The next generation of startups


Nicole McCallum

April 8, 2020

Technology companies are, by nature, adaptive and customer focused, and over the last few weeks, we have been inspired by our founders who are stepping up to address the current crisis in ways that deliver a social benefit.

Right now, the highest priorities are human health and well-being and that is what the founders of HealthMatch, Swoop and Wonde are tackling. These three incredible companies are part of a global pool of frontier-minded founders solving for challenges in the current climate and for people in need.

Opportunities exist for those founders who think creatively and make an impact on a global basis, and like many of the tech giants today that came out of the GFC, we believe Australian startups will persevere through this period to go on to greatness.

The great stories of the ‘impossible’ begin in the hardest times.

Startups are crucial to the Australian economy — now, and especially going forwards as we reshape and rebuild industries and services. This is why continued support of Australian tech startups, especially at early and seed stage, is necessary to grow our future technological capability and to help the country to rebound from COVID-19. In times like these, it’s innovation and creativity that will enable founders to step up and build the next generation of companies and products that we need the most.

HealthMatch accelerating COVID-19 treatment and vaccine research

Clinical trial matching platform HealthMatch pairs patients with lifesaving clinical trials. In response to the pandemic, HealthMatch is offering free patient recruitment to support medical researchers finding treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. This means highly efficient patient screening for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, NFP, universities, government and other organisations unified in the fight against COVID-19.

HealthMatch is offering free patient recruitment to medical researches who are fighting COVID-19.

It has also developed a free, public global clinical trial tracker to enable researchers and the general public to view clinical trial data in real time. The tracker, which will be progressively developed to provide more insights, will help keep people informed regarding diagnostics, treatments and cures for COVID-19. At the time of writing, over 3 million patients across 220 trials are being tracked, with six ending in the next month and nine already completed.

HealthMatch was founded to accelerate treatments and cures by more efficiently matching patients who need treatment with those trialling treatments. Four in five clinical trials are delayed or abandoned because they can’t recruit the right patients — the current crisis puts in the spotlight how urgent this problem can be in a race against an illness. But for many patients with cancer or chronic illnesses, this urgency around delayed research is a daily concern.

HealthMatch partners with global pharmaceutical companies, such as Hoffman La-Roche, to reduce this bottleneck experienced in a research industry worth $200 billion.

By working with pharmaceuticals and other medical research organisations HealthMatch will not only shape the bounds of healthcare for future generations but will also accelerate the time taken to find a cure to stop the pandemic.

Swoop fighting coronavirus in Africa and beyond

In the current COVID-19 climate, Swoop Aero’s medical logistics network plays a crucial role. And they’re already supporting Malawi in combatting the effects of coronavirus.

Swoop Aero was founded to transform the way the world moves life-changing supplies. They enable on-demand healthcare with aeromedical logistics, and their goal is to turn the dial on global health by providing a service that reaches 100 million people by 2025.

Swoop’s 3D printed drones are capable of travelling over 140km at 100km/h and carry up to 4kg of high value and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and pathology to the most remote and rural communities.

Their software enables pilots to communicate with the drones at all times from anywhere in the world. Combined with the efforts of the trained local staff in the country of operation, Swoop Aero is able to run the network from outside the country of operation.

In fact, they recently became the world’s first internationally piloted drone delivery network.

After COVID-19 forced its on-the-ground team to leave Africa. Swoop wanted to continue to support the Malawian government’s response to the accelerating numbers of coronavirus cases, despite the Australian team having to return home in line with travel restrictions.

People need to continue to receive all necessary medicines despite restrictions on travel and strains on health services. Swoop is working to keep the global health sector operating, and in a cost-effective, safe and reliable way

In one flight, Swoop is able to carry between eight-ten COVID-19 testing kits without the need for human-to-human contact. By leveraging drones, vulnerable people in isolation can still access their regular medicines and healthcare facilities will have continued medical supplies to deal with the increasing demand.

Swoop can reliably and safely deliver COVID-19 testing kits across Australia and the world.

As the pandemic spreads, healthcare systems from Australia and beyond will have a growing need to access quality healthcare. Swoop ensures that during this time of high demand, everyone no matter where they are can access the healthcare they need.

Wonde feeds hungry kids during COVID-19 lockdowns

As schools are closing in the UK (and around the world) to help slow the spread of coronavirus, there are growing concerns that disadvantaged UK children will go hungry. In fact, for 1.3 million children in the UK from low-income families, their school lunch is often the only decent (and hot) meal they will eat that day.

Wonde is a Folklore edtech company with a data-security and app management software that enables schools to safely and easily deploy education applications across the school’s administration and curriculum. But as of last week, they are now ensuring disadvantaged children do not go hungry while UK schools are closed.

Wonde is ensuring disadvantage children do not go hungry during UK school COVID-19 closures.

In response to concerns over school closures, the UK government offered meal vouchers or meal packages to low-income families whose children are usually eligible for free school lunches. However, no online mechanism to deliver these vouchers existed because the school lunch program was only ever deployed physically within schools.

In stepped Wonde, which already services 15,000+ schools and 25+ million children in the UK, Australia, and NZ.

Wonde co-founder, Peter Dabrowa, along with his team, watched as the UK school closure press conference unfolded, and realised Wonde had the power to support students and their families by digitally delivering meal vouchers directly to parents.

In under a week, Wonde built and deployed a technology solution that is now facilitating the distribution of these meal vouchers to parents and children who need it most.

At the time of writing, there are 3,260 schools (and growing) using the platform. And Wonde has distributed nearly £4.2 million worth of meal vouchers to families in need.

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