Breakthrough Victoria Fund

What is the Breakthrough Victoria Fund?

The Breakthrough Victoria Fund is an initiative to drive investment in translational research, innovation and commercialisation outcomes to accelerate growth in key industry sectors and create jobs.

 

Background

The $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund will drive investment in research, innovation and commercialisation.

Key industry sectors will be:

  • health and life sciences
  • agrifood
  • advanced manufacturing
  • clean economy
  • digital technologies

This Fund is expected to catalyse significant investment from other industry, university and government sources and is expected to create 15,700 new jobs over 10 years.

The Victorian Government has established a new company, Breakthrough Victoria Pty Ltd, to oversee the Fund. The company, overseen by an expert independent board, will develop an investment plan to identify priority investments and facilitate partnerships between industry and research institutes.

The company will harness the expertise of leaders from industry, business, knowledge institutes and the finance sector. It will also draw on best-practice approaches from other leading jurisdictions.

 

Objective

We know Victoria has some of the best scientists and knowledge institutes in the world, producing some of the best research – that’s why investing now is critical to accelerate translational research, innovation and commercialisation outcomes.

This approach is estimated to create 15,700 jobs over 10 years in key industry sectors such as agri-food, advanced manufacturing, clean economy, health and life sciences, and digital technologies.

The Fund will cement Victoria’s international reputation as a destination for investment, research and global talent.

 

Funding

Up to $2 billion funding will be available.

 

Eligible Projects

The Breakthrough Victoria Fund will support research and development adoption and commercialisation outcomes across Victoria. It will support projects delivered in partnership with knowledge institutes and industry stakeholders, anchored at key innovation and employment precincts, including Parkville, Arden Macauley, Fishermans Bend, Latrobe Bundoora and Monash Clayton.

Investments will prioritise projects that have strong commercial potential to accelerate productivity, grow exports, support domestic manufacturing and create jobs.

An investment plan will be developed to guide the Fund’s investments. This plan will focus on projects that foster collaborative partnerships between industry, business and research institutes to deliver sector-wide, or multi-sector, benefits.

State funding will seek to leverage contributions from industry, research institutes and other partners, including from the finance and philanthropic sector.

 

More Information

 

Latest News

Cyban, a Victorian medtech startup, has successfully concluded a $6.3 million Series A funding round, notably securing a substantial $2 million investment from Breakthrough Victoria, the state’s innovation fund. This funding injection, announced by Victorian Minister for Economic Growth Tim Pallas, represents a pivotal moment for Cyban in advancing its patented Brain Pulse Monitor. The grant from Breakthrough Victoria serves as a strategic catalyst, specifically aiding Cyban in its pursuit of approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the innovative technology. This financial backing is expected to accelerate the medtech’s mission, allowing for expedited FDA submission and potential deployment of the monitors in major US hospitals next year. Cyban’s founder, Dr Barry Dixon, expresses gratitude for Breakthrough Victoria’s investment, highlighting its crucial role in fast-tracking the market entry of their groundbreaking brain monitoring technology, ultimately transforming global approaches to detecting and managing brain injuries.

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Breakthrough Victoria has announced a significant investment in Atmo Biosciences to support the development and commercialisation of an innovative gas-sensing capsule. This ingestible capsule, about the size of a vitamin pill, can provide real-time data on the human gastrointestinal system by detecting gases within the gut. It offers a non-invasive and accurate approach, enabling the diagnosis of functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) and allowing patients to maintain their daily routines.

Atmo Biosciences aims to address the prevalent issue of gastrointestinal disorders, where current diagnostic methods often fall short, leaving many sufferers undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. The gas-sensing capsule technology, initially developed at RMIT University in 2011 and further developed by Atmo, has the potential to revolutionise this field.

The breakthrough innovation is currently undergoing pivotal clinical studies for motility disorders, with trials planned for conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, and liver disease. It could also serve as a diagnostic tool for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth in the future.

This investment follows Atmo Biosciences’ successful Series B funding round, with a Series C round in the pipeline to fund commercialisation and manufacturing expansion in 2024. With this support from Breakthrough Victoria, Atmo Biosciences is well-positioned to make a global impact in the realm of gastrointestinal health.

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Breakthrough Victoria has initiated research commercialisation partnerships valued at $87 million with five universities in Victoria, namely Deakin University, La Trobe University, Monash University, RMIT, and Swinburne. These partnerships will provide startups emerging from these universities with access to pre-seed investments, expected to total around $500,000. The state government’s startup support agency is contributing $43.5 million in matched funding to these universities through its University Innovation Platform. RMIT has committed $7.5 million, while the other universities have each committed $9 million.

