Xylo Systems, an AI-based data platform to help people manage and preserve threatened species, is one of eight companies backed in the first round of investment by Sydney VC Investible’s early-stage Climate Tech Fund.
The total committed by Investible to the climate startups was not revealed, with the fund still raising towards its $100 million target, having so far gathered $30 million in commitments. The fund plans to make initial investments for up to five years.
The eight initial investments span four countries, range from logistics to biodiversity, agriculture, and the circular economy, and were made as far back as March. Investible said a further eight investments have been approved in Pre-Seed to Series A companies.
The first announced investments are in Kite Magnetics, a Melbourne deep tech venture building smaller and lighter electric aircraft motors; building management software proptech CIM, which announced a $10 million Series A a fortnight ago; Kiwi electric engine startup ZeroJet; sugar cane-focused agtech Digital Harvest, which announced its Seed round in June; corporate carbon finance risk screening tool Emmi; Xylo Systems; designer dress rental marketplace Rntr, and Spot Ship, a London-based SAAS company that reduces the time it takes a ship broker to charter a ship from 6 days to 2 hours. Spot Ship raised £600,000 (A$1.04m) in pre Seed funding from Investible and Pershing Ventures in April this year.
Xylo Systems received $150,000 from Startmate on a $1.5 million valuation in July as part of its Winter cohort, with Investible chipping in the balance of a $200,000 total pre-Seed round. Goldstone-Henry was named the winner of the Australian Women’s Weekly’s Women of the Future in December last year, and also received a grant from Taronga Zoo, which has been trialling its software.
Founder Camille Goldstone-Henry said we are losing a species every three to five minutes and while thousands of conservation teams and researchers working to save them, but they don’t have an easy way to connect and share information and make informed decisions.
“Backing from Investible’s Climate Tech Fund is a huge step forward in recognising that fighting the climate crisis goes beyond reducing carbon emissions,” she said.
“Biodiversity and net zero go hand in hand. We’ve seen this huge wave of net zero startups, which is fantastic, but it’s time for biodiversity to step into the spotlight.”
Goldstone-Henry said Xylo Systems is an easier way to measure and manage biodiversity impact using data, for those organisations conserving wildlife and those businesses impacting wildlife, like mining and development.
“Investible’s investment means we can take this platform to the world stage and expand our offering to enable any business to become nature positive,” she said.
“By bringing biodiversity and business together, we will open up over $10 trillion in new business opportunities and help fight the extinction crisis. It’s a win-win for all. Chronic underfunding has limited innovation in the wildlife conservation space. What Xylo is doing is bringing conservation into the 21st century and giving conservationists tools like AI decision support and advanced analytics. With Xylo’s platform, they can have an even greater ecological impact.”
The backing for Xylo Systems comes as the federal government today added 15 new animal and plant species to the endangered list and as part of its threatened species action plan, announced it plans to protect an additional 50 million hectares of land by the end of the decade. It will reserve 30% of land for conservation to improve biodiversity with the goal of no new extinctions.
The VC also co-invested in a $1.85 million Seed round for Kite Magnetics, alongside Breakthrough Victoria, the $2 billion state government innovation fun. Kite Magnetics founder Dr Richard Parsons is a researcher from Monash University, which is developing the next generation of electric aircraft motors with patented nanocrystalline magnetic materials.
Investible’s co-head of climate tech Patrick Sieb said they reviewed more than 1,500 pitches, and 43% of the completed and investment committee-approved companies include a female founder, more than double the 2021 national figure of 19%.
Climate fund co-head Tom Kline said he’s excited by the potential of the sector.
“Every dollar invested in Climate Tech companies today is also going further than ever, because climate solutions can leverage advancements in computing, big data, robotics, and automation so are getting cheaper to create and scale,” he said.
“Global decarbonisation, the next great disruption is underway, and we are fully committed to investing in a resilient, sustainable future. With an influx of quality dealflow, and a growing network of LPs and co-investors across SE Asia and ANZ, the Fund, and our firm are in an enviable position.”
Investible CEO Rod Bristow said the VC has also been actively deploying capital through its Early-Stage Fund 2 and its syndicate of HNW co-investors, Club Investible. The firm has completed 22 new and follow-on investments, including the eight in the climate fund, with 23 more approved so far this year
“For those of us who’ve long been active in true early-stage venture, the long game is always top of mind. Our primary focus is to stay closely connected with both our partners and the founders we back, ensuring they are well-positioned despite external conditions,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Sydney CBD tech hub Greenhouse—led by Investible and backed by the City of Sydney—is on track for completion in early 2023.