$49.2 million banked in this week’s round-up of exciting deals

Over the past week, innovative minds in the health sector were spotted by powerful investors keen to see their ideas in the hands of people who need it most.

From fighting HIV to empowering people with alcohol addiction, life saving ways to use technology star in this week’s round-up of exciting deals.

Australia’s largest venture capital firm also gets a special mention for investing in its biggest cross-border deal yet.

These are the startups that scored, the investors that splurged, and how the money will be spent.


What they do: Atomo is a Sydney-based biotech startup with offices in South Africa and the UK. It develops tech-driven diagnostic tools that make tests for HIV, malaria and Ebola more accurate and affordable. Earlier this year, Atomo closed a $4.5 million round led by Global Health Investment Fund, which is co-owned by the Gates Foundation. Bill and Melinda Gates are on a mission to wipe out malaria in their lifetimes.

Founded by: John Kelly

How much: Secured a $3.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What happens now: Atomo Diagnostics will use the funding to develop a next-generation HIV self-test for millions of people in low and middle-income countries.

Kelly says there is global consensus on the power of HIV self-testing to reach at-risk individuals who are not attending clinics or existing facilities to get tested.

“We have sought always to develop simple, low-cost solutions that remove errors common with the current generation of ‘bits in a box’ test kits,” Kelly says.

“This grant is an endorsement of our innovative user-friendly approach to testing and our commitment to making a positive impact on global health.”


What they do: TEXTCARE is an SMS-based service to help people with chronic disease live healthier lifestyles. It’s being developed by the George Institute for Global Health, a non-profit organisation.

Project led by: Dr Clara Chow

How much: $750,000 grant from Google Impact Challenge

What happens now: Chow says she never imagined she’d win the Google Impact Challenge and is looking forward to using the funds to roll out the service to 100,000 patients with chronic disease over the next 24 months.

“It’s a highly personalised support service to help patients change their lifestyles and hopefully take their treatment,” Chow told StartupSmart


What they do: Day Break is a smart app to actively help people manage and recover from alcohol addiction. It combines data from the experiences of 100,000 people with alcohol dependency collected by non-profit Hello Sunday Morning over nearly seven years.

Project led by: Hello Sunday Morning general manager Jamie Moore.

How much: $750,000 grant from Google Impact Challenge.

What happens now: Moore says the funding will be used to advance development of the app so users are prompted with the right information at the right time to keep them on track.

“The money from Google is specifically for machine learning and reinforcing the social networking part,” Moore told StartupSmart. 


What they do: AirTree Ventures is one of Australia’s leading VC firms. It aims to back world-class entrepreneurs in the Australia-New Zealand region and has set up the nation’s biggest tech VC fund with $250 million.

Founded by: Craig Blair and Daniel Petre.

How much: Contributed an “eight figure sum” to multinational Paxata’s $44.1 million funding round.

What happens now: Blair says the deal will not only put them in the boardroom of a world-leading tech company but it will also increase the profile of Australian VCs in the global arena.

Blair told StartupSmart there will be more of these cross-border deals to come.

“It helps the whole ecosystem,” he says.

“This is part of the globalisation of venture.”

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