Stewardship Policy 

About this Policy

At Main Sequence, our commitment to Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles is foundational to our strategic approach to responsible investment and stewardship. Our Responsible Investment Policy, ESG Policy, and Stewardship Policy are designed to be read alongside each other, establishing a comprehensive framework that guides our investment decisions, operational strategies, and engagement with portfolio companies. This unified approach ensures the integration of ESG considerations at every stage, supporting our mission to drive innovation, foster sustainable growth, and deliver long-term value to our stakeholders and the broader community.

1. Our Approach to Stewardship

Main Sequence is deeply committed to fostering entrepreneurship and innovation within the Australian research community. We are driven by a firm belief that companies with sustainable business practices have a competitive edge and achieve greater success over the long term. 

This stewardship policy outlines our commitment to responsible stewardship in managing investments, reflecting our dedication to ESG considerations. The aim is to comprehensively integrate ESG into our investment process, enhancing long-term, sustainable returns and reducing risks across our portfolio.

Signatory to the Principles of Responsible InvestingMain Sequence is a signatory to the UNPRI. We are committed to responsible investing and adhere to the operational and disclosure practices as outlined by the six Principles for Responsible Investment.

2.  Definitions

  • Environmental: Aspects related to sustainability, waste management, energy efficiency, and climate impact.
  • Social: Focus on stakeholder relations, including employee well-being, community engagement, and customer satisfaction.
  • Governance: Emphasis on transparency, accountability, and shareholder rights.

3. Our Priorities

At Main Sequence, our stewardship activities are strategically aligned with advancing specific ESG factors integral to addressing some of the planet’s most daunting challenges. Our focus is on six key challenge areas that we believe are critical to sustainable development and technological advancement:

  1. Enable the Next Intelligence Leap: We invest in initiatives to help society adapt to and benefit from rapidly advancing AI and technology.
  2. Bridge the Gap to Space: We support projects that expand Australia’s role in space, enhancing infrastructure to unlock new opportunities for humanity.
  3. Decarbonise the Planet: Our investments target innovative solutions in renewable energy, recycling, carbon capture, and sustainable industrial processes to reduce carbon footprints.
  4. Feed 10 Billion People: We focus on transforming food production technologies and systems to meet the needs of a projected 10 billion people by 2050.
  5. Reach Humanity Scale Healthcare: We fund startups in medtech, healthtech, and biotech that aim to make healthcare delivery more consistent and accessible globally.
  6. Supercharge Industrial Productivity: We invest in new technologies to revitalise global productivity, drawing lessons from historical industrial revolutions.

4. Stewardship of Capital

As stewards of our investors’ capital, we uphold a duty to manage these resources with the utmost care, diligence, and loyalty. Our approach is founded on a commitment to transparency, responsible investing, and strict adherence to our agreed investment plan, ensuring alignment with the long-term interests of our partners and beneficiaries.

  • Commitment to Transparency: We maintain an open line of communication with our investors, providing regular, detailed reports on the performance of their investments and the impact of our stewardship activities. This commitment to transparency ensures that investors are fully informed of how their capital is being managed and are able to see the tangible results of their investments.
  • Responsible Investing: We integrate ESG principles into every aspect of our investment process. This approach aligns with our values, mitigates risks, and enhances the long-term value of the investments we manage. By focusing on responsible investing, we aim to generate sustainable returns that contribute positively to the broader community and environment.
  • Alignment with Investment Plan: We rigorously adhere to the investment strategies and guidelines agreed upon with our investors. This alignment ensures that every investment decision is made with a clear understanding of our investors’ objectives and expectations.

5. Active Ownership and Engagement

We are committed to being active owners. Our approach emphasises comprehensive support and engagement, fostering sustainable growth and responsible business practices through the following strategies.

5.1 Founder Engagement

Mentorship and Guidance: We provide hands-on mentorship and guidance to founders, drawing upon our experience, networks, and industry expertise to help them navigate challenges and capitalise on opportunities. This support includes advising on ESG strategies that align with sustainable business practices and long-term value creation.

Access to Resources: We connect founders with relevant resources, including strategic partners, advisors, and talent, to accelerate their growth and enhance their capabilities. This includes introducing ESG-focused resources to help founders implement sustainable practices in areas like environmental impact and social responsibility.

