Health insurer Bupa is on the hunt for ‘eco-disruptive’ startups to back

- August 11, 2023 2 MIN READ
Cassava Bags
Cassava Bags cofounders Chun Lau, Telusa Mapapalangi, and Bruce Rossi.
Startups from Australian or New Zealand could score up to $48,000 (£25,000) from health insurer Bupa as part of its 2023 eco-Disruptive program

The program connects selected startups with the Bupa team, supported by £25,000 in initial funding to develop their solutions to the biggest challenges threatening our planet.

The global competition goes on to offer £200,000 ($390,000) in additional funding to further scale the winning solution. 

Bupa Asia Pacific chief sustainability officer Roger Sharp said the eco-Disruptive program aims to encourage a greater understanding of the link between the health of people and the health of planet earth. 

“We want to start a movement for sustainable innovation by harnessing the passion of our people  and the start-up communities across the Asia-Pacific region,” he said. 

“Unlike big businesses, startups often have the ability to move fast and innovate which is valuable  given we are all in a race to Net Zero. That’s why supporting the start-up community is a really important strategy for us.” 

It’s the third year the eco-Disruptive program has run with Australian startup Cassava Bags winning the global competition in 2022.

The Sydney startup, one of six local finalists in the competition, produces biodegradable and compostable bags made from the Cassava root, which can dissolve in water within minutes. Last month the company raised more than $760,000 from 519 investors on the equity crowdfunding platform Birchal.

Sharp said Cassava was also able to embed its products across Bupa’s operations. 

“By working with innovative startups who are focused on sustainable solutions, we’re working to  create a culture for our people to find new ways to address environmental issues and to consider how we can restore and regenerate nature, especially in our cities,” he said.

Entries for Bupa’s 2023 eco-Disruptive program is now open for expressions of interest from start-ups across Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Applications close August 22. Details here