Role & Organisation:
Principal at ReGen Ventures
What was your first job?
My first job as a paper route that I split with my younger brother. We spent our teen years delivering the local community paper around our area, pushing market trolleys that we’d borrowed from Mum. I saved my wages to buy my first car – it was a great lesson in the value of consistent effort over time.
When did you know you wanted to work in finance/business?
I think it was at high school in my accounting class where I first thought about the concept of working in business. I was lucky enough to have a phenomenal teacher and I came to love the reward of ‘balancing the books’.
There was a satisfaction in working backwards to solve problems and know at the end that there was a certain answer to be found. It was later that I realised that I didn’t enjoy accounting as a profession and that the real world is full of ambiguity.
When did you first discover the concept of Impact Investing?
I was working at an early-stage startup called Yume, focused on preventing food waste, and after our pre-seed round we went out to raise $2.5m to grow the business. This was my introduction to the world of impact investing. With the help of Impact Generation Partners we raised an oversubscribed round and met an amazing group of investors looking to combine profit with purpose.
What’s one exciting development you and your team have in the pipeline?
We’re starting to create a regenerative technology hub in Byron Bay. There is a core group of founders, investors, companies, artists and storytellers who are coming together to offer an alternative to Australia’s global positioning as a climate change pariah. We believe that Australia can be a leader in climate change solutions and can live up to the responsibility we have to our neighbours in the Pacific to take action.
What was the most interesting impact deal (from any team across Asia/Pacific) in the past 12 months?
We recently invested in a company named Hide Biotech that is producing a high-performance leather alternative. This NYT article recently highlighted the connection between our demand for leather (2 billion square meters a year) and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest to satisfy that demand. Hide is creating the future of leather without cows or toxic chemicals.
Name one high impact company (globally) that investors should keep their eye on?
Vow in Sydney are going to take the world by storm. They are an unstoppable team building an entirely new paradigm in food. They are going from strength to strength with a great mission to build a truly regenerative food system.
What’s your vision for impact investing in 5 years time?
It will just be investing. The Overton Window is shifting, and having a social license to operate is good business. Consumers are holding businesses to account. Check out the market cap of NextEra Energy compared to ExxonMobil.
Having a positive impact on the world is good business. BlackRock CEO Larry Fink thinks the next 1,000 unicorns will be climate-tech companies. I don’t think Impact Investing will be a seperate category any more.