Humanitech backs seven innovative start-ups tackling humanity's toughest challenges with technology

Humanitech backs seven innovative start-ups tackling humanity's toughest challenges with technology 


From promoting reforestation through drone technology, to empowering undocumented people with digital identity, Humanitech has announced the successful applicants of its innovation program. 

Seven start-ups will receive support to scale their impact through this year’s Humanitech Lab, an innovation program designed to support organisations addressing pressing social and humanitarian issues through technological innovation. 

The program is spearheaded by Humanitech, an initiative of Australian Red Cross, that is focused on harnessing the power of technology for good by putting humanity first.  

Thanks to funding from founding partner, Telstra Foundation, the program will provide successful organisations with $50,000 in funding alongside support to validate their approaches to ethical and inclusive technological design.  

The Humanitech Lab Innovation Program supports organisations developing and applying digital technology to solve humanitarian challenges to validate, pilot and scale solutions through provision of grant funding, capability building, and network development.     


The 2022 Humanitech Lab cohort: 

  • AirSeed – an environmental restoration company using interdisciplinary technology to create drone-planting solutions for landholders and communities impacted by extreme weather events and natural disasters. 
  • Hold Access - A digital wallet that empowers First Nations people and undocumented individuals to hold diverse identification with access to full capabilities in their control. 
  • Kara Technologies - a start-up providing fast and on-demand sign language for emergency information for the deaf community using digital humans (avatars).  
  • Maya Cares – a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence enabling Bla(c)k Women and Women of Colour and their communities to access real-time information and support when experiencing racism. 
  • Performl - a start-up creating a social sector intelligence platform to support decision-makers to address social inequality and better meet people's social support needs. 
  • Readi4Anything - Australia’s first, national all hazards mobile app for fast and reliable information on bushfires, cyclones, flood events and more. 
  • She’s A Crowd – an organisation using geolocative technology, data analytics, and artificial intelligence to support decision-makers to access unique data to apply a gender lens to inform policy, planning and prevention activities. 

“These organisations are combining cutting-edge technology with community knowledge to create real-world change,” said Adelide Mutinda, Humanitech’s Innovation Program Manager. 

“We hope the program creates the opportunity to scale these innovations and their potential for impact, while also demonstrating the power of designing technology alongside real people to learn from their experience,” Ms Mutinda said. 

During the first stage of the program, the cohort will access industry expertise and mentorship to test and refine their solution in a supportive environment. 

“These organisations are pioneering ambitious solutions to complex issues that can benefit from diverse expertise and skills,” said Jackie Coates, CEO Telstra Foundation. 

“Building strong collaborations between people and sectors through this program is an opportunity to expedite social change and climate action through technology,” she continued. 

The first stage of the program will run for six months, with additional support and grant funding of up to $650,000 available to the cohort to validate, pilot and scale their impact.  

The Humanitech Lab is a unique opportunity to combine funding, innovation, technical and community expertise to harness the opportunities provided by technological innovation to better serve humanity. 


About Humanitech: 

Humanitech, an initiative of Australian Red Cross, was established with the support from founding partner Telstra Foundation to explore approaches to designing and using technology where the benefits are shared equitably and risks are addressed. We convene partners across sectors to create insights into the humanitarian impact of technology, test and amplify innovative approaches to technological design, and influence for safe, equitable and inclusive uses of data and technology. 

About Telstra Foundation: 

Telstra Foundation is Telstra’s philanthropic arm. Our purpose is to enable social change through technology by investing in impactful, tech-enabled projects led by non-profits that benefit under-served communities. We invest in innovative projects that build digital skills for young people and community led climate action enabled by tech. We partner with Humanitech to foster start-ups using data and technology to tackle complex humanitarian challenges and empower communities.

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