Big step is Australia’s first impact venture fund, and they use this newsletter to showcase the ideas and companies that intrigue and inspire them and broaden their own thinking about impact business.
Here’s what they have to say this week:
If you’ve seen the recent Giant Leap movie “Theory of Change” piece and your first thought was “They go too deep on coins”, we got you.
This week we went back to the Theory of Change and discussed the what, the why and the how. In short, it is your impact mission and roadmap in less than 100 words. Check it out here.
What we think about
Biotech to techbio. With technology accelerating and computing power, the field of biotech – solving life science problems such as drug discovery and precision fermentation – is shifting to a tech-first approach called “Tech bio”. While biotech companies start with the science, working in labs and coats, a tech bio startup will start with the groundbreaking technology or AI/ML models to solve research inefficiencies and increase the surface for discoveries. Examples are the recently funded Inventia Life Science (podcast) here), which is 3D printing human cells to test cancer treatments, or Insilico Medicinewho recently used AI to work in less than 18 months (this process costs the average researcher) 9 years).
Doctor Doe-lots. Doctors are currently scarce, with waiting times for GPs almost doubling since pre-pandemic times. Yet 40% of a doctor’s day is spent on things other than doctor’s work, such as administrative tasks or documenting findings (the preparation of a report for an autism diagnosis takes up to a week per patient). That’s a lot of wasted doctor, and only compounded by overworked schedules pushing them into the burnout zone, with up to 60% of emergency medics reporting endgame exhaustion. Yes, we need more doctors – but freeing up that 40% of a doctor’s day to focus on medical work is a short-term lever to improve the health of the health system.
Cooler Health Cups. As investors in healthcare, we don’t just think about these topics. In their breakdown of funding for H1 2022, Rock Health reported that R&D (ie biotech/techbio) took the #1 spot for the second year in a row and non-clinical workflow tools moved from the lowest spot to #4 out of 6. They also confirmed that 2021 was an anomaly year, with more than US$30 billion invested, doubling the previous record, while 2022 saw a return of cooler heads, smaller round sizes and more focus on business fundamentals.
For on the road
About in climate land… Solar energy, batteries, data and EVs dominated the US$26.8 billion invested in climate technology in H1 2022. Meanwhile, Qantas Super announced that it is depositing $100 million into the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
A grim reminder of the gender pay gap. KPMG reported that the current pay gap in Australia represents $1 billion a week, with a gap of 6-18% that increases as the reels get higher. The report went on to detail that even in female-dominated sectors, such as education and training, they still hold fewer management positions.
Accelerating female leaders. The CEW Scholarships provide women leaders with further education opportunities to enhance their careers. Registration closes on August 29.
Using technology for good? The new Fish burners Tech For Good Awards are open for submissions. Hand in your ticket before Sunday 31 July.
The next generation of angels. Samuel Sentogos, a cybersecurity expert turned angel investor, is looking for generational change and representation of the black community by supporting start-ups.
3D printing in the body: Researchers from Concordia University have developed a form of liquid plastic that solidifies when hit by body-penetrating sound waves. They are pioneering a new form of 3D printing that could eventually be used to replace invasive procedures for placing implants and other bone replacements.
The deadliest remedy in the world. A new heart-targeted drug developed from the venom of the K’gari funnel web spider is about to enter clinical trials. The ultimate goal of the new drug is to become another tool that first responders can use to prevent further escalation and damage from a heart attack or stroke.
Toxic hotpot soup. China’s renowned environmental artist, Nut Brother, is stirring the pot again to promote environmental action in the country. In his latest video piece he has a poisonous hot pot — with inflatable fish and peppers — in the Yueyang River.
Daily razors for the mind. Some good “shaving” principles for: choose ways through life.