Dr Alena Rinke from Microba at MassChallenge boot camp.
5 April 2017

A genomic-based healthcare business that profiles gut microbes to help people take charge of their wellbeing has been identified as one of Australia’s top startups by a leading global accelerator program.

Microba, which is in the early stages of development at The University of Queensland’s ilab innovation incubator, was named in the top five highest potential startups at the Bridge to MassChallenge Australia competition.

UQ researcher and Microba co-founder Professor Gene Tyson said Microba would provide people with comprehensive analyses of microorganisms in their gut including information on their function and key microbes important for health.

“This can guide people toward ways of improving their health,” Professor Tyson said.

“Our success in the Bridge to MassChallenge Australia competition recognises that we’re developing a great healthcare tool to take to market, and that we’re also on the right path from a business perspective during the critical development and growth stages.”

ilab Director Bernie Woodcroft said the US-based MassChallenge is one of the world’s top accelerators, with an international track record of helping start-ups grow.

“This is the first time it has offered the Australian-based competition,” Mr Woodcroft said.

“Microba was selected from a pool of 200 entries, with Microba co-founder Dr Alena Rinke travelling to Boston in the United States of America to participate in a five-day MassChallenge boot camp comprising of training, one-on-one mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to the city’s startup and investment ecosystem.”

MassChallenge president Mike LaRhette said the Bridge to MassChallenge Australia competition helped strengthen local innovation ecosystems by supporting entrepreneurs and connecting them to a global network.

“From developing business plans to cultivating mentors, all of the Bridge to MassChallenge Australia startups have made incredible progress during the course of the program,” Mr LaRhette said.

Microba is developing its business through ilab at UQ’s intensive three-month Germinate Program which helps a rich mix of future entrepreneurs develop their diverse business startup ideas.

More than 130 startup companies and their founders have been supported by ilab’s programs since 2012, and more than $17 million in early stage capital has been raised in the past two years alone.

A full list of business and social enterprise startups participating in the program can be found on ilab’s webpage.

Media: Bernie Woodcroft, bernie.woodcroft@ilab.com.au, 0402 893 117; UQ Communications, communications@uq.edu.au.