Giant Leap's open source database of global impact VCs 2.0

Mapping impact VCs globally to help founders and investors learn about the growing impact ecosystem
March 1, 2023
Giant Leap

Our open-source database of impact VC funds 2.0 

While Australia’s impact startup ecosystem has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years, it is still a small piece in the global impact puzzle.

To begin understanding the scope and trends of the global impact startup ecosystem, Giant Leap pulled together our initial database of impact venture funds around the world back in 2021

Ahead of the upcoming release of our second Impact Startups Benchmark Report, we have updated our open-source global impact venture funds database for founders and investors (see below). As an update from the previous version, we have now classified each global VC fund under our impact themes where available, including broad sub-segments, for improved searching.

For the purposes of this database, an impact VC fund is defined as any fund that has raised new capital in the last 5 years with at least one explicit impact or diversity mandate. If you’ve noticed we’re missing a fund in the database or have any comments, please let us know via this form:

Key insights on the global impact startups ecosystem

We will be breaking down the insights, including fund sizes, in our upcoming Impact Startups Benchmark Report, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, here's a teaser of some of our high level findings… 

The US remains the global leader of impact VC, but Europe continues to punch above its weight 

Much like the broader VC industry, the impact VC industry remains dominated by the US. Of all impact VC funds around the world, Giant Leap found more than half of the firms were based in the US. The US also continues to be the largest investor in climate tech. 

Despite this, European impact venture investment, which currently represents around 26% of impact funds, is growing at a faster rate of 5.5x between 2017 and 2022, compared to only 3x for the US. Recent data has also shown that about 18% of all European VC investment goes to impact startups, and there were over 50% more energy startups founded in Europe between 2019 and 2022 than in the US, thanks to strong government funding for renewable and storage solutions reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

European impact funds also typically raise more than in any other region, with a median assets under management of AU$112m compared to the North American median of AU$100m. They also overrepresent in sustainable living focussed fund mandates, likely driven by the energy crisis and Russian-Ukraine war. 

... and the Asia-Pacific is still following behind 

The Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, represents around 13% of all impact funds identified, remaining highly underrepresented in a region that accounts for up to 25% of all venture capital dollars invested. The region is particularly lacking in health and wellbeing focussed mandates, offering an opportunity for new investors to have an impact in the market.

So what? 

Keep an eye out for the second edition of our Impact Startups Benchmark Report for our deeper analysis of and commentary on the data. Sign up to Small Steps to get a copy sent straight to your inbox. 

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