$87m for research spinouts through Victorian Unis

Brandon How

Breakthrough Victoria has launched $87 million worth of research commercialisation partnerships with Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT, and Swinburne.

Startups spun out of the five universities will have access to pre-seed investments, expected to be worth around $500,000, through the new partnerships.

The state government’s startup support agency committed $43.5 million in matched funding to the five universities through its University Innovation Platform on Monday.

RMIT has committed $7.5 million in funding to its partnership, whereas the other universities have each committed $9 million respectively.

Breakthrough Victoria chief executive Grant Dooley.

Initially, $100 million was earmarked over a five-year period for Breakthrough Victoria’s University Innovation Platform in June last year. This leaves a remaining $13 million of uncommitted funds.

The pre-seed investments, co-designed with the university partners to meet their particular needs, will help startups bridge the funding valley of death often encountered during the concept, prototype, and trial stages.

Through the fund, researchers and academics will also receive support in developing their entrepreneurial capability.

Breakthrough Victoria chief executive Grant Dooley said the program was an important step towards increasing the commercialisation of cutting-edge research produced in Victoria.

“Our universities are producing life changing research and innovations, but we underperform when it comes to translating these home-grown ideas into Victorian companies that can develop and manufacture their innovation locally for a global market,” Mr Dooley said.

“By setting up dedicated partnerships to invest in startups coming out of Victorian universities, we can help move life changing research out of the lab and into the market right here in Victoria instead of seeing it being commercialised overseas.”

La Trobe University senior deputy vice-chancellor (research and industry engagement) Professor Susan Dodds said the fund would help the university translate its “pioneering research in areas such as digital health, AI, disease detection and treatment, and food security”.

Meanwhile, the fund will be used at Swinburne University to “continue to create impact at scale in fields like aerospace, MedTech, and manufaturing”, according to vice-president, innovation and enterprise Dr Werner van der Merwe.

Victoria’s Minister for Industry and Innovation Ben Carroll said the state government is “backing the translation of unique research and development from our world class universities into commercial opportunities locally and globally”.

“This partnership between Victorian universities and Breakthrough Victoria will ensure our brightest ideas grow locally,” Mr Carroll added.

In June 2022, before the University Innovation Platform was announced, Breakthrough Victoria co-launched the University of Melbourne’s $15 million Genesis pre-seed fund to invest in early-stage research, ideas, and new technologies.

It was also expected to improve access to University networks and mentoring to create seed-fund-ready-companies.

Breakthrough Victoria was founded in 2021 to manage the state governments $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund in support of innovation and commercialisation.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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