Startup News & Analysis

Melbourne startup founded by surgeons secures $250,000 before launching: Meet Nebula Health

Dinushi Dias /

A Melbourne startup helping surgeons improve patient care with a smartphone app has secured $250,000 in angel funding after completing the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP).

The funding round was led by Rod Lyle, who is on the board of ASX-listed medical software company Pro Medicus, as well as other angel investors.

Nebula Health co-founder Li Xia says the app will enable surgeons to communicate with and inform patients at key “touch points” during their operative journey with features like video, frequently answered questions and symptom questionnaires.

The startup, which is yet to officially launch, is running trials with six surgeons who have 50 patients.

The funding will enable Nebula Health to roll out the app to more cities across Australia.

“We raised around 20 percent of our round from medical professionals because they know the problem we’re solving,” Xia tells StartupSmart.

In fact, Nebula Health’s other co-founders Dr Chandrashan Perera, the startup’s chief executive, and Dr Paul Paddle, its chief medical officer, have experienced the problem firsthand in their lives as surgeons.

“They lived the problem for a number of years,” says Xia.

With surgeons’ busy schedules, he says it becomes very difficult to ensure a patient is receiving all the information and updates they need for a smooth experience during operative care.

But it wasn’t until the trio entered the Melbourne Accelerator Program in 2016 that they realised they could build a solution.

“Nebula Health was started as a result of MAP,” Xia says.

“I have a technical background, I came into MAP with a different company so did Chandra and Paul.

“Through the program, we realised we had complementary skills and started to explore this opportunity.”

With a $20,000 bout of early funding from MAP, the trio walked out with Nebula Health.

This month, MAP announced the 10 new startups entering its program. Among the cohort is Smileyscope, a venture using virtual reality to solve paediatric problems, and RefLive, a sports analytics platform.

Each startup receives $20,000 in seed funding to participate in the accelerator, which runs from May to November.

For founders interested in going through the Melbourne Accelerator Program, Xia says it’s crucial to have a validated product or a solution.

He also believes it’s most beneficial for startups that are a “little bit more mature” and have some sort of “product fit” with the accelerator’s broad network of stakeholders.

“Being at the right stage is probably quite important,” he says.

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Dinushi Dias

Dinushi Dias is a freelance journalist and a former StartupSmart reporter and multimedia content producer. She is the co-founder of Melbourne-based production house Dinushi & Power.

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