UNSW Founders: Climate & MedTech Set To Dominate 2024 Startup Space

UNSW Founders: Climate & MedTech Set To Dominate 2024 Startup Space

Dina Titkova (left), senior manager of startup programs and partnerships at UNSW Founders, and her colleague Beste Onay (right), investments and portfolio manager, shared their thoughts with WLT on the 2024 startup scene — with climate and medtech companies set to dominate the scene.

“Research commercialisation and entrepreneurship education will be the key focus areas for government support,” explained Titkova.

“The government’s $15 billion Reconstruction Fund is one to watch as it furthers its support for researchers and entrepreneurs in the renewable, medtech and advanced manufacturing space. UNSW and UNSW Founders are launching a number of initiatives to accelerate research commercialisation via startups, setting ambitious targets for 2024-2025 regarding spinouts.

“Something I’ve loved watching this year is how the startup ecosystem has begun normalising and progressively addressing women’s health challenges, responding with technological advances and the availability of capital. I expect this to only accelerate in 2024,” she continued.

“New research shows that global revenue in women’s health startups is forecasted to grow 15.6 per cent to reach $US60 billion ($AU90 billion) by 2027 and UNSW Founders is committed to being at the helm of this in Australia, offering both a dedicated female-focused accelerator program, New Wave, and a health-focused accelerator, Health 10x, offering first of its kind tailored support for women’s health startups via a partnership with Virtus Health and The George Institute for Global Health.

“On the topic of health, my one wish for 2024 is for the government to invest more in the medtech sector. This is a hugely underfunded sector in Australia with most VC firms and private investors seeking investments in this area too risky. Support from more angel investors such as Australian Medical Angels is vital for medtech startups, with only one in ten medtech startups receiving the investment they need to go on and solve the real-world challenges that you, your family or your friends may face”.

Onay, meanwhile, believes that 2024 will be all about climate tech startups.

“Sustainability challenges are only set to worsen, particularly as we have seen this year’s COP 28 draw to a close, highlighting the pressing issues not just Australia but the world faces in reducing carbon emitters and encouraging more innovations to cool rising temperatures,” she explained.

“Likewise, with mandatory climate reporting for large Australian corporations in 2024, this provides a huge opportunity for climate tech startups offering tools to measure, report and reduce emissions with angels and VCs keeping a keen eye on developments in this space.

“Mergers and acquisitions are also going to be a hot topic next year, particularly in light of the recent merger crackdowns we’ve seen. I currently don’t see a lot of unbiased education being offered to founders in this space and think it’s a hugely overlooked topic. UNSW Founders will be taking steps to address this so watch this space!”

When it comes to angel investing, however, Onay said that she hopes for a more positive outlook but VCs will be more focused on latter-stage investments.

“In the angel investing space, I’m hoping there will be a more positive outlook and sentiment in 2024, especially whilst VCs have kept their purse strings tight due to the uncertain macroeconomic conditions. We’re hearing lots of chatter that many early-stage VCs want to focus on later-stage investments next year and with many Australian VCs already focusing on later-stage investments, this is going to make it really challenging for early-stage startups. That’s where angel investing comes into its own – the role of angels will be more vital in 2024 than ever before.

“If would-be angels want to learn more about how they can make an impact on the startup scene, I’d urge them to join an angel investing course, such as the one we run at UNSW Founders so they can learn tips on where they can invest their money safely and securely to help the innovations of tomorrow”.

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