Health fund HCF’s startup accelerator, HCF Catalyst, is looking for new ideas for the sector, announcing the return of the program for 2016.
The not-for-profit fund launched Australia’s first corporate-supported healthtech accelerator with Slingshot last year and counts Curo Technologies, the phone app that helps elderly people to maintain their independence, among its initial successes. Melbourne-based Curo scored a $1 million investment from HCF in a deal signed last month.
Curo CEO Tim McDougall said HCF’s commitment was significant in both its investment and time with the leadership team.
“It has helped to shape Curo today and is an example of how corporates should work with startups,” he said.
Another app, designed by two doctors at Sydney’s Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, to help improve how people with cancer are treated, scored $1.25 million in funding.
CF’s chief strategy officer Sheena Jack said the company was keen to adopt new technologies and business models to meet the needs of their 1.5 million members.
“The first year of HCF Catalyst demonstrated that startups can make a lasting impact in the healthcare industry and we are eager to work with a new cohort of entrepreneurs to develop innovative and disruptive ideas that can improve the wellbeing of everyone,” she said.
HCF Catalyst has revealed four key themes for this year’s round as it seeks applications from entrepreneurs for the 12-week program help them develop the business models and investment to succeed.
• Making health care more affordable
• Making health care more understandable
• Delivering high quality health care
• Making health care more customer-centric
Slingshot CEO Karen Lawson said her organisation was pleased to be partnering with HCF for a second year.
“HCF has proven that it is committed to building a culture of innovation and nurturing the new technologies and services that will improve the quality, accessibility and effectiveness of health and medical solutions,” she said.
Lawson said the investment terms have been tweaked this year to make them more flexible.
“We recognise that startups enter a corporate accelerator program with a variety of needs. Some want seed capital, while others want access to high quality mentors and some are attracted to content we provide,” she said.
“This time around, Slingshot will negotiate with startups on the basis of their personal needs. It is not just a standard dollar figure for equity anymore.”
People can apply for HCF Catalyst online here. Applications close on 25 November, 2016, and finalists will pitch their ideas at Atlassian’s Sydney HQ on 6-7 December. The cohort will be announced in early 2017.
Here’s what the demo day resulting from last year’s program looked like. It’s the result of six startups and three scaleups being selected from 250 applications for the accelerator program: