Early birds get first go at new State Government innovation fund

A WINE industry disrupter and a cloud-based collaboration tool are two of the four projects to receive backing in the opening round of the State Government’s SA Early Commercialisation Fund.

Vinnovate founders, brothers Joshua and Simon Schmidt, will use the $50,000 to commercialise their VinoCap product and add to their intellectual property portfolio.

The funding follows a $50,000 grant Vinnovate received in March last year from the Micro Finance Fund — superseded by the SAECF — and in 2015 the company was awarded $50,000 via Venture Catalyst, a joint State Government and UniSA initiative.

Vinnovate’s core creation is a wine screw cap that can manually add flavour or reduce preservatives, although the technology can be used on other bottle types.

“Companies like Vinnovate are combining their technical skills with new ideas to establish our state as the home of innovation in Australia, which will ultimately deliver economic benefits and create jobs,” Innovation Minister Kyam Maher said.

The other first round SAECF recipients also received $50,000 funding: TC PinPoint, a cloud-based project management tool for the delivery of retail tenancies, Rappsio, which simplifies software development processes to efficiently build web applications, and First Frontier’s automated asbestos analysis system.

A key aspect of the SAECF is that a company must invest its own money alongside the government funding, but not always on a one-for-one basis.

Administered by TechInSA, which has replaced BioSA, the SAECF formed part of the State Government’s 2016 Budget package that allocated almost $80 million to innovation programs, including $50 million for the SA Venture Capital Fund.

An expression of interest period for firms looking to manage the VCF closed last month and a short-listing process is now underway.

Mr Maher’s ministerial colleague, Zoe Bettison, launched the fifth instalment of the D3 Digital Challenge last week.

Interested parties are encouraged to develop digital solutions to encourage older South Australians to connect with nature and our parks.

An information session will be held this Thursday and a pitch event on March 16.

Ultimately, the three best ideas will each receive $15,000 to develop their concept.

“We are looking for business opportunities that focus on improving mental, physical and social wellbeing by having more people spend time in parks, increasing interaction with nature, building connected communities and creating value for all,” Ms Bettison said.