Q&A: Climate Salad and Climate Angels - LaunchVic

Q&A: Climate Salad and Climate Angels

Case Studies

8 Feb 2023 by Holly Clark

Victorian startups are not afraid to tackle the climate crisis – and these networks are here to help.

We sat down with Climate Salad’s Director of Impact Audrey Jean-Baptiste and Ecotone Partners’ Dan Madhavan, who are leading two Victorian startup networks with a shared goal of finding innovative climate change solutions.

Hi Audrey and Dan, thanks for chatting with us today. Can you start by telling us a bit about your networks and what they’re trying to achieve?

Audrey: Climate Salad was created to support the climate tech industry in Australia. It started in early 2021 and quickly grew into a passionate community of people that want to make a difference. Our mission is to help 1,000 climate-tech companies by 2030 – and see at least 10 of those reach global scale. We do this through our online networking platform, mentor program and events such as showcases, festivals and trade missions.

Dan: Ecotone Ventures is the new climate angel network we have established as a key initiative of Ecotone Partners. The network was established in early 2021 and strives to ensure early-stage startups with climate solutions get access to the capital they need. Founders come to us for advice on the type and right amount of capital they need, and we help connect them to the right investors.

What role do Victorian startups play in tackling climate change?

Audrey: Victoria has always been a leader in innovation and we need the same ambition and skills in climate. From the work we’ve been doing with startups, it’s evident there is great opportunity in Victoria to lead real change in this space.

Dan: Through our network we’ve seen Victorian startups take on many different and important challenges. Some are helping corporates build climate into their business strategy, others are working to transform specific industries for a more sustainable future. We’re also working with startups focused on developing new technologies and [have] seen some really exciting ideas.

Fantastic, can you tell us about some of the startups you have been working with?

Audrey: There are so many we could name, but Allume energy is one of the standouts who are growing globally. The Victorian company has been helping people in apartment buildings utilise solar energy which has been difficult to do. The Office of Planetary Observations is also doing fantastic work helping green cities through satellite data. Another startup is Kapture which is helping convert diesel engines into carbon capture machines. The breadth and strength is incredible.

Dan: We recently supported a $5 million pre-series A raise for  ‘Lug+Carrie’, an e-Bike subscription service based in Fitzroy. They’re providing high-end cargo e-bikes to families who are looking to replace their second car for financial and environmental reasons. Since the raise, Lug+Carrie has seen exceptional growth, expanding to Sydney and Brisbane, with plans to also launch in Canberra and globally in the US.

Are you able to tell us a bit more about how you’ve been working with LaunchVic?

Audrey: LaunchVic recently allocated a $1.4 million grant to in Climate Salad to help us grow our climate tech programs. The support has been fantastic, but the partnership goes way beyond just funding. The confidence shown by the agency in our bold ambition has been incredibly beneficial, and we really appreciate their genuine support for the climate-tech industry.

Dan: Agreed. Aside from a grant through its ‘Support For Angel Networks’ funding round earlier this year, it’s worth mentioning the phenomenal state of the Victorian startup ecosystem is testament to the work of LaunchVic. They understand the role the government plays in the ecosystem and it’s resulted in a vibrant and robust community that’s a pleasure to be part of.

Where do you see the future of the climate tech industry heading?

Audrey: Being a climate positive business is becoming increasingly important for the planet, and it’s also a great opportunity for business growth and new jobs. I believe every startup should be a climate startup, whether it’s your core mission or not. 2023 is going to be a huge year in climate tech.

Dan: Not only is climate change the issue of our generation but the decarbonisation of our economy is a once in a generation investment opportunity. There is a wave of founders looking to build amazing companies around great climate solutions. I believe that’s a wave we should all be looking to get on.

Interested in emerging climate tech?

The latest round of LaunchVic’s CivVic Labs program sees ten aspiring founders partner with the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action to solve some of the state’s big clean energy challenges.

Join us for a reveal of their solutions at the showcase event Thursday 23rd March 2023, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.