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Melbourne medtech startup Navi Medical Technology has secured just shy of $400,000 in government grant funding to launch the next phase of development of its tech that helps critically ill newborns.

The $396,452 grant funding brings the startup’s total funding secured to $1.7 million, following about $1.15 million in angel and venture capital investment, including from Artesian, and about $150,000 from pitching competitions.

Founded in 2016, Navi is creating a device using electrical signals to help doctors position central lines that deliver medicines to critically ill newborns.

There are plenty of similar products on the market for adults, co-founder and chief Alex Newton tells StartupSmart.

“But no one has done this for children before.”

Newton himself doesn’t come from a medical background. In fact, in a previous life he was an aerospace engineer.

Having worked overseas, he returned to Australia to find his industry shrinking. Knowing he wanted to take his career in a slightly different direction, he joined Melbourne Business School and found himself on a ‘biodesign innovation’ course, where he met the people who would become his five co-founders.

The program is designed to bring together engineers and business people, within a clinical setting, with a view to identifying some of the major problems in the space and finding ways to address them.

Spending time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), seeing doctors, nurses, parents and patients interacting, left a strong impression on Newton.

“I remember thinking: ‘I’m not a doctor and I’m not a nurse. But I’m an engineer and I’ve got a business degree. Surely I can help out somehow?’,” he recalls.

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