In addition to traditional investments such as stocks and bonds, we also invests in what are known as alternative investments. Two alternative investment managers we invest in through our Balanced Fund and our superannuation Growth option are Right Click Capital and Artesian Capital Management.
Right Click Capital
The Right Click Capital team backs early-stage tech start-ups in Australia, New Zealand and South-East Asia. Right Click Capital helps start-ups build their businesses by providing them with capital and being a trusted mentor. The team is focused on nurturing the success of companies that operate within the software sector, the ‘Internet of Things’ (ie, the interconnectedness of everyday devices) and the cutting edge of science (known as ‘deep tech’).
The firm helps early-stage technology-based businesses access growth opportunities as well as providing investors with exposure to investment opportunities in international markets. The team has helped bring many ambitious projects to life. A recent addition to its portfolio is Myriota, a rapidly expanding business that is fast becoming a global leader in low-cost, low-power, secure direct-to-orbit satellite connectivity.
Start-up focus: Swoop Aero
Through Right Click Capital’s support, Melbourne-based start-up Swoop Aero recently won an open tender to deliver lifesaving vaccines using drone technology.
Swoop Aero has just completed its first successful trial in Vanuatu by delivering vaccines to remote communities across the islands. In doing so, they have supported government efforts to increase vaccination rates. Autonomous drones travelled over 100 kilometres to areas that could otherwise only be reached by boat and trekking – a journey of many hours or even days. To be effective, vaccines need to be kept cold, which can be expensive and impractical when being transported over long distances. To further complicate matters, many villages don’t have reliable power to store vaccines in fridges.
Thanks to this breakthrough in drone technology, urgent supplies can now be delivered within minutes to 33 communities – removing the need for long-term vaccine storage and giving inhabitants access to world-class healthcare on demand.
Artesian Capital Management
Artesian provides investments in niche asset classes that contribute to positive social and environmental change. Artesian Capital Management helps around 500 start-ups build and grow their businesses. They achieve this through partnerships with universities, start-up hubs and other investors.
Artesian’s portfolio includes fixed interest, venture capital and impact investing funds – as well as an innovative equity crowdfunding platform. However, Australian Ethical’s investment with Artesian is limited to the Clean Energy Seed Fund.
The Artesian Clean Energy Seed Fund brings investors, incubators, and university programs together to build a dynamic pipeline of clean-energy start-ups. Australian Ethical first invested in the fund in September 2016 alongside the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. We hope the start-ups Artesian supports through this fund will help develop the clean energy technology needed to end the world’s reliance on fossil fuels.
Artesian managing partner Jeremy Colless says the Clean Energy Seed Fund targets “scalable, high-growth potential start-ups, fuelling innovation and creating opportunities in the development of clean technology.”
“It will look across sectors such as the Internet of Things, energy storage, biofuels, alternative energy generation (solar, wave, geothermal, wind), metering and control, green building and biomaterials, transport technologies, water and waste,” says Jeremy.
Start-up focus: InvertiGro
One of the companies Artesian supports in the Clean Energy Seed Fund is Sydney-based InvertiGro, which specialises in indoor vertical farming. InvertiGro says it is developing the technology that can “profitably and pragmatically solve the real-world challenge of sustainable and affordable food production”.
The start-up is developing pallet-sized “modular growing units” that it says can transform indoor spaces into “highly efficient rural-scale farms”. InvertiGro’s indoor farms are capable of growing crops such as microgreens, berries, fruits and vegetables. The company’s system includes a remote monitoring system that is suitable for produce wholesalers, traditional farmers looking to reduce their exposure to unpredictable environmental conditions, food retailers and caterers.
Compared with traditional farming, InvertiGro says its vertical farming system is 95% more water efficient and 150 times higher yielding. Because it is indoors, it can also operate for 365 days a year and requires zero pesticides or herbicides.
This article originally appeared in Good Money issue 13. You can read the entire magazine here.