Australia’s first pure impact venture capital fund, Giant Leap, has capped off 2023 by winning two major accolades in Climate Tech and Impact Investment.   

Giant Leap was named Impact Asset Manager of The Year at the Australian Impact Investing Awards, while Giant Leap Partner Rachel Yang was named as Climate Tech Investor Of The Year at the Climate Tech Awards.

The awards cap off a momentous year for Giant Leap, which backs “mission driven founders solving the world’s most pressing problems across climate, health and education and empowerment,” during which it closed its second fund (Giant Leap II) and spearheaded an initiative in partnership with Scale Investments and Alberts to encourage the disclosure of more data on women-led investment.  

“The prizes serve as another key point of validation for our investors, our funds and our thesis that investing for impact will drive financial outperformance. We finalised our capital raise for Giant Leap II amid a sector downturn, yet the calibre of companies approaching us and the overall resilience of our portfolio continues to improve,” said Giant Leap managing partner Will Richardson.

“I’m also personally thrilled to see Rachel named Investor of the Year. Rachel has earned a reputation among founders for her commercial acumen and her willingness to actively contribute, making her the kind of investor you truly want in your corner. 

“Her commitment to back companies solving the world’s most pressing problems, like climate change, is unparalleled. Rachel is well respected by her peers in the VC industry, and this award serves as a formal recognition of her outstanding contributions.”

Yang of the award, “This award is one for our team. Not only does it validate our work in the climate sector, but hopefully also encourages other funds to recruit and promote women into leadership roles in venture capital demonstrating the strength of diverse teams.”

Impact to triumph in 2024

Heading into the new year, Giant Leap predicts impact will triumph in spite of startup sector adversity in 2024.

“We’ll be going into our eighth year of investing in impact startups. It’s a very different ecosystem to when we started in 2016,” said Richardson.

“The funding downturn will continue to test startups of all sizes, but we expect to continue to see resilience for impact companies — especially those tied to tackling climate change and helping other firms reach Net Zero. As for broader impact companies, regulatory decisions and consumer sentiment will continue to fall in their favour, buoying them through this challenging period.”

“Given this, we also expect to see the further growth of more mature impact funders. Giant Leap continues to focus on Seed and Series A rounds, but the market is opening up for further dedicated impact investors that are focused on Series B and beyond.” 

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