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Tech to help premature babies and newborns among MedTech’s Got Talent semi-finalists

Friday, 29 November 2013 | By Rose Powell

Sixteen semi-finalists have been announced for MedTech’s Got Talent, an entrepreneurial development program and pitching competition for medical technology start-ups.


The 16 semi-finalists are taking part in a series of workshops to develop their ideas. The winner will be announced after a pitching competition on December 5.


The winner will receive thousands of dollars in cash and in-kind support, as well as ongoing mentoring and office space.


Semi-finalist Paul Savage told StartupSmart winning the competition would enable his team to move beyond having a great idea and validation of demand for their product.


His start-up is developing a system that would remove the need to use x-rays during minimally invasive cardio surgery.


“We’re in bootstrap mode, and one of the things we’re trying to do is get a small amount of money to do some risk minimisation and start doing some IP protection,” Savage says, adding that most government grants suitable for commercialising medical technology require funds matching.


Stethcloud founder Andrew Lin is working on a digital stethoscope that connects to smartphones, and a suite of apps that will work with this data. He says winning would enable them to pursue a whole batch of critical approvals.


Lin told StartupSmart the product will be especially valuable for newborn babies.


“This is quite a cool area because about 30% of newborns need resuscitation, but the help they receive will vary depending on their heart rate. It’s currently almost impossible to get an accurate and quick reading on the babies,” Lin says.


Another semi-finalist, Steven Bird, is working on a technology for premature babies – those born from 22 to 25 weeks rather than at least 37 weeks – because much of the current technology fails to look after them.


“Babies this young don’t have the options of being able to do very well on resuscitation. The idea emerged when I realised how ludicrous it is that doctors trying to resuscitate these little ones who don’t really even have functional lungs,” Bird told StartupSmart. “I’m producing a device that creates a womb-like environment we can return them to.”


Winning the competition would enable Bird to protect the intellectual property around the idea and provide him with the funds needed to launch the project.


Not all of the finalists are creating technological solutions to health problems. Mediplan founder Daniel Maizer is developing a crowdfunding platform for medical technology.


“The plan is it’ll work similar to Kickstarter but instead of receiving rewards, it’s more of a donations model,” Maizer says. “We’re also developing an option for higher donors to have an equity investment in the company.”


The winner will be announced after a pitching competition on December 5.