The kids aren’t alright: Lockdown language delays need edtech solutions

Small Steps Vol. 45: Lockdown language delays for children 👶; startup opportunities from COP26 🌳; and the Great Wealth Transfer picks up steam 💸
November 25, 2021
Giant Leap

“Language is the mother, not the handmaiden, of thought; words will tell you things you never thought or felt before.”

— W.H. Auden, Poet

What we’re thinking about

👶 Lockdown has been rough on our little ones’ language. With reduced time socialising during the world’s longest lockdowns, Australian educators are reporting up to 70% of young children need language development support, a staggering increase from 20% in pre-pandemic time. It’s a problem in dire need of new solutions, particularly since early language delays have huge ripple effects on learning, socialisation, and wellbeing, and the flow on effects disproportionately impact disadvantaged groups. We’re hoping to see the rise of edtech extend into the early learning space to fill a much needed gap.

🌳 COP26 is wrapped up with some key wins but lots of work to be done, needing perfect execution to bend the curve under 2 degrees of warming. With new commitments made to cut methane emissions, set firmer carbon trading rules, and reverse deforestation, Climate Tech VC highlighted some key opportunity areas for startups. These include creative solutions to stop methane-y livestock burping, developing global trading infrastructure for carbon credits, and building surveillance platforms to monitor forest health.

💨 The goal to halt climate change and eliminate 40 billion tons of carbon emitted annually has always been under pressure of speed. Collaborative, a US based Impact VC, shared a useful and simple framework for founders and investors to achieve decarbonisation speed by maximising both scalability and permanence. Scalability means achieving a high volume of carbon tonnes removed or generating substantial resource efficiency at a low incremental cost. Permanence means how long the carbon is removed for.

🤳 Tech giants have continued pushing into the enormous healthcare market, with Apple recently announcing iMessage protection for children to avoid distressing content, joining their passive mental health tracking project. While these might grab the headlines, healthtech companies need to keep an eye on healthcare’s middle children, the retail and consumer platforms that can leverage attention to provide additional healthcare value - like Paypal, Lululemon, and Disney. The growing ecosystem presents huge potential for both unexpected partners and unexpected competition.

💸 The Great Wealth Transfer of $30-68 trillion to Millennials and Gen Z is gaining steam and it's good for the world. A survey last year found that one in four millennials who save have over $100,000. Meanwhile, 95% say they want socially responsible investments, and 57% say that they have sold stocks that are bad for the world. Let it flow!

Giant Leaps

🌱 We’ve raised over $35m for Fund II and  just announced a target of $50 million. Thanks to all of our amazing investors and supporters to date.

👩‍⚕️ Coviu was awarded a $6.5 million grant from the Federal Government

❤️ Like Family earned a feature in Dynamic Business on how they are using technology to fight loneliness.

🏥 Co-founder of Seer Medical, George Kenley, featured on StartUp Vic’s Duct Tape podcast.

💡 Amber also got a huge shout out as an independent green alternative after Shell announced they would acquire Powershop. They also announced a new API, which allows its customers to see their energy data and better plan their consumption and management of batteries and solar panels.

New paths

🧻 Who Gives A Crap is after a Senior Front End Engineer

❤️ Like Family is chasing a Senior Product Manager

♻️ Full Cycle is looking for a Director, Marketing

🤸 Work180 is on the hunt for a Data Analyst

🌎 The Paul Ramsay Foundation is seeking a Head of Evaluation

🔥 There’s now 100+ more jobs on the Giant Leap Fund jobs board and more jobs at ethical companies on the global B-Work job board.

Connect with us

✨ Our Associate, Charlie, will be on the panel for RMIT Activtor’s LaunchHUB pitch showcase tomorrow evening.

🎤 Our Partner, Rachel, is featuring in a Day One Special Series on the history of Australia’s startup sector. Interviews to be released in January.

For the road

💪 Some strong statements from the startup ecosystem talking impact. Antler, an investor accelerator with over 350 portcos, released its annual ESG report showing strong female representation for healthtech and agtech startups, and 70% of businesses aligned with UN SDGs. Meanwhile, Fishburners launched a Tech for Good Award and Cicada released a sustainable grains challenge.

🤔 Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business Dorie Clark literally wrote the book on long-term thinking in the modern era. We loved these tips she shared, including not asking anything from your network for a year to build better relationships and embracing cycles of ideas generation separated from execution.

👍 Upside has put out a call for Australia’s best Series A-B startup founders for the Upside 2022 cohort. Check it out.

🏆 LaunchVic has launched and is taking entries for their Governor of Victoria StartUp Awards. There’s five categories, three of which apply to startups.

📈 Map of the hype cycle for digital health. .

🦔 We had no idea porcupines had such chunky noses.

💭 Some claymation existentialism.

🎵 And little sister jams.

Further Reading

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