Three questions to Alain Gallois « Digital challenges must become an investment priority »

Alain Gallois, Global Head of Coverage and Head of EMEA at Natixis Corporate & Investment Banking

What do clients need to initiate their digital transition? 

Most of our clients in Europe and worldwide are currently facing several megatrends from among these main trends i.e. digital and environmental transitions. To tackle this situation, they need to adapt and embark on a vital phase of transformation, which requires investment and structural change, both for companies’ various business units and their digital departments. Tech presents a major challenge in terms of cost, performance and data management, and return on investment is not instantly visible for now. This presents a key challenge raised by many clients: they are not yet reaping the rewards of their digitalization efforts – for example on their share prices. We are not seeing enough assets or funds that focus on tech just yet, but this situation is soon set to change as interest is growing on the markets, while we are also seeing moves to adapt. We are witnessing the same trend as for green bonds, which were not very popular 10 years ago: it's just a matter of time. This is why we feel that the markets need clearer visibility and a framework for this sector. Aspects that currently seem ‘nice to have’ will become ‘must haves’ in the future. Following in the footsteps of green finance, awareness is growing, and decisions are taking shape. Digital challenges must become investment priorities.

How do you support your clients in this approach?

We support all our clients – regardless of whether they are specialized in tech or not – ranging from start-ups to large groups and even tech giants such as the GAFAM companies. It is crucial to offer them solutions and services that are tailored to each individual situation. For example, we support start-ups in their fund-raising capabilities, and small caps in the tech sector by drawing on their strong relationships with the Banques Populaires and Caisses d’Épargne. We also work alongside large tech companies to offer them a customized service. Similarly, our clients from non-tech sectors have moved forward in leaps and bounds in their digital transformation, and with this in mind we are building a Tech Hub to offer financing solutions and a number of financial arrangements such as IPOs, M&A, fund-raising etc. that support their growth goals in the digital arena.

Can you give us an example of clients you have recently supported in their digital transformation? 

Our teams work to support all types of sectors facing technology challenges. Recently we supported Carbios which is a French green chemistry company that develops biological and innovative processes and specializes in developing enzymatic recycling processes for plastic materials. This technological innovation to break down and recycle plastic is part of the cleantech and greentech ecosystem that we support, and we accompanied this company in its IPO. This type of deal perfectly addresses the environmental and digital challenges that many companies face. I could mention other projects in agritech for example: we worked with one of the world food and agri-business leaders Olam to assist in its digital program, setting up an innovative loan where pricing is linked to the company’s digital maturity score (Digital Advanced Index).

Related articles