Australian startups who live and breathe their raison d’être have won some serious backing from investors, government and startup groups keen to see their ideas brought to the world.
From reducing fatalities on construction sites to tackling the plight of Syrian refugees, this week’s round-up of investment announcements come packed with purpose.
Meanwhile, impact-driven startups have an opportunity to share in $13 million funding thanks to the launch of a new venture capital fund dedicated entirely to startups with environmental or social missions.
VERTON GROUP BANKS $100,000
What they do: Founded in 2014, the Verton Group, formerly known as Innovation Overload, creates tech solutions to improve productivity and safety in crane and hoist operations.
Led by: Engineers Stanley Thomson and Andrew Millar.
How much: $100,000 grant from the Queensland government
What happens now: Verton Group is developing a new technology named “Rover” or Remotely Operated Variable Effort Rotater, which it claims could reduce fatalities on construction sites by up to 80%.
Rover does this by this by removing the need for human spotting of suspended loads.
“Moving heavy loads using cranes or hoists is highly dangerous, with industry research showing proximity to a load, let alone actual contact, is accountable for 80% of crane-related fatalities,” Thomson says.
“Very few loads suspended by cranes and hoists can be picked up and set down without using taglines to control their orientation – Rover eliminates this need.”
Verton Group wants to raise a further $250,000 to complete its first prototype.
STARTUPS EMPOWERING REFUGEES BANK $15,000
What they do: Startups Refugee Talent and Settle In are building solutions to empower refugees resettling in Australia. Both startups began brewing in Techfugee hackathons and have since graduated from The Difference Incubator’s Two Feet Program in Melbourne.
Led by: Refugee Talent is led by co-founders Nirary Dacho and Anna Robson; SettleIn is led by chief executive Alice Brennan.
How much: $7500 awarded to each startup.
What happens now: Having completed the Difference Incubator’s six-month program, both startups have been equipped with training and resources to become self-sustainable ventures.
SettleIn is moving forward on its mission to simply the ordeal refugees face when resettling with a personalised app.
Speaking to SBS, SettleIn’s co-developer Simon* revealed his engineering studies has been “interrupted by war” in 2015 forcing him to flee Syria.
“I want people to learn from my experience,” he said.
“If this app had existed [when I arrived], it would have helped me. It would have saved a great amount of time and money.”
Similarly, Refugee Talent aims to empower refugees searching for jobs when they resettle.
“The big vision is we will be the number one solution for refugees to find employment,” Dacho told StartupSmart.
*Simon’s surname withheld to protect his family in Syria.
IMPACT INVESTMENT GROUP ANNOUNCES $13 MILLION VC FUND
What they do: Impact Investment Group is one of Australia’s leading funds managers for impact investing. This week, it officially launched Australia’s first venture capital fund dedicated entirely to startups with environmental or social missions.
Led by: Venture partners Peter Cameron, who is the chief executive of AVG Anti Virus Australia and New Zealand; Kylie Charlton, Australian Impact Investments’ chief information officer and co-founder of southeast Asian impact fund Unitus Capital; and angel investor Adam Milgrom.
How much: $13 million VC fund. While the round closed in September this year, it has been kept a secret till now.
What happens now: The Giant Leap fund is targeting startups with robust business models that tie profits with positive impacts for the community and planet.
It focuses on seed-stage to early series-A level ventures that can deliver a 20% internal rate of return on investment per annum.
Giant Leap has already injected $500,000 into community-minded online grocery YourGrocer and participated in carbon-free delivery startup Sendle’s $5 million investment round earlier this year.
“We’re open for business and looking for amazing founders and teams to back in the impact space,” Impact Investment Group chief investment officer Will Richardson told StartupSmart.
“[They] can be anywhere in Australia, we can actually invest internationally as well but we want to support the Australian ecosystem.”