“Smart plugs that can keep a loved one safe and a digital game to prevent drownings of children on the autism spectrum – these aren’t future ideas; they’re happening in real time, right now,” Peter said.
Sixteen week mentoring program developing entrepreneurs
To realise their vision, Remarkable supports early stage companies developing life-changing technology with seed funding and a 16 week mentoring program. Budding entrepreneurs are taken through their paces, beginning with the fundamentals of business right through to sales and sustainability.
Since launching in 2016, Remarkable has helped to build 26 incredible technology start-ups, including seven new organisations that began their 16 week program in March 2019.
“The start-ups we support are actively changing the disability landscape and making real inroads on a more inclusive society,” Horsley said. He’s not exaggerating – these start-ups are creating some serious waves.
Sound Scouts, from the first cohort to graduate the Remarkable program, has just secured a $4 million government contract for their technology to enable free hearing checks for all Australian school children, while Xceptional, from the second cohort, won a $1 million Google.org Impact Challenge last year, and Loop+, also from the second cohort, has gone on to secure icare Foundation funding.
“For us though, we’re most proud of the impact that these start-ups are having on people’s lives,” said Horsley.
“From an injured child being able to attend school through a telepresence robot to sensors helping a wheelchair user manage the risks of scoliosis or pressure injury, and using virtual reality to take people with physical disability on virtual excursions – these stories of inclusion are the reason we come to work every day,” he said.
icare Foundation partners with Remarkable
In 2018, the icare Foundation partnered with Remarkable, offering strategic and financial support.
“The start-ups coming out of Remarkable are creating technology and services that will directly help icare customers: the injured workers and road users in NSW,” said Barney Smith, icare Foundation General Manager.
“We came onboard to ensure Remarkable had the funds to sustain its mission, and, from a strategic perspective, to connect Remarkable with icare customers. This means Remarkable and its start-ups get first-hand insights into the types of problems faced by icare customers and can feed that back into technology that will help solve those problems.
“The partnership also means that Remarkable’s start-ups are able to test their products with icare customers, receive direct feedback, and tweak the technology to ensure they’re solving problems in the most effective way, so it’s a win for everybody,” Smith said.
A 2018 icare Foundation funded social impact report on Remarkable found that, collectively, Remarkable’s start-ups have reached 3,251 end users, including 2,711 with a disability. Indeed, the popularity of Remarkable is rapidly increasing as word spreads within the sector and more start-ups compete for a place in the program.
According to the impact report, applications doubled between 2017 and 2018, from 20 to 40.
“We couldn’t do what we do without the support of icare,” said Horsley.