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Skip shifts focus to next-generation infrastructure with new fund

Skip is now turning its attention to solar and wind projects, recycling infrastructure and aged care, with the latest fund ready to invest a further $100 million a year in innovative outfits.

The fund has already partnered with renewable energy impact investment fund Solar Bay to invest in projects including Australia’s largest corporate power purchase agreement with food manufacturer McCain and the solar infrastructure on the Sydney International Convention Centre.

It has also invested in seven large scale advanced greenhouse assets and five data infrastructure assets in the United States.

“The essential infrastructure fund is going to create a real differentiator for us because traditional super funds focus on the really big, old, large scale infrastructure, so think toll roads and airports, while we’re focusing on emerging and innovative infrastructure,” Ms Jackson said. “It’s also really a sweet spot for us because the venture funds don’t really play there.”

She pointed to recycling infrastructure as an area of particular interest for Skip Capital.

“China has stopped accepting our low grade waste and so I think as a country we need an innovative solution around managing our waste and I think what that’s going to mean is building recycling infrastructure (here) in Australia.”

Skip’s venture portfolio includes Australian technology unicorns graphic design startup Canva, workplace safety platform SafetyCulture, employee engagement startup CultureAmp and fintech Airwallex.

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Its early stage investments include eco-friendly cleaning company ZeroCo, robotics startup August Robotics, artificial intelligence startup Harrison AI, class curriculum and lesson planning startup Inquisitive, Wi-Fi chip startup Morse Micro, energy fintech Brighte, recruiting startup Applied, craft startup Bellish and gender equity recruitment startup Work180.

Ms Jackson said one of the differences with Skip’s funds compared to venture capital firms was that it could invest all the way from seed to late growth to listed equities and could also look offshore “for the best opportunities” while bringing ideas back to Australia.

Skip’s international startup investments include AI training startup Gong, design collaboration tool Figma, cloud based contact centre Talkdesk and skin analysis startup MetaOptima.

“All through COVID-19 we we have stuck to our strategy, which is looking for phenomenal founders, solving global problems and the more ambitious the better,” Ms Jackson said. “We’re looking for that in high growth technology and startups as well as in infrastructure projects and we will just continue doing that.”

Despite the turmoil of 2020 Ms Jackson said she was optimistic about 2021.

“I’m positive about the year ahead,” she said. “I think we’ll find a lot of really interesting opportunities.”

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