Small Steps 40: Elon Musk’s brain link breakthrough 🧠 Giant Leap’s next step 👣 and Stayin’ Alive in style 🕺
“On the surface, an optimistic belief might seem no more valid than the stance of pessimism. But the deep history of new ideas makes it very clear that the optimistic stance of believing something is possible is a requirement to make anything new real, and is thus more powerful than pessimism. In the long run, optimists shape the future.” — Kevin Kelly
🚀 This week we announced our 2nd fund, Giant Leap II! In exciting signs of the impact VC, it took just four weeks to raise $15.8m, a larger amount than our first fund (which took 2 years).
🎉 And we’re not the only ones feeling the trend: Jelix Ventures also found recent success with ESG as a baseline and an affinity for climate tech. And mainstream VCs continue to join the party: OneVentures recently laid out its commitment to ESG, including embedding key ESG requirements into term sheets, while Investible announced the Greenhouse climate tech hub earlier in August. Can you feel it?
What we’re thinking about
🧠 It may soon be possible to store and backup memories, according to Elon Musk in a recent live demo for Neuralink, a neural implant that is able to track and interpret brain signals. Like most technological breakthroughs, there are both highly impactful and unsettling potential uses (plenty of high school memories we’d rather avoid). Take AI as another breakthrough tech, which can be used for extreme good, but also has extreme risks like exacerbating medical bias and facial recognition that invades privacy. There’s no easy answer to the unstoppable march of progress, but in the spirit of this week’s quote, we’re optimistic about responsible regulation and impact founders wielding the tools for good.
👨⚕️ Exemplifying the impact case for AI-powered health data, congrats to Aussie startups Seer Medical (epilepsy diagnostics, backed by Giant Leap), Nutromics (a skin patch that gathers molecular data to avoid preventable medicine complications) and Oscer (training student GPs with AI), who all raised recent funding!
🥑 On a stinkier note, food waste is being tackled on multiple fronts. We’ve noticed new projects to make food last longer, including research into reducing freezer burn and a US company developing plant-based coating for fresh fruit and vegetables, like some sort of veggie inception. Meanwhile, Aussie Yume Wholesaling was recently backed by Suez to divert uneaten wholesale foods from landfill.
New career paths
👩🏫 Academy Xi is hiring for multiple roles, including an Instructor for their cloud computing course.
💌 Sendle is after a People and Culture Administrator.
🐛 Goterra is seeking for a National Sales Representative.
⚡ Amber is looking for a junior digital marketer.
🔥 There’s now 80+ more jobs on the Giant Leap Fund jobs board and more jobs at ethical companies on the global B-Work job board.
🤸 Huge congratulations to Goterra, Applied, Glam Corner and Loop+ — all of these companies made The Australian’s first Top Innovators List (and all have female founders).
💊 Game on for Perx, who partnered with Hireup and published a peer-reviewed article for their gamified medication adherence app.
👨⚕️ Coviu featured in Independent Australia on the boom in telehealth services.
Our Partner, Rachel Yang, recently featured on Startup Daily TV talking Giant Leap II and the Innovation Bay podcast talking the rise of family offices, who have been a strong driver in the impact venture space.
For the road
📈 Rather than blitz VCs with impressive numbers on your company, dig down and focus on the ones that really matter. Here’s a handy guide on what they are depending on the kind of business you are building.
🎵 Can music combat climate change? That’s the question at the heart of the Environmental Music Prize.
💭 Understanding venture capital is key to getting funding. Afterwork put together a great cheat-sheet on things to know.
👏 Airbnb is stepping up to the crisis in Afghanistan, appealing to hosts to help house refugees.
🧺 An important reminder for (quote-unquote) ESG companies
🐺 The duet we’ve all been waiting for (headphones warning…)
💃 And Stayin’ Alive in style
Originally published at https://smallsteps.substack.com on September 1, 2021.