Business strategy

Giant Leap’s Small Steps: Solving sleep’s goldilocks problem with startups

- July 7, 2022 4 MIN READ
On phone in bed
Phone: AdobeStock
Welcome to Giant Leap’s Small Steps, a newsletter offering global insights and news on the impact startups landscape.

We’ll be sharing an edited version with Startup Daily readers every fortnight.

Giant Leap is Australia’s first impact venture fund, and they use this newsletter to surface the ideas and businesses that intrigue and inspire them and broaden their own thinking on impact business.

Here’s what they have to say this week:

(Quick) kick start

It’s NAIDOC week, an opportunity to learn about and celebrate some of the world’s oldest First Nations cultures. Check out events here.

Giant Leap completed its First Fund! And in the spirit of continuous learning that has served us well so far, we’re sharing our key lessons for aspiring impact angels and VCs from the thrills and spills of Fund One.

Read Giant Leap’s lessons from Fund One

What we’re thinking about

Zzztartups. Sleep is foundational to wellbeing, but it’s a super weird field. Just look at the goldilocks factor, where both too little (<5 hours) and too much (>8 hours) sleep is associated with increased mortality (not the best bedtime reading).

Despite this, many of us struggle with sleep, with up to 26% of Australians suffering from insomnia. We’re fascinated by the Sleeptech pioneers enhancing snoozing with trackers, edibles, and space age headsets, and horrified by dystopian dreams of beer ads (check out Afterwork’s deep dive here).

Meanwhile, Apple’s Smartwatch just got FDA approval on a feature that can track sleep-time heart signals as accurately as clinical tools, opening up a world of possibilities for more in-depth Sleeptech.

Building healthy bridges. Trust is a fundamental bridge to adoption in healthtech, and digital health startups are lacking.

One study of healthtech startups analysed to find their “clinical robustness” score, the sum of the number of regulatory filings and clinical trials. Of the 224 studied, 98 had a clinical robustness score of 0 (i.e. no regulatory approval or trials at all), while the median score was 2.5.

While it might seem old fashioned, these proof points are critical to be taken seriously by the healthcare system, and founders wanting to differentiate and accelerate into a slow moving sector should take them seriously too.

Climactic stats. Climate Salad surveyed 171 ANZ climate founders in its first Climate Tech Industry Report, finding:

  • $1.4b in capital raised to date

  • 1.4GT of carbon emissions avoided (self-reported)

  • 4000 jobs created, with 2000 new jobs forecast over the next 12 months

  • 40% of climate tech companies with at least one woman founder

Earthshots. Interestingly, the report found about 38% of ANZ climate tech founders are confident they are working on entirely new technologies rather than improving on existing ones, indicating the development of novel, moonshot technologies in the climate data, agrifood, renewable tech, and carbon markets where ANZ companies have a natural advantage.

Globally, this is in the context of another bumper year for climate tech, which is set to crack $54b investment this year driven by policy tailwinds with Australia the latest laggard to join the party, continuing reductions in costs of key enabling technologies like solar PV and batteries, and more climate capital than ever despite the market downturn.

Connect with us

Rachel will be on a Gender Lens investing panel hosted by Ecotone Partners at 12:30pm Wednesday, July 13. You can register here.

Charlie will be attending a Climate and Impact Lunch and Learn hosted by Scale Investors and EcoTone on Thursday, July 14. You can register here.

For the road

Dreamtime founders. The Wade Institute has partnered with Minderoo to launch the Dream Ventures Masterclasses. The program is dedicated to equipping Indigenous Australians with the connections, capabilities and access to capital to become investor-ready.

A step back for equal treatment. The ramifications of the Roe v Wade Superme Court decision ripple across the US and the world. As Work180’s Gemma Lloyd put it: “My every day is spent working for women to have equal treatment. Today was a step back of monumental proportions, and it hurts.” In response, we’re already seeing some companies take action, for instance Google is removing abortion clinic visits from location history.

Commercialising climate research. Last month Climate KIC launched its first Climate Kickstarter program aimed at turning research into companies. It’s resulted in the creation of some fascinating companies, including a business that turn sea water into fresh water using gravity and a farming solution that can grow crops with 95% less water and no soil.

The latest stock take on Net Zero is in. The good: Net Zero commitment has expanded six fold in just a few years to now cover 91% of the global economy. The bad: one-third of companies are already on track to miss their goals. Better policy support, reporting tools, and employee engagement will all help close the gap.

A spanner in the works for blockchain-enabled carbon credits as both Verra and the American Carbon Registry (ACR), two of the world’s largest carbon asset registries, prohibited the tokenization of credits unless explicitly authorised.

Lifelong spending. The Suadi Royal Family plans to spend up to $1 billion a year of its oil wealth researching ageing to find ways to extend the number years people live in good health – this will make them the world’s largest single sponsor in the field.

What do a fish, a guitar, and basket have in common? They are all the inspiration for some of the world’s weirdest buildings. 

And pupper is the chosen one.


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