Administering a $166m non-dilutive fund; Bill Gates and sustainable protein with AACo.

As Chief of Ventures for the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre, Camilla was on the leadership team responsible for administering the CRC’s $166 million in funds.

Camilla led the formation of major agrifood innovation projects including the flagship project with Australia’s largest cattle operator AACo. The $6.6m deal was recognised as a flagship investment for Australia in agriculture and was announced by the Federal Minister for Agriculture on National Agriculture Day on the front page of the Business Section in The Australian.

Camilla’s targeted and efficient approach began with a one-page project proposal direct to the CEO and required brokering between six parties – from one-pager to contracting and funds flowing was six months.  These time frames for a multi-party agreement spanning multiple universities, technology providers and Australia’s biggest protein producer, AACo, is rare in innovation partnerships. 

Scale Impact CEO, Camilla Roberts, said “I know how time poor and impact-driven scale-ups are and there’s only a very small window to contract with a large company so targeted, systematic approaches with smart sequencing is the key to getting it done.

I’ve developed the systems and efficiencies necessary to get the job done in such a way that benefits all parties and accelerates the impact they can have together.”

"The AACo project was a great example of a team of people and organisations driven by the purpose of making protein more sustainable through enabling more accurate and efficient carbon measurement and reporting for one of Australia’s largest land holders and cattle operators. I was inspired by my time working for AACo and launching luxury wagyu and grass-fed cattle brands in major international markets. It was then that Bill Gates visited AACo and it opened my eyes to how we can apply smart technology to making protein more sustainable. It’s at the core of Scale Impact’s vision to accelerate the impact of climate technology companies through government funding and I’m especially passionate sustainable protein technologies that support existing agriculture and create new sustainable protein industries like alternative proteins through precision fermentation."
Camilla Roberts
Founder & Director, Scale Impact

In The Australian article by Ticky Fullerton it says;

By 2030, AACo commits to achieve over 50 per cent of persistent ground cover for 90 per cent of its savannah tropics land and 80 per cent of grasslands. By 2024, the shift from diesel to solar across its network of bores will be complete and station complexes will be solar powered.

Where AACo’s work may be most valuable is in carbon soil sequestration. This is the great hope for global emissions reduction but sequestration falls badly short in how to measure the benefits accurately, which is critical to a carbon credits system.

The company is working with Food Agility and others to pioneer a method for estimating and forecasting soil carbon by satellite. If it succeeds Killen says it will bring down the cost barrier for participation in emerging soil carbon trading markets for farmers.

CEO Hugh Killen said “and that is a big deal. If we were going to use soil carbon tests across our 6.4 million hectares it would cost $128m a year, so there is no way you can get the methodology right without changing the way we measure it. This is exactly where we want to play.”

Using this new tool, AACo wants to demonstrate the full biogenic carbon cycle in action through the estate: carbon sequestration in vegetation and methane emissions from cattle.