Entrepreneurs’ ‘Big Ideas’ Offer New Collaboration Opportunities in the Gold Coast
NEWS - 15 Feb 2023
The Gold Coast’s rapidly expanding innovation ecosystem ‘Lumina’ continues to stimulate a culture of collaboration in 2023 by connecting entrepreneurs, researchers, government organisations and businesses. After two consecutive years of success, the ‘LuminaX’ accelerator program highlights the positive power of fostering these connections to create a thriving innovation community brimming with opportunities for those ready to join in.
The ‘LuminaX’ program is one of Australia’s leading early-stage HealthTech accelerator programs that attracts emerging leaders from around Australia with the next ‘big idea’ within HealthTech, MedTech, BioTech, or SportsTech. The highly selective program brings together regional stakeholders, mentors, and coaches to support and launch up to 10 startups each year, through an intensive 14 week in-person program of workshops covering customer validation, product development, AI discovery, and pitch preparation.
Participants are based at the ‘Cohort Innovation Space,’ within Lumina, where they learn how venture capitalists typically select the businesses they decide to invest in, and then pitch their solution at the formal Demo Night at the end of the program. The Demo Night event brings together about 200 investors, corporates, health leaders, technology experts, and program partners.
There are already many success stories showcasing the growth of companies who completed the LuminaX program. In 2022, the LuminaX program cohort collectively raised $1,000,000, and eight new commercial contracts were established during the program. Nearly all participants (90%) said they grew 2-3 times faster due to the program support.
In this article, we catch up with 2022 program winner MedaData, and 2021 winner Hearoes; both startup businesses who credit their time at LuminaX as supporting their upward trajectory, as they encourage other businesses to join them in the Lumina innovation community.
Hearoes is an auditory training program to help those with hearing loss or with new cochlear implants to track, adapt and improve their hearing. It uses evidence-based gamified activities to help patients recognise and identify new sounds. Founder and CEO Elliot Miller developed Hearoes in partnership with an audiologist and speech pathologist, to complement clinical hearing rehabilitation programs.
Two years since its official graduation from the LuminaX 2021 program, Hearoes has been able to scale and accelerate. Elliot said his company has benefited enormously from the program’s access to content in AI and compliance, connections to industry-leading advisors, exposure to investors, and networking opportunities with other, like-minded startups.
“The LuminaX program was incredible. It helped me to focus on developing Hearoes’ core offering, instead of trying to cater to all types of audience needs at once. The program helped me gain a stronger knowledge of the healthcare industry specifically and provided the foundational building blocks of growing a startup and compliance in healthcare,” Elliot said.
Other key benefits from the program Elliot experienced were access to networking events and a community of other entrepreneurs, and the opportunity to connect with advisors, some of whom went on to become investors in Hearoes.
“The access to networks and expert mentors and advisors, from investors to health researchers, has been invaluable. LuminaX provided us with the opportunity to work with the right people, who were crucial in helping us grow Hearoes,” he said.
“Since the LuminaX program, we’ve been able to obtain funding, double our team, and grow the business by 110% over the last 12 months. We’ve also had opportunities to contribute to research in the industry through collaborations with research leaders such as Griffith University and Bond University.”
“It’s incredibly motivating to support people around the world with the joys of hearing, and there is so much we can do in this space and beyond.”
In 2023, Elliot and his team have exciting plans, including further expanding into new markets overseas as they continue their mission to provide accessible auditory training to support, develop and enhance hearing health globally.
MedaData Co-Founders Siobhan Kelliher and Brock Ford are the most recent graduates of the LuminaX program and Cohort Prize winners of 2022. Their solution is AI-enabled, decision support software that aims to improve patient outcomes by reducing the frequency and severity of prescribing errors, a common and potentially dangerous issue across healthcare. It was important to Siobhan and Brock to find an accelerator program that could connect them with experts in the health space, specifically.
“We’ve participated in an accelerator before, however, it was industry agnostic, so not right for us. The biggest value that we’ve had from the LuminaX accelerator program was the network that we’ve been able to build, and the phenomenal mentors in the health industry that we have met and learnt from,” Brock said.
“It made the decision quite clear that this was the right accelerator program for us,” he said.
One of Siobhan and Brock’s most memorable mentors during the program was Dr. Brent Richards, Medical Director of Research Commercialisation and Professor of Critical Care Research at Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service.
“Dr. Richards gave us many important introductions; he really saw the benefit of what we’re trying to do. Very quickly through the program, and the networks that it brought, we were able to better align our strategic objectives and learn how we could potentially expedite our go-to-market and commercialisation prospects,” Siobhan said.
Siobhan and Brock also praised the collaborative environment within the wider Lumina community and the advantages of being near leading health institutions such as the Gold Coast University Hospital.
“Just yesterday, I walked over to the hospital to meet with the pharmacy department. Being close to these types of health facilities is very advantageous for us. Here it’s just so much simpler, so much easier, and there’s a real possibility of rapid growth if you put in the effort,” Siobhan said.
“The other members of the cohort were also a huge benefit. During the program, we were surrounded by other founders who all share the same positive energy and desire to change the world that we have. We all faced similar challenges, and so we could help each other. There was a real sense of camaraderie,” Brock said.
Although they have only recently completed the LuminaX accelerator, MedaData is on an exciting journey. Both Co-Founders credit the program with giving them the confidence to focus full-time on their MedaData business, and 2023 promises to be a productive one, with new partnerships and technical developments underway.
“We’re now starting the process of developing the full-stack software. In 2023 we will build that out and trial it within clinics and hospital settings, as proof of efficacy and patient benefits,” Brock said.
“It’s an exciting time for us. We will also be taking part in the global finals of the Entrepreneurship World Cup in March, after being crowned Australian National champions.”
“We are huge advocates for startups in the health space. It can be a tough journey, but having like-minded and experienced people around you can really help your company grow. We certainly encourage any companies interested in applying for the program, to do so,” Brock said. Brock and Siobhan added that they were “always open to discussing our journey to date,” and encouraged founders to reach out to them.
LuminaX is a highly sought-after, selective accelerator program for entrepreneurs with big ideas in the HealthTech, MedTech, BioTech, and SportsTech space, who have an MVP or product built and some market traction.
All components of the 2023 program will be delivered in person at Cohort Innovation Space within the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct. Successful applicants will have to travel to the Gold Coast to participate at least two days a week, for 14 weeks.
To apply for LuminaX 2023, please submit your details here
To watch the pitches from the 2022 Demo Night, click here
To learn more about the 2022 participants, click here