of 2020. In the first half of 2021, we have seen 4,080 investment deals in AI technology companies, according to the investment monitoring platform Pitchbook. The average investment deal flow value has increased nearly three-fold in 2020.
- Nanotechnology is set to grow its market from $54.2 billion in 2020 to $126.8 billion by 2027, which has enabled significant advances in medicine, electronics, environmental solutions, and materials, with the potential to improve drug delivery procedure and storage, and renewable energy. For example, COVID-19 accelerated both vaccine and virus testing and also drove specific developments such as nanotech material masks that filter out 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and particulates.
According to the investment monitoring platform, Pitchbook, in 2020, $5.56 billion was invested in nanotechnology companies. In the first half of 2021, there has already been $7.72 billion of investment in nanotechnology companies, from 775 deals, with the average deal size value increasing three-fold in just the last six months.
Paul Sheedy, a co-founder of the World Nano Foundation (WNF), said: “The COVID pandemic is fuelling an investment trend behind the nanoscale tech that is already being billed as the ‘COVID Decade’ and driven by the fear of human and economic devastation from another pandemic.
“And that risk is high: there are only ten clinically approved solutions to over 220 viruses known to affect humans, and we can expect at least two new viruses to spill from their natural hosts into humans annually, but nanotech and biotech can help counter this threat.”
- Biotechnology is the biggest and most mature market here, forecast to grow from $752.88 billion in 2020 to $2.44 trillion by 2028 at a 15.83% CAGR through significant effects on agriculture, improving the nutritional value and preservation of foods, minimising waste, and healthcare advances – the last being highlighted by the record-breaking speed of the Pfizer COVID vaccine development last year.
According to Nature magazine, global biotech funding in 2020 had its best year ever: 73 life science firms alone raised a collective $22 billion. Private fund-raising also mushroomed by 37% on the previous year – already a stellar year. This is being further fuelled with the COVID-19 mitigation market and the advent of a surge of investment in pandemic protection and preparedness using multi vaccines, autoimmune treatments and early intervention testing. Pitchbook has recorded 3,800 deals in biotechnology companies in the first half of 2021, totalling $34.48 billion in investment in these companies. Again, the average investment level is nearly three times what it was the previous year, and post valuations of invested biotech companies have doubled from 2020.
- Digital Twins are a new up and coming high growth tech sector, forecast to grow 15-fold from $3.1 billion in 2020 to $48.2 billion by 2026 at a 58% CAGR, with the technology already widely used in the construction, energy, healthcare, automotive, and aerospace sectors, and new fields opening up all the time.
According to Pitchbook, last year, there was $103.8 million of capital invested from just 53 investors into the Digital Twins technology start-ups. One company, Cityzenith, has added over 5000 new investors in the last 18 months, raising $10 million to date.
Cityzenith uses its Digital Twin SmartWorldProOS™ software platform to enable architects, planners, and energy providers to track, manage, and reduce emissions and energy waste from individual buildings, infrastructure, and even whole cities and has just reported major contract wins and seen its share price rocket 161% in early 2021. The company is partway through a $15 million Regulation A+ investment raise to scale up its international commercial opportunities.
The Digital Twin sector is an interesting space with tremendous growth opportunities for nimble, fast-moving start-ups who have the opportunity to compete with major conglomerates in this dynamic field such as Microsoft, Siemens, Phillips and Bentley.
- Genomics is a market set to grow from $20.1 billion in 2020 to $62.9 billion by 2028 through its key role in healthcare innovation and tailoring care to an individual patient while providing more data on diseases and human genetics. The World Health Organisation reports that gene sequencing was critical to the rapid development of COVID-19 tests and other tools used to manage the virus outbreak.
According to Pitchbook, investment capital in genomics companies has more than doubled in value per deal in 2021 over the previous year. So far in 2021, post-investment valuations have also more than doubled against the whole of 2020.
Paul Stannard added: “The accelerated innovation since the COVID-19 pandemic is astonishing – some experts say we witnessed ten years’ growth in the last 18 months of the outbreak – giving us a glimpse of even greater possibilities, especially when some of these pacesetters, such as nanotech, genomics and Digital Twins are able to advance, accelerate and complement each other.
“If it is backed by astute and enlightened investment, our future is looking bright!”
Fidelity Bank Promotes 745 Staff Members
Seeking to increase staff morale while empowering them to work more efficiently, Fidelity Bank has announced the promotion of 745 employees following the performance review of two financial years – 2019 and 2020.
A total of 461 staff members benefited from the FY 2019 promotion exercise, while 284 staff members benefited from the FY 2020 exercise. The beneficiaries cut across the senior, middle, and junior management cadre of the bank, and the promotion was based on merit, using a transparent and robust performance management system in line with global best practices.
Speaking about this, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc said “I am very delighted to announce the promotions for 2019 and 2020 financial years. Releasing the list for 2 financial years’ promotion at the same time is something we are very proud of. We strongly believe that the continuous growth of our bank over the years has been largely attributed to the commendable efforts and unrelenting sacrifices of our employees. Promotion is one of the many ways we express our gratitude. We are thankful to be home to many amazing talents that continue to drive our value and most importantly, serve our stakeholders to the highest standards.”
