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Giant leaps: climate technology and female founders are among the top Australian impact investing

Women-led startups and others tackling climate and sustainability-related issues are emerging trends in Australia’s impact startup ecosystem, a new report from VC Giant Leap reveals.

More than a quarter (26%) of impact opportunities assessed by Giant Leap come from women-led businesses, slightly above the 23% average across the wider ecosystem.

Meanwhile, a majority (51%, up from 46% in 2021) of impact startups reviewed by VC are focused on sustainable living, including ideas to tackle climate change.

The findings are part of Giant Leap’s second Impact Startups Benchmark Report, which unpacks a detailed analysis of deals, resources and trends in the global impact startup ecosystem.

The pitches viewed showed that 29% of impact deals related to health and wellness, while only 12% fell into the category of empowering people – a criterion that includes care and education.

Giant Leap Managing Partner Will Richardson said pitches received by Giant Leap will be screened for impact before being considered for investment, with about two-thirds meeting those criteria by 2022.

The fund defines an impact startup as one that has a tangible environmental or social benefit embedded in its business model, so that every dollar of revenue generated is inherently linked to the generation of measurable positive results.

“This report underscores a trend we’ve seen in the market for some time: Australia is a great place to be an impact founder and investor,” he said.

“We are seeing more and more incredible, inspiring people mobilizing and coming together to unlock the tremendous potential of companies to reinvent industries to create a brighter future and investors are realizing that these companies represent a huge opportunity.”

But Richardson says there are still challenges.

“More work needs to be done to encourage and support founders from underrepresented backgrounds with diverse experiences. Given our current data, we believe that further work here will also lead to the creation of more impact startups,” he said.

“Despite the headwinds facing the startup ecosystem this year, we are confident that impact startups will not only continue to grow, but will emerge from this period stronger than ever before. Many are addressing fundamental societal and environmental issues that will persist long after this recession.”

Richard said that by comparing different datasets, the report also estimates that Australia “might punch above its weight” when it comes to the share of impact startups getting funding.

About 22% of all venture deals completed in Australia by 2022 financed impact companies. Elsewhere, that figure is around 8% of total VC funding for startups in the US and 18% in Europe.

Other key findings in Giant Leap’s Impact Startups Benchmark Report include:

  • 20% of Australian startups meet Giant Leap’s criteria for an impact company, which has remained consistent as of 2021 and has seen significant growth in the number of local startups;
  • Startup support services (financiers, accelerators, co-working, etc.) for impact companies have grown 1.5x in two years, nearly 100 out of 67 in 2021;
  • Insight into impact is growing, with two-thirds (65%) of pitches received from Giant Leap meeting the VC’s criteria, up from 56% in 2020;
  • Giant Leap’s portfolio flows sit at 55% female-led companies, with a goal of reaching 60%.

Shreya has been with australiabusinessblog.com for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider australiabusinessblog.com, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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