Our 2020 Impact Statement: The solutions we want to invest in

2019 was a busy year at Giant Leap. We closed six new deals in the last six months (one in the health space is yet to be announced) — and we don’t have plans to slow down.
January 23, 2019
Giant Leap

Now, we’re looking for the next investments to complete a portfolio of 20+ startups that are changing the world for the better.

To do this, we’ve landed on five specific problem areas that keep us up at night — we’re keen to meet any founders working on solutions in these spaces.

1. Climate change

Our changing climate is undoubtedly the biggest challenge of our generation. You don’t have to look far to see its impact on worsening bushfires, glacial melts, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification. According to NASA, Carbon Dioxide levels in our atmosphere are the highest they have been in recorded history.

While we can all do our bit to help reverse its impact, we believe that emerging business will play a key role in tackling the crisis.

In 2017, Project Drawdown put together the world’s most comprehensive plan to reverse climate change, ranking over 80 initiatives that will have a tangible effect.

We’ll be using this list as a guide for our decisions, to ensure we invest in sustainability startups that are actually turning the dial rather than just maintaining the status quo.

2. Poverty alleviation

Eradicating poverty is the first of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Nearly 700 million people (or 10% of the world’s population) live in poverty. Women and children are represented disproportionately in this group.

The UN’s target is simple: ensure every working person globally is earning more than US$1.25 per day by 2030.

New technology has drastically reduced costs to serve across key industries that affect quality of life, including employment and financial services. We’ll be excited to see startups that are capitalising on the opportunity to serve disadvantaged people with improved access to decent paying jobs, financing for entrepreneurship, or banking products to participate in the global economy.

3. Education of vulnerable children

Education plays a key role in eliminating poverty and empowering individuals to better their livelihoods. This is particularly the case for young women.

According to Gene Sperling and Rebecca Winthrop’s book, What Works in Girls Education, there are globally over 62 million women who are unable to access the learning they need to improve their lives. And as Sperling and Winthrop note, the positive, compounding effect of education is remarkable. For women in developing nations, it’s proven to reduce forced marriages, reduce rates of HIV/AIDS, and lower baby mortality rates. Simply put: Education transforms lives.

We will be paying close attention to online education or edtech startups, and especially those that tackle global inequality in access to education.

4. Empowering those living with disability

According to the World Bank, 15 per cent of the population, or 1 billion people globally live with a disability. Back home, the Australian Network on Disability says that almost four million Australian’s live with a disability. That’s one in every five of us.

We likely all know someone who lives with a disability, yet very few companies account for them in their product design or operations. We want to follow the example set by the Remarkable Accelerator Program and support startups that are catering to and empowering those living with a disability.

5. Mental health

One model by Suicide Prevention Australia and KPMG suggests that suicide rates could climb by up to 40 per cent in the next decade without intervention.

It attributes a number of factors, including changing workplace circumstances (the rise of the gig economy), worsening financial pressures (higher house prices, cost of living), and the introduction of more mechanisms that land Australians in debt (such as Buy Now, Pay Later schemes).

This report is indicative of the worsening mental health landscape we are seeing emerge both here and abroad. We want to support startups that help prevent mental health-related issues or provide scalable ways to support those living with mental illness.

If you, or a founder you know, are working to solve these big, hairy problems with your startup, reach out via our contact details.

Want to know what we’re thinking and where to find us? Subscribe to our newsletter, Small Steps.

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