Role & Organisation:
Founder & Director, Social Impact Hub
What was your first job?
My first job was making and serving gelato at the first Gelatissimo store in the Sydney CBD; there are now around 70 stores globally!
When did you know you wanted to work in finance/business?
I did my undergraduate degrees in Arts and Law at UNSW, and I started my career in corporate law, following a year at the Australian Human Rights Commission and teaching at UNSW Law School. I had a gradual realisation that the allocation of capital was a very powerful lever for change, alongside my initial passion for education, and I now focus on both education and capital (and often the overlap of the two of them!).
When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?
When I was completing my masters in 2012-2013, I did a course in impact investing at the Harvard Kennedy School. It was fascinating to learn about the concept, as well as the significant traction in the US market and other global markets. I thought there was so much potential in Australia.
What’s one exciting development you and your team have in the pipeline?
We have Demo Day for our Scaling Impact accelerator program coming up tomorrow (Wednesday 13 October) at 4pm. This will be a wonderful showcase of the 8 fantastic social enterprises that have been participating in our accelerator focused on impact investment readiness. In the medium term, we’ll be excited to share with you details about the refreshed Impact Investing Hub and investor network that is currently in the pipeline. Stay tuned for further info!
What was the most interesting impact deal (from any team across Asia/Pacific) in the past 12 months?
It is so hard to choose just one interesting deal – there are so many! It is wonderful to see a social enterprise like Hireup who was originally backed by impact investors now receive $40m of mainstream capital from Seek Investments.
I’m also very proud of the Xceptional deal which included a Beneficial Outcomes Linked Debt instrument, even though that was more than 12 months ago.
Name one high impact company (globally) that investors should keep their eye on?
We have supported three high impact social enterprises to raise capital recently and investors should keep their eye on all three!
Junglefy is Australia’s leading living infrastructure company, enhancing our cities with beautiful green walls, roofs and facades that clean the air we breathe.
Liftango has technology that powers convenient, efficient and sustainable, shared transport, and has made huge inroads in the UK and Europe recently.
Umbo provides children, especially those in rural and regional Australia, with speech and occupational therapists. Their investment followed Umbo’s participation in our inaugural Scaling Impact program, which helped improve its investment readiness and facilitated the introduction to their impact investor.
What’s your vision for impact investing in 5 years time?
I hope that in five years time impact investing is no longer niche, but mainstream. All investments should consider risk, return and impact. Ideally measurement of impact is done on all investments. I also hope that the amount of ‘concessionary’ capital available increases, and supports many social purpose organisations who are currently dependent on philanthropy to transition to more sustainable funding. A government and philanthropically funded early stage social enterprise foundation (similar to the Access Social Investment Foundation in the UK) would be a huge help to realise this vision.