Initially, $100 million was allocated over five years for this initiative, leaving $13 million uncommitted. These pre-seed investments are tailored to meet the specific needs of the university partners and aim to support startups during the critical concept, prototype, and trial stages. Additionally, researchers and academics will receive support to enhance their entrepreneurial capabilities.

Breakthrough Victoria’s CEO, Grant Dooley, emphasises the importance of advancing the commercialisation of research in Victoria and keeping innovative ideas within the region. Various universities express their intentions to leverage the fund for research in diverse fields such as digital health, AI, disease detection, food security, aerospace, MedTech, and manufacturing.

Victoria’s Minister for Industry and Innovation, Ben Carroll, highlights the government’s commitment to translating university research into local and global commercial opportunities.

Breakthrough Victoria, founded in 2021, manages the state government’s $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund, supporting innovation and commercialisation efforts. In June 2022, prior to the University Innovation Platform, Breakthrough Victoria co-launched the University of Melbourne’s $15 million Genesis pre-seed fund to support early-stage research and foster seed-fund-ready companies.

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In a transformative move, the Andrews Labor Government’s Breakthrough Victoria program is fueling a game-changing development by local startup Navi Medical Technologies. A $700,000 investment has been announced by Minister for Industry and Innovation Ben Carroll to support Navi’s Neonav ECG Tip Location System, designed to enhance care for critically ill newborns and children.

The Neonav system tackles a pressing issue: almost 50% of procedures involving central venous catheters in infants lead to life-threatening complications due to placement errors or catheter migration. Navi’s solution is a non-invasive technology that provides real-time guidance to clinicians, significantly reducing risks. This advancement aligns with Victoria’s thriving medical technology sector, home to 650 medtech companies employing around 6,000 individuals.

Breakthrough Victoria’s support underscores the government’s commitment to fostering local innovation and driving economic growth. The Neonav ECG Tip Location System not only showcases the potential for groundbreaking medical advancements in Victoria but also demonstrates collaboration between government initiatives and pioneering startups in reshaping critical healthcare practices.

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A sportstech startup based in Geelong, Zena Sport, has secured a substantial investment of $148,000 from Breakthrough Victoria. This funding forms part of Zena Sport’s initial external fundraising efforts and is set to play a crucial role in the company’s expansion strategy. Zena Sport has gained recognition for its groundbreaking impact protection gear, notably the world’s sole scientifically tested chest protection vest designed for women and girls participating in contact sports such as AFL, rugby, basketball, and soccer.

The grant provided by Breakthrough Victoria will empower Zena Sport to expand its operations on a global scale, with a focus on bolstering marketing campaigns across Australia, the US, and Europe. The startup has intentions to fortify its business development team and aims to generate up to 12 new local job opportunities within a two-year span. The financial support will also contribute to the progression of product development, ultimately leading to the unveiling of an enhanced iteration of their Z1 Vest, thus broadening their product range.

Established in 2018 by Donna and Brad Johnson, Zena Sport is dedicated to addressing the requirement for specialised protective equipment tailored to women participating in sports. The investment not only furnishes financial backing but also underscores the faith in the significance of Zena Sport’s offerings. Noteworthy additional investors encompass Carbine, the Smorgon Family, and Euphemia.

Grant Dooley, the CEO of Breakthrough Victoria, has spotlighted Zena Sport’s potential to attain global growth and generate local employment prospects. He has accentuated the impact of the scientifically validated design of the Z1 Vest in providing injury protection to women and girls involved in contact sports, enabling their participation without trepidation of injury. The partnership between Zena Sport and Deakin University likewise underscores the startup’s dedication to propelling research into the hazards and repercussions of breast injuries.

This investment arrives on the heels of Zena Sport’s recent triumph in securing one of Amazon Australia’s Launchpad Innovation Grants, thereby further solidifying the startup’s unwavering commitment to advancing safety and inclusivity within the realm of women’s sports.

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The Andrews Labor Government in Victoria is taking the lead in advancing manufacturing through initiatives such as the Breakthrough Victoria Fund. Directed Technologies, backed by the government, has recently unveiled the Connected Mobility Innovation Centre in Tullamarine. With a $1.5 million investment and located at their $15 million Headquarters, this centre is set to create nearly 60 new jobs over the next three years while expanding export markets. Directed Technologies specialises in the design of navigational systems for fleet vehicles, prioritising safety and efficiency by considering factors like vehicle dimensions and weight. The innovation centre will further develop smart sensors to monitor driver fatigue, tire pressure, and refrigerated cargo temperature, providing real-time information improvements for clients like Australia Post.

