Health insurance company Bupa has launched a $20 million VC fund, Bupa Ventures, to back Australian healthcare startups.
Bupa Ventures will support early-stage investment from Seed to Series A and will look to support startups across a broad spectrum of health sectors. Its early focus includes predictive and preventative healthcare, genomics, home care and remote monitoring, with an objective to make the sector more personal and less fragmented.
Bupa APAC CEO Nick Stone said the startups the fund backs will play a critical role in the future of healthcare, accelerating innovations that make a difference to the insurer’s customers and the wider community.
“Startups are agile and move quickly to solve problems that meet customer needs, supported by new technologies and design,” he said.
“We know we need to do more to modernise healthcare, we all have a role to play in delivering healthcare that is more personalised and less fragmented which places the patient at the centre,”
The British-founded global non-profit health insurance fund has been active in the Australian and New Zealand startup ecosystems in recent years after launching a global eco-Disruptive program won in 2022 by Sydney startup Cassava Bags, which provided £200,000 (A$390,000) in funding to the winner on top of an initial $48,000 to the finalists to develop their idea.
Cassava, one of six local finalists in 2022, produces biodegradable and compostable bags made from the Cassava root, which can dissolve in water within minutes. The company also raised more than $760,000 in equity crowdfunding.
Nick Stone said the move into venture capital is “the natural next step” in expanding innovation at Bupa, and while they will be searching for opportunities, founders can also apply for investment via Bupa Ventures website.
“Our teams across Bupa APAC are already working hand-in-hand with innovative startups to help us achieve our sustainability goals through our eco-Disruptive program; while simultaneously we have been growing our skills in artificial intelligence through hackathons and in-house learning academies,” he said.
“We plan to give startups supported by Bupa Ventures working access to Bupa teams and resources so they can expand their offering into Bupa’s global customer-base which extends across five continents.”