LaunchVic invests $3.1 million to support local startups

LaunchVic invests $3.1 million to support local startups

LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick. Photo courtesy of the Digital Innovation Festival.

In a bid to galvanise the growth of up to 160 Victorian startups, LaunchVic is committing $3.1 million towards three accelerator programs dedicated to supporting industries such as technology, health, sustainability and more.

Melbourne-based healthtech accelerator ANDHealth, early-stage global venture capital firm Antler and climate tech program Climate Salad will receive up to $1.4 million each to help startups secure the investment and support required to scale.

LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said with more than 2,600 startups calling Victoria home, the need for tailored support, mentorship and networking opportunities was greater than ever.

“By backing programs with a proven track record of helping founders, we will ensure LaunchVic supports our rapidly growing ecosystem,” Cornick said.

Founded in 2017, ANDHealth is a digital healthtech commercialisation program established by a consortium of commercial and government partners. As at December 2021, the accelerator has helped its cohort raise $74.3 million, facilitate 177 product releases and 23 international market launches.

The fresh funding has paved the way for a new project – dubbed the ANDHealth Activate program – which is designed to connect the next wave of health innovators with investment and commercialisation opportunities.

Backed exclusively by LaunchVic, the initiative will provide a nine-month curriculum-based program to support Victorian digital health companies to become investment and enterprise customer-ready.

The program will be run out of the Victorian Connected Health Innovation and Commercialisation Centre (CHICC) in Melbourne, which ANDHealth received $2.4 million from the State government last month to establish.

ANDHealth Activate and other programs run out of CHICC will see the accelerator support more than 600 participants, create 100 new jobs, initiate 50-plus new clinical studies, and give 400,000 patients access to emerging health technologies over the next five years.

ANDHealth CEO and managing director Bronwyn Le Grice said the combined $3.8 million in funding is one of the most significant investments into the commercialisation of Victoria’s digital health sector to date.

“We are excited to be able to offer the ANDHealth Activate program, which will support high-growth digital health companies to navigate the complex commercialisation pathway in evidence-based digital health,” Grice added.

“Participants will benefit from a dedicated training and co-working facility, and access to the expertise of national and international executives in residence.”

Meanwhile, Sydney-based climate tech accelerator Climate Salad will receive $1.4 million to launch a Global Impact Incubator and generate $2.4 million worth of investments into startups in the sustainability space.

LaunchVic’s funding will cover operational costs and enable an $800,000 investment into participating startups. By 2030, Climate Salad is aiming to have impacted 1,000 climate tech companies by getting them a customer, team member or investor on board.

Antler – which has invested in Australian companies like upcover, One Key Access and Vyro - will use the funding to expand its presence in Victoria and hire a local team that will accelerate its activities in the State.

Founded five years ago in Singapore, the VC has a total portfolio value of $2.5 billion, having invested in more than 600 companies across 23 cities worldwide.

According to LaunchVic, Melbourne’s early-stage Ecosystem Value has more than doubled in a year – soaring 126 per cent from $10.5 billion to be worth $23.6 billion.

Victoria is now home to more than 2,650 startups, which have created 58,572 jobs in the state as of June 2022.

“Supporting growth in early-stage startups is critical to ensuring there is a continued pipeline of scaling companies that can contribute to Victoria’s economic prosperity,” Minister for Innovation, Medical Research, and the Digital Economy, Jaala Pulford said.

Established by the Victorian government in 2016, LaunchVic has invested in 19 accelerator programs, helping more than 600 Victorians launch their startups.

The fresh investment round comes two months after the startup agency selected nine of Victoria’s top emerging businesses to participate in its new 30X30 program, which hopes to see 30 Garden State-based startups reach unicorn status by 2030.

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