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The Governor of Victoria Startup Awards recently recognized leading startups and entrepreneurs in Victoria, Australia. The awards were supported by Her Excellency the Honourable Linda Dessau, the Governor of Victoria, and the winners were celebrated at a reception held at Government House.

Mr Yum, a popular food ordering app, was honored with the Startup of the Year award. The app played a crucial role in helping local hospitality businesses stay afloat during the pandemic and has now evolved into an operating system that helps businesses grow their brands and offerings.

Zeller, a fintech firm, received the Scaleup of the Year award. The company achieved a remarkable feat by reaching a $1 billion valuation in the fastest time ever recorded for an Australian company. Zeller has expanded its staff to over 220 employees and amassed a customer base of 35,000 businesses within its first three years of operation.

Willed, an online tool enabling individuals to create a legal will in just 15 minutes, was recognized as the Best Newcomer. Developed in 2020 by a team of legal and tech experts, Willed aims to make end-of-life planning more affordable and accessible for all Australians.

Dr Elena Kelareva, the CEO of GippsTech, was named the Regional Ecosystem Hero of the Year. Dr Kelareva has brought digital innovation to Gippsland through initiatives such as Startup Gippsland and the establishment of a co-working space for regional innovators and entrepreneurs.

Additional individual winners at the awards included Emily Casey, who received the Ecosystem Hero of the Year award for her contributions to enhancing the Australian health tech community. Nick Crocker and Rachael Neumann were jointly named Investor of the Year for their efforts in mobilizing capital for early-stage founders.

The Victorian Government continues to support the state’s startup ecosystem through various initiatives. In the Victorian Budget 2023/24, an additional $5 million has been allocated to LaunchVic’s Alice Anderson Fund, aimed at supporting more startups led by women in Victoria. This investment complements existing funding, including the $2 billion Breakthrough Victoria Fund.

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FLAIM Systems, a virtual reality-based technology for training firefighters, has announced a $6.7 million Series A round, led by the Victorian government investment vehicle Breakthrough Victoria. This funding will help the company with its expansion and R&D, and it anticipates 25 new hires by 2026.

FLAIM is based at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus and its FLAIM Trainer product recreates the stress and randomness of real-world scenarios, with features such as a heat vest, haptics to make a replica firehose kick back, and the ability to collect data like stress levels, air and water usage, and other metrics.

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Monash University and Sheba Medical Center have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to research and develop equitable healthcare models and medtech manufacturing opportunities in Victoria. The partnership is expected to enhance Victorian healthcare delivery and create new jobs in medtech research, manufacturing and export.

To support the MOU, the Andrews Labor Government will invest around $200,000 with Monash University’s Victorian Heart Institute to improve access to the latest technology and enable faster adoption of new treatments for cardiovascular diseases. The partnership is expected to pave the way for local companies to create new jobs in medtech research, manufacturing, and export.

The Labor Government has also supported several major medtech projects, including Breakthrough Victoria Fund, and investments into medtech startups through LaunchVic.

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Breakthrough Victoria has invested $8 million in local startup Quantum Brilliance, marking the state government-backed venture capital fund’s second investment in the quantum sector.

The funding will create nine additional positions at the Research Hub for Diamond Quantum Materials in Melbourne across Quantum Brilliance and its partners, La Trobe University and RMIT University. It will also go towards further developing the firm’s manufacturing and fabrication techniques.

Quantum Brilliance chief scientific officer Dr Marcus Doherty said the funding will support further work on developing “atom-scale fabrication techniques for qubits both important to the creation of quantum computers by Quantum Brilliance, but also high-performance quantum sensors being developed by others in Victoria”.

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The Andrews Labor Government is bringing new businesses and technologies to Victoria from overseas, attracting investments from companies that will create valuable local jobs now and in the future.

In Singapore last night, Minister for Trade and Investment Tim Pallas announced that deep-tech company Seventh Sense will establish an artificial intelligence (AI) research and development hub in Melbourne. The new investment will create more than 20 highly skilled jobs over three years. Mr Pallas is meeting with business leaders across Southeast Asia as part of a trade and investment mission.

Seventh Sense plans to collaborate with Victorian universities to explore opportunities and develop new technologies to solve industry problems. These partnerships will have the potential to create pathways for internships or graduate positions at the company.

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