A $100 million Adelaide-based fund will seek to supercharge digital health

A $100 million fund to help businesses address the pressing issues faced by the world’s healthcare providers is soon to be launched in Adelaide, headed up by the former global managing director for IBM Health.

Dr Terry Sweeney will lead Health Innovation Ventures (hive), which aims to invest in new and emerging technologies, back start-ups and established businesses and partner with governments to solve problems in the healthcare sector locally and around the world.

The fund will be seeded with likely half private money and half public money, with SAHMRI and the Central Adelaide Local Health Network founding partners, along with venture capital fund Artesian, which also manages the South Australian Venture Capital Fund.

Dr Sweeney said the digital health market was growing rapidly and was worth $200 billion globally and on track to more than double in the next five years.

Dr Sweeney said there had been a number of government funded programs which aimed to help commercialise healthcare technologies, but they tended to last only as long as their grant money did. Hive’s aim was to be self-sustaining as well as generate returns for its investors.

“No one seems to be doing it in a commercial way, that is, a for-profit model that stimulates the local economy, that exports local capability nationally and internationally, and that allows us to solve some local problems along the way,’' Dr Sweeney said.

“And it attracts global talent into South Australia.’’

Dr Sweeney said Adelaide had the right capability, but it is yet to be connected properly to global customers.

“It’s needed someone with a global perspective, who’s coming with a fresh pair of eyes, who can see the business opportunity and corral the ecosystem in a way that meets commercial needs.’'

Dr Sweeney said the public sector money being contributed was existing money which was being repurposed. He is currently doing a Series A fundraising to flesh out the private contribution, with large tech firms and healthcare providers interested.

Dr Sweeney said the fund would connect directly to healthcare providers to understand their technology and solution needs, then look to local capabilities to meet them.

It would aim to co-invest in building the solutions and getting them to market.

“It’s operational, backed by venture capital,’’ Dr Sweeney said. “Essentially we’d use the VC fund as a line of credit, for the operational business to make strategic investments, but those investments will be done in a revenue share model. We’re not looking to take equity in those companies.’’

Dr Sweeney founded a software company called Curam in 2003, after a stint with MI6 and later Accenture as a managing partner.

The company developed a case management system for social welfare and human services, and was sold to IBM Health for about $US300 million in 2012, where Dr Sweeney went on to work until recently.

Curam brought him to Adelaide more than a decade ago when it won a tender with WorkCover, the predecessor of Return to Work SA.

After coming back to Adelaide this year during the COVID lockdowns he reconnected with his local network and decided that it would be a great base to launch his next venture.

A $100 million Adelaide-based fund will seek to supercharge digital health by Cameron England originally seen in The Advertiser, 12 October 2020. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.