Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day ! 

We celebrate women every day at Innovation Bay but are thrilled there’s an international day of recognition to really drive home the incredibly important, selfless and diverse work women do. Without them, all of us would cease to even exist! We absolutely get around this year’s theme – Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress. 

This #IWD2024, we’re shining a spotlight on just a small handful of the inspiring women within the Innovation Bay community doing the work of goddesses. Huge props to each and every woman in our community, on our team and throughout the industry who lead with grace and dignity in a society that can at times seem so fractured. 

Georgia Barkell, Managing Partner at Sprint Ventures (Aurora Member), shared a deeply honest LinkedIn post this week in response to the gender pay gap report. As a mother of 3, Georgia recounts her experiences juggling the work/life balance and calling for some actionable methods to narrow the gender pay gap – “a key one that I see amongst my incredibly smart and experienced mum friends is that if you offer better work flexibility (for everyone! make it the norm) while still offering challenging and meaningful work, more women will stay in the workforce and companies won’t lose so much incredible talent and end up with a gaping gender pay gap.”   

Cate Hull, Founder & CEO of Freight Exchange (Summit Member), recently penned an article for Channel Life on the importance of diversity in Australian VC funding portfolios being transparent and public. “…when only 2-4% of funds are being invested in women in the industry, it is a clear indication that we need more diversity. If VCs are more publicly accountable for who they invest in, it gives founders of all genders and ethnicities a clearer picture of who they’re getting into bed with. It’d also go a long way to ensuring investors don’t “pinkwash”, she states.  

Prue Gilbert, CEO & Founder of Grace Papers (Summit Member), shared her thoughts this week with Women’s Agenda following the gender pay gap report. “In essence, closing the gender pay gap and fulfilling the positive duty are not isolated or disparate initiatives but interconnected facets of the same fundamental objective: creating safe, equitable, and respectful workplaces.”  

Karen Chan, Portfolio Manager at Perennial Private Investments (Aurora Member), features on this month’s Investor Intel series on the Innovation Bay blog. With an impressive career predominantly in private companies, Karen finds immense fulfillment in providing capital to founders/companies, backing their vision, and seeing them hit milestones. She has clearly defined goals for the year ahead to continue to support her founders, deploy into PPI’s growth ventures fund and help her portfolios think through exit strategies. 

Anna Wright, Founder & CEO of BindiMaps (Summit Member) an innovative internal navigation tool that is revolutionising how people navigate through vast and intricate indoor spaces. Designed to enhance accessibility and ease of movement, Bindi Maps is making significant strides in transforming venues ranging from office buildings to theaters and stadiums into more navigable and user-friendly environments. Anna and BindiMaps recently worked with Westpac OpenAir cinema to make this year’s iconic summer film festival accessible to all, with BindiMaps App specifically focused on helping the hundreds of people with disabilities have a great experience. Check it out here.  

Melissa Widner, CEO of Lighter Capital (Aurora & Summit Member), is also a Founder and Chair of NFP Apropela where she has supported female founders with business introductions over 10 years. Melissa also runs her own podcast Bootstrapped : The Lighter Side, where she shares the inspiring personal stories of entrepreneurs who have grown successful startups from the ground-up.  

Zoe Parkin, Associate Director at Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Aurora Member) joined us recently for a deep dive into the investment opportunities in critical minerals and decarbonisation with our angel and VC communities. A key reminder from Zoe was that Australia boasts high ESG standards in its resources sector, with rigorous regulation and transparency in mining operations, making it appealing to both domestic stakeholders and international investors seeking ethically sourced minerals.

Olympia Yarger, CEO of Goterra (Summit Member) – a waste management technology company that uses autonomous robotic systems to process food waste using insects. Olympia is doing so much for the environment and climate change and recently penned a heartfelt letter to other climate tech founders doing their part. In it, she names 2024 as “the year of the wartime CEO”. She says, “We will make it, I’m sure of it.  One way or another, because what we’re building is so elegant, so enduring. A vision of the version of the world that has won in the greatest war of our time.” Olympia also recently joined us on our podcast Open The Pod Bay Doors. Listen here.
Michelle Deaker, Managing Partner of OneVentures (Aurora Member), recently celebrated the successful close of One Ventures’ Fund 1 – a massive milestone for aussie venture. As the AFR article says, ”This is a significant moment for the local technology industry as it marks the first major fund of the post dotcom era to officially wrap up and return good money to investors.”

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