Three Australian start-ups are receiving a funding boost this week as part of Humanitech’s Innovation Lab, which supports new organisations applying emerging technology to social and humanitarian issues to validate, pilot and scale their impact.
Supported by founding partner, Telstra Foundation, the successful start-ups will each receive $100,000 to validate their business case through a pilot, accessing industry experts and support to work closely with a community that has been impacted by the start-up’s area of focus.
The selected organisations include a flood forecasting tool to improve the emergency response cycle – most recently used in Australia’s east coast floods, a climate intelligence platform enabling communities to prepare for the impact of heat events driven by climate change, and a multilingual communication app empowering culturally and linguistically diverse women to navigate Australian healthcare settings.
“Working with these organisations, we are able to explore how technologies can be scaled to address wicked problems – and also the challenges that frontier technology creators may face when trying to do things differently,” said Alastair Pryor, Humanitech Lab Manager.
As an initiative of Australian Red Cross, supported by founding partner Telstra Foundation, Humanitech’s Innovation Lab launched last year to provide a unique opportunity to emerging start-ups. It combines funding, innovation, technical and community expertise to ensure new and emerging technologies are being utilised in a way that considers their impact on people and communities.
“Technology has the power to solve pressing challenges in society, but integrating people and communities in the design and development process is key to doing this successfully,” said Jackie Coates, Head of Telstra Foundation.
“Humanitech’s Innovation Lab is generating important insights through sharing, collaboration and experimentation on the new approaches required to developing and scaling technology for social impact," Ms Coates continued.
From a global pool of more than 120 applications, six organisations completed the first stage of Humanitech’s Innovation Lab to validate their idea, including Climasens, FloodMapp and Good Hood.
The second stage provides an important opportunity for the start-ups to deepen their understanding and connection with communities that are experiencing vulnerability - whether that be through climate change, disaster, or unmet accessibility needs.
“We’ve seen communities ready and willing to work with the cohort to explore alternative approaches to pressing humanitarian problems through frontier technology,” Mr Pryor continued.
“It’s exciting to see what opportunities are possible when combining these start-ups with technological innovation, partnerships and community.”