5.2 Portfolio Company Support

Strategy development: We work closely with startup companies to develop and refine their strategies, helping them articulate their vision, define their market positioning, and set actionable goals. This planning includes the integration of ESG principles to ensure that their business models are resilient, ethical, and environmentally sustainable.

Operational Excellence: We assist startups in optimising their operations, improving efficiency, and implementing best practices to enhance their competitiveness and resilience. This includes promoting operational strategies that aim to minimise environmental impact and foster a positive social impact.

Access to Funding: Beyond the initial financial investment, we facilitate access to follow-on funding and investment syndicates to support startups through various stages of growth., aiming to nurture a portfolio that contributes positively to society and the environment.

Long-term Partnership: We view our relationship with portfolio companies as a long-term partnership, offering ongoing support and encouragement as they build and scale their companies. We emphasise the importance of adopting good business practices, strong governance and ethical practices from the outset.  As our portfolio companies encounter challenges, Main Sequence commits to supporting them by leveraging specialised resources and expertise from across our team and networks to address specific needs, whether operational, financial or strategic. Our approach is collaborative problem-solving with company leadership. 

6. Ecosystem Development

We are committed to enhancing the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, underscoring the integration of ESG considerations to cultivate a sustainable, inclusive, and responsible community. Our strategies include:

Ecosystem Development: We actively contribute to the development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem by fostering collaboration among founders, investors, academic institutions, and government agencies. Our focus is on promoting initiatives that emphasise sustainable business practices and responsible innovation, aligning with ESG principles to enhance the long-term impact of these collaborations.

Education and Training: We support entrepreneurship education and training initiatives, such as accelerators and incubators. We equip aspiring founders with the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to succeed in the startup ecosystem, ensuring they are well-prepared to build businesses that demonstrate environmental stewardship, social impact and robust governance

Community Engagement: We engage with the community to raise awareness of entrepreneurship as a driver of economic growth and social impact, encouraging participation from diverse and underrepresented groups. Our community outreach efforts focus on promoting inclusivity and raising awareness about the importance of ESG.  

7. Our Own Practice

In our own operational and strategic practices, we are committed to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency. This section details how we manage conflicts of interest and engage in political dialogue, ensuring all our activities align with the ethical guidelines and responsibilities expected of us.

Managing Conflicts of Interest: We have established a comprehensive conflict of interest framework that guides our decision-making and operational processes. This framework ensures all actual, perceived and potential conflicts in our operations and investments are identified, disclosed, and managed appropriately to avoid any adverse impact on investment decisions and uphold the best interests of our stakeholders. 

Political Engagement and Public Statements: As a subsidiary of CSIRO, we adhere to their public comment policy. However, we engage with policy makers through a number of mechanisms to represent the venture capital ecosystem in Australia, including through industry bodies and groups, submissions to government processes and direct meetings and engagements. Our adherence to established protocols and approach to political engagement not only safeguards our reputation but also ensures that our public communications reflect our values and mission.

8. Continuous Learning and Improvement

We prioritise continuous learning and development in our stewardship practices to ensure excellence and sustainability. This approach ensures that we are both responsive and proactive within the entrepreneurial ecosystem, leveraging insights to foster a culture of continuous and shared learning across our organisation.

Feedback Mechanisms: We seek feedback from investors, founders and startup companies to understand their needs, challenges, and aspirations. This feedback is essential for incorporating their input into our investment approach and stewardship practices, ensuring that our actions align with real-world impacts and requirements of our investors and the businesses we support.

Iterative Approach: We adopt an iterative approach to stewardship, continuously learning from our experiences and refining our engagement strategies to better support the evolving needs of founders and the startup ecosystem.

9. Conclusion

At Main Sequence, we remain committed to transforming the Australian research landscape through strategic investments and responsible stewardship. By prioritising founder engagement, supporting startup companies, and promoting entrepreneurship, we aim to cultivate a vibrant and sustainable ecosystem that fosters innovation, creates value, and drives positive societal impact. Through our proactive stewardship efforts, we are committed to empowering founders to realise their vision, unlock their potential, and build successful companies that contribute to the prosperity of the Australian research community and beyond.