Speaking further, she said. “Since I was appointed the MD/CEO of our great bank in January 2021, I have been committed to a 7-point agenda to move our bank further, out of which workforce transformation is a key category. Staff performance and reward are critical to us, and as an organisation, we will continue to make available adequate resources to deepen the skills and entrench a culture of high performance amongst employees. I wish to appreciate all members of the Fidelity Bank family for their commitment and drive and unrelenting sacrifices towards delivering our objectives. As we move forward in our quest to becoming a leading tier-one bank, I encourage all elevated staff to see their promotion as a call to rededicate themselves to excellence.”
Fidelity Bank has continued to empower its employees with invaluable resources capable of putting them at the forefront of innovative transformation. In March 2021, the bank announced two capacity-building projects – One Culture Project and Project Alpha – that were targeted at transforming the workplace for its staff. In particular, Project Alpha was created to help Fidelity Bank develop a robust and holistic learning and development framework for all staff while One Culture Project was formed to reinforce the behaviour and value systems that will help the bank, as well as staff, achieve set goals.
Nigeria’s Central Bank To Launch Digital Currency On Oct 1
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it will launch its much-awaited digital currency on October 1, to mark Nigeria’s independent anniversary.
CBN Director of IT Department, Rakiya Mohammed, revealed this at a private webinar, explaining that the banking sector regulator had been conducting research towards the launch of digital currencies since 2017.
She added that the central bank may conduct a proof of concept before the end of the year. The move to adopt the digital currency was first mulled by the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, during the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in May.
He had said a digital currency will soon become a reality in the country, adding that the central bank had already set up its committee which was working on the concept.
The CBN governor had further restated the determination of the apex bank to drive the e-Naira project during the recent 306th Banker’s Committee meeting, pointing out that the process was ongoing.
Mohammed was quoted by Nairametrics to have highlighted the benefits of the digital currency, saying it would enhance macroeconomic management, boost economic growth, facilitate cross-border trade, boost financial inclusion and monetary policy effectiveness.
Mohammed said the digital payment instrument would further improve payment efficiency, revenue tax collection, remittance improvement, and targeted social intervention.
She added that the innovation would also benefit the fintech ecosystem by enhancing operational efficiency, opportunities for fintech start-ups in building services and products as well as financial inclusion that will contribute to economic growth, and the creation of a new system complimenting the traditional payment system.
Mohammed had last month said the proposed digital would be launched before December. According to her, every Nigerian would have access to digital currency.
She had while briefing journalists at the end of a Bankers’ Committee meeting said: “Let me state categorically that cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and the rest of them are not under the control of the central bank; they are purely private decisions that individuals make and are not part of this arrangement.
“We have spent over two years studying this concept of central bank’s digital currency and we have identified the risks. And it is one of the reasons why I said we are setting up a central governance structure that would involve all industry stakeholders to access all the risks as we continue on this journey.
“Very soon we would make an announcement on the date for the launch and by the end of the year, we should have the digital currency.”
According to her, about 80 percent of central banks across the world are presently exploring the possibility of issuing the central bank’s digital currency, saying that Nigeria cannot be left behind.
Mohammed had added: “You are aware that we have two forms of fiat money: The notes and the coins. So, the central bank’s digital currency is the third form of fiat money. So, this digital money is going to complement the cash and note that we have.
“The central bank digital currency will just be as good as you having cash in your pocket. So, if you are having the currency in your pocket, you are as good as having cash on your phone.
“Now, why did we need to go into this? There are different cases that the central bank is looking at.
UK Financial Reporting Council Sanctions KPMG On Quality Of Banking Audits
The United Kingdom Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has sanctioned one of the biggest audit firms, KPMG LLP over the quality of its banking audits which U.K.’s industry regulator said it was “unacceptable” that for the third year running the accounting firm’s work wasn’t up to scratch.
The FRC in its annual report released on Friday examined the U.K.’s seven biggest auditing firms, which include Ernst & Young and Deloitte, said almost 30 percent of all bookkeeping was below par in the year to the end of March.
“Overall Inspection results at KPMG did not improve and it is unacceptable that, for the third year running, the FRC found improvements were required to KPMG’s audits of banks and similar entities.
“Given the systemic importance of banks to the UK economy, the FRC will be closely monitoring KPMG’s actions to ensure findings are addressed in a timely manner.
“KPMG has agreed on additional improvement activities to be delivered this year over and above its existing audit quality improvement plan,
“In response to our findings this year, the firm’s senior leadership has committed to making further changes necessary to improve audit quality in time for 2021 year-end audits.
“We will monitor these closely to assess on a timely basis the extent to which they address our findings,” the report released on Friday stated.
The FRC said that “We will also continue to focus our inspections on KPMG banking audits.”
The regulator said central to achieving consistent audit quality is a healthy culture within the audit practice that encourages challenge and professional skepticism, as it set out in its letter to Heads of Audit
in December 2020.
“We have a major project underway to examine audit culture, including an international conference held in June this year on the subject.
“Operational separation of audit practices from the rest of the firm should help the largest firms to focus on developing an appropriate audit culture,” the FRC stated.
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