Cleantech is not enough: the social innovation we need to save the planet

Small Steps Vol. 37: Why healthtech and edtech are crucial to climate action 🌎 circular economy startups' unfair advantage 💪 abandoned coal mines for zero carbon heating 🔥
July 22, 2021
Giant Leap Fund

Food for thought

💡Investment and innovation in cleantech has kicked up a notch in recent years. But cleantech only gets us so far in addressing climate change.

🤯Alongside crucial cleantech investment, we need massive systems change via social innovation — the realm of health and education startups. Only by improving economic wellbeing will we be able to accept climate positive policies and slow population growth at the rate required to avoid the worst of the climate crisis.

Read our Associate Charlie’s short essay on the link between social innovation and successful climate action here.

What we’re thinking about

♻️ The World Economic Forum’s Helen Burdett featured on the Circular Economy Podcast on the back of a report that showed that impact-oriented startups have a 43% higher chance of scaling up than purely commercial ones. This backs up the argument for the “Impact Moat”- the unfair advantage of startups doing good.

🔥 The report also identified a new class of impact startup, the “Circular Trailblazer”. These are startups that pave the way for others in the circular economy by licensing their tech, lobbying for policy change, and sharing stories and resources that bring new circular founders to the fold. This is the leading edge of impact investing and we’ll be keeping an eye on their first cohort of trailblazers.

♨️ A unique project is underway in the UK to use flooded coal mines as a form of heating. Geothermal energy naturally heats the water in the mine, which can be pumped to the surface where it can warm buildings. The process is currently being used to heat a cellar and a warehouse, but with mines stretching across the UK, there’s hopes this could become a zero-emission form of heating households.

🦄 Ever wanted to know who the world’s cleantech unicorns (startups valued <$1b) are? Here’s a list of all 22 of them, ordered by valuation. No Australians on the list yet — challenge, accepted.

New career paths

🐛 Goterra is hiring a Bio-technician to help with insect farming.

📮 Sendle is seeking a Director of Engineering.

🖥 Are you a software engineer? Switch Automation is filling out a team at the moment.

👌 WORK180 is searching for an Account Manager

💭 Applied is looking for a Business Intelligence Analyst

🔥 As always, there’s 50+ more impact jobs on the Giant Leap jobs board and more jobs at ethical companies on the global B-Work job board.

Giant leaps

♿ Loop+ featured in OnImpact talking about their commercialisation strategy.

☎ Coviu’s founder Dr Silvia Pheiffer just featured on the Market Savvy Conversations Podcast.

👏 Our Impact Benchmark Report got in the latest Social Enterprise Sector quarterly update.

Connect with us

🌊 Assuming the lockdown lifts as planned, our Partner, Rachel Yang, will be attending the Surf Coast Sustainable Pitch Party later this month in Torquay.

🔉Tune in to this StartUp Vic Startup Success Series on August 6 to hear our Associate Charlie Macdonald share Giant Leap’s framework for blending profit and purpose.

🧪We’ll be checking out StartUp Vic’s Life Sciences and Health Tech Pitch Night on July 27.

For the road

🙌 Congrats to Artesian, who released their Annual Impact report showing that their 2020 investments saved over 1,600 metric tonnes of carbon (or 753 fewer cars on the road).

😎 Phil Morle from Main Sequence Ventures has written up a guide to Slam Dunk Fundraising. It’s a model that forces founders to think about their businesses key milestones over a two-year period that will make the next capital raise a “slam dunk” for investors.

💊The latest StartUp Health Insights report showed a remarkable increase in the amount of funds being poured into health startups, from $US9.7 billion in H1 of 2020 to $US20, with sharp increases in valuations.

😍Philanthropic venture turned brain research startup Omniscient Neurotechnology just closed its Series B with some of our wealthiest Australians tipping into the book. The company is using research into brain connectivity to make inroads on treating Alzheimer’s disease, depression, chronic pain and brain cancer. One to keep an eye on.

😷Talking health, the 2021 MedTech Actuator Menzies Scholarships just opened for applications, aimed at medical professionals or researchers who need a burst of funds to explore entrepreneurship and commercialisation goals.

Further Reading

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