Rachel Yang, Partner, Giant Leap

Giant Leap is Australia’s premier impact venture capital fund, backing organizations focused on solving the world’s most pressing social and environmental issues.

Giant Leap Partner Rachel Yang spoke at the recent Climate Tech Showcase in Melbourne, hosted by Climate Salad, highlighting some of the climate tech companies the impact fund has invested in.

Giant Leap invests in three themes: health and wellness, sustainable living and empowering people, and since its inception in 2016, it has made investments in more than 20 portfolio companies.

According to Yang, “We follow the best performing funds, the first quartile funds, and so we were able to really prove that we can solve social and environmental problems and generate a return.

“There are many things we can do to reduce our emissions, but we have to act and we have to invest. And the fact is, investing now is going to cost us a lot less than trying to reverse the damage.

One of the climate tech companies that Giant Leap has invested in is Goterra, which uses the unconventional method of fighting litter using maggots.

“They divert landfills by using maggots to consume the waste and then the maggots are made into livestock feed. So it’s closed loop, zero carbon emissions, fundamentally changing the way we’ve done things since the dawn of time. No more throwing trash down a big dirty hole,” she said.

Another holding company she pointed to is Amber Electric, which allows customers to automatically use electricity at times when the grid is powered by renewables, and is more affordable.

“It’s an electricity retailer that gives you access to the wholesale price of your electricity. And that means you’re encouraged to use electricity when it’s not only greener, but also cheaper,” Yang said.

One Giant Leap-backed startup that raised a record $15.3 million in its seed investment round this year is Change Foods. The company creates animal-free cheese products by using precision fermentation technology to produce the protein casein, found in dairy products.

“They create cheese without cows. So there is no need for the land, the use of water, the cows that produce a lot of methane. Basically, it’s lab-grown cheese.

The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that global emissions must be halved by 2030, i.e. to within 1.5 degrees Celsius of the global warming.

“There is a viable path. Now a lot of that has to do with clean technology solutions and innovations,” Yang said.

“If we’re going to meet the targets that the IPCC is telling us, that the world is telling us, then we should probably start investing in climate tech companies at a higher rate.”