According to a new report from VC Giant Leap, there is an emerging trend of women-led startups and other companies tackling issues related to climate change and sustainability that are impacting Australia’s startup ecosystem. The report found that 26% of the snippets of impact opportunities reviewed by Giant Leap are from women-led ventures, slightly above the broader ecosystem average of 23%. Meanwhile, the majority of impact startups reviewed by VCs (51%, up from 46% in 2021) focus on sustainable living, including ideas to tackle climate change.
The report, which is Giant Leap’s second Impact Startups Benchmark Report, reveals an in-depth analysis of deals, resources, and trends in the global impact startup ecosystem. Analysis of perused pitches reveals that 29% of influential deals relate to health and wellbeing, with only 12% falling into the Empowering People category, a criterion that includes care and education.
Will Richardson, Managing Partner of Giant Leap, said that pitches received by Giant Leap will be screened for impact before considering an investment, and about two-thirds will meet that criterion by 2022. The fund seeks to identify high-impact startups that have tangible environmental or social benefits built into their business model and that every dollar of revenue generated is intrinsic to generating measurable positive outcomes.
While Richardson sees Australia as an incredible place to become an influential founder and investor, he also argues that challenges remain. “More work needs to be done to encourage and support founders from minority backgrounds with diverse life experiences,” he said. “I believe that it will also lead to the creation of more impactful startups.”
The report also estimates that Australia “may be over its weight” in terms of the percentage of impactful startups achieving funding. About 22% of all venture deals completed in Australia in 2022 funded impactful companies. Elsewhere, that figure equates to about 8% of all VC funding for startups in the US and 18% in Europe.
Other key findings from Giant Leap’s Impact Startups Benchmark Report include: 20% of Australian startups meet Giant Leap’s impact business criteria; startup support services for influential companies (funders, accelerators, coworking, etc.) increased 1.5 times in two years from 67 in 2021 to nearly 100; two-thirds (65%) of the pitches received from Giant Leap meet VC criteria, up from 56% in 2020, increasing our understanding of their impact; and the current state of Giant Leap’s portfolio is 55% women-led companies, with a goal of reaching 60%.