As 2022 draws to a close, I’d like to take this opportunity to reflect on the achievements of Breakthrough Victoria in our first full year of operation and to thank you for your support.

As many of the start-ups and companies we work with are all too aware, the first year of any business is never without its challenges.

For a new company established to manage a $2 billion investment fund with a mandate to invest in innovation for impact, our challenge was to simultaneously establish our operations while also delivering on our mandate.

I am proud to say that together, we rose to this challenge.

I thank the Victorian Premier and Treasurer who had the vision to establish the Breakthrough Victoria Fund, and our Board whose expertise and guidance has been invaluable in this first year.

I am particularly grateful to our staff. I thank you for your hard work and dedication. Without your tireless effort, Breakthrough Victoria would not have had the impact it has made on Victoria’s innovation sector.

Our investments

To the founders, companies and universities we’ve invested in and partnered with – thank you.

Your innovation is our inspiration. By working together to commercialise research and innovation, we can drive jobs and investment in Victoria and make a difference to people’s lives, here at home and right around the world.

Our investment in Seer Medical will help export wearable technology to diagnose epilepsy at home, helping millions of people around the world and creating jobs and investment in Victoria.

We are excited about the potential for Kite Magnetics to transform the transport and aviation sectors and help reduce carbon emissions with the smallest and lightest electric motors on the market.

Our investment in Samsara Eco could lead to the infinite recycling of plastic and an end to the production of new plastics from fossil fuels.

Our most recent investment in Smart Paddock will support the start-up to expand the Victorian production of the first battery-free livestock ear tag. This innovation in ag-tech will provide farmers with real-time data on their mobile phone about the health and location of their animals – making farming smarter, less labour intensive and more profitable.

Our university partnerships

Many of these innovations are spun out of our universities so it gave me great pleasure to announce the Breakthrough Victoria – University Innovation Fund in June this year. Through this platform we will match dollar-for-dollar contributions from Victorian universities to establish pre-seed funds to support the commercialisation of the research and technology they produce.

The University of Melbourne Genesis Pre-Seed Fund was the first of these funds. Discussions are well underway for pre-seed funds across Victoria’s university sector, and I look forward to further announcements in 2023.

I also look forward to seeing the development of the ColdQuanta-Swinburne Quantum Technology Centre. This quantum computing and technology facility was made possible through our investment in US-based global leader in quantum technology, ColdQuanta, which has recently rebranded and is now known as Infleqtion.

Building the innovation eco-system

Building the innovation eco-system in Victoria is a key driver for Breakthrough Victoria and our investment in Infleqtion is an important step towards establishing the state as global player in the revolution of computing technology.

Similarly, our 2021 investment in the Biotech Incubator at the Parkville life sciences district will provide biotech start-ups access to industry expertise, academic and clinical facilities, and infrastructure to commercialise innovations.

Breakthrough Challenge

One of the achievements I am most proud of this year is the launch of the inaugural Breakthrough Victoria Challenge alongside Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Lily D’Ambrosio.

Through the Challenge, we aim to drive investment in innovative solutions to tackle emerging environmental problems. The focus of this year’s Challenge is the issue of solar panel waste.

Estimates based on data from the Clean Energy Regulator predict that more than 180,000 tonnes of solar panel waste will be generated in Victoria alone by 2035. It is my sincerest wish that we can help develop scalable innovative technologies within Victoria to solve this looming global environmental challenge.

I look forward to sharing with you the results of the Breakthrough Victoria Challenge program in the years ahead.

Wishing you health and happiness

These achievements are detailed in the Breakthrough Victoria Annual Report 2022 which was tabled in the Victorian Parliament this week.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to our success in 2022. I look forward to building on this success together with you in the new year.

I wish you and your families a happy and safe holiday season.