Macquarie backs drone map, electric-vehicle businesses

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[February 19, 2019]    By Joshua Franklin

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Macquarie Group, the world's largest manager of infrastructure assets, has seeded money in a map system for drones and an electric-vehicle sharing business, it said on Monday.

 A man operates a drone over olive trees in Nabatieh area, Lebanon October 25, 2018. REUTERS/ Jamal Saidi

The investments highlight how money managers are looking beyond traditional infrastructure projects, such as toll roads and airports, to burgeoning technologies.

"The overarching theme is that technology is revolutionizing the infrastructure world," Stephan Feilhauer, senior vice president at Macquarie Capital, said in an interview.

Macquarie said in a statement it had backed AirMap, a provider of airspace information for drone operators, and Envoy Technologies, which offers on-demand electric vehicles in urban areas. It also put money into soil analytics company Teralytic.

The investments are part of Macquarie Capital Venture Studio (MCVS), which was set up with R/GA Ventures about a year ago to back and support emerging tech companies relating to infrastructure.

The companies will receive about $1 million of cash and support services with the possibility of a further $10-$20 million of follow-on investment, Feilhauer said.

Earlier investments out of MCVS include Zero Mass Water, which aims to produce water from sunlight and air, and cyber security start-up Mission Secure, Inc.

"Infrastructure technology, or 'InfraTech' is a crucial theme for Macquarie and we absolutely look to continue making further investments in that space," said Feilhauer.

(Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Susan Thomas)

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