Medical Startups at the Melbourne Accelerator Program Launch Party 2016

Melbourne Accelerator Launch Party 2016. Photo: The Medical Startup
Melbourne Accelerator Launch Party 2016. Photo: The Medical Startup

The Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) 2016 Launch Party last night was the first accelerator event we’ve attended, and it was a great introduction to Melbourne’s startup scene.

MAP’s Startup Accelerator awards each team with AU$20,000 equity-free, dedicated mentoring, office space, and opportunities to pitch across Melbourne, Sydney and even Silicon Valley. This year’s ten winning teams presented their 3-minute pitches to a packed Plaza Ballroom in Melbourne’s Collins St. In a nice gesture showing the warmth of the MAP community, each winner introduced the next presenter in relay team fashion.

Two of the winning teams were founded by medical doctors who are solving problems they’ve experienced first-hand with their patients.

“Imagine going to hospital, safe in the knowledge that medical errors are a thing of the past,” said Dr Chandrashan Perera, Ophthalmology registrar and founder of Nebula Health (formerly named Axon). Dr Perera explained how, in a landmark WHO trial, checklist implementation in clinical settings was shown to potentially reduce mortality by 50%. Nebula Health‘s IT platform builds upon this by generating workflows around each patient, which are then delivered to each carer at the right time. Nebula Health will do this intuitively so clinicians won’t be burdened having to learn another complicated software system in hospital. We can imagine the enormous benefits this could have with efficiency and risk reduction in surgical and other procedural specialties like cardiology and gastroenterology.

A/Prof Ajeet Singh from CNSdose is a psychiatrist and pharmacogeneticist who aims to tailor antidepressant prescriptions to a patient’s unique genetic profile.  Using precision medicine, a patient’s saliva sample is sent to an authorised lab and the results are sent to the doctor indicating which antidepressants are most likely to work. Prof Singh showed a remission rate of 72% in 148 patients studied through a randomised-controlled clinical trial published last August. “We have 3 value propositions; simpler prescribing for doctors, better outcomes for patients, and lower costs to society (in minimising prescribing costs),” he said. In a big win for their team, Prof announced that former Federal Trade Minister Andrew Robb has joined their advisory board. They are also working on distribution deals internationally. 

Another relevant healthcare startup, Kind aims to transform aged care in the community. Founder Lee told his moving story of how he was dissatisfied when he had to experience the aged care system with his mother. After speaking to others who felt the same way, he decided to create Kind, which will “connect carers with seniors in the community.” By focusing on safety and quality, performing rigorous background checks with potential carers, he looks forward to introducing Kind further once it goes live.

If you’re learning about startups, watching as many pitches as possible will help your knowledge. The other eight winners included:

  • Deliciou‘s healthy bacon-flavoured seasoning;
  • Allume‘s solar and grid-sharing renewable energy company;
  • Honees booking and reviews platform for health, fitness and wellness businesses;
  • Onomap‘s customer data analytics platform;
  • Black’s community of hackers for a smarter world;
  • BajaBoard‘s multi-terrain skateboard; and
  • Shacky‘s tiny houses for farmstays.

As MAP Program Director Rohan Workman said, the Melbourne Accelerator Program is ranked 8th of 1200 university accelerator programs in the world. This year’s MAP winners have benefited from Australia Post’s extra funding of 2 additional winners (there were 8 recipients last year), and Entrepreneur-in-Residence Jeremy Kraybill told the room, “We want to get as many of you involved as possible.” Acknowledging the perceived glamour of entrepreneurship, he continued, “entrepreneurship has an extremely high sweat to fireworks ratio, and tomorrow that hard work continues for the ten teams tonight, and everyone in this room.” With MAP‘s array of free programs for the wider community, it’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Melbourne, and we wish this year’s winners the best success with their work.  

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