Anxiety-reducing autism app Xceptional and mental health social enterprise Radiant are amongst the 10 finalists in this year’s Google.org Impact Challenge.
Now in its third year running, the challenge is open to Australian organisations whose innovative ideas for change are making an impact locally and globally.
Both Fishburners finalists are in the health tech space, a startup sector rapidly growing in Australia.
Xceptional is changing the lives of autism sufferers by using advanced software testing to address autism unemployment. 125 million people worldwide experience autism yet this group is often underemployed. The app uses activity-based assessments and games to reduce the anxiety that often comes with autism and prevents 65% of people with autism from gaining or retaining employment. Many people with autism have an incredible eye for detecting patterns in data and an ability to sustain superior levels of concentration, making them uniquely qualified to make exceptional contributions to tech and data teams. By mitigating anxiety and testing for functional skills, the Xceptional app will empower autistic employees to flourish, help employers embrace the benefits of neurodiversity, and make a massive dent in autism unemployment.
Radiant, a subsidiary of Relationships Australia and a registered charity, uses data-driven algorithms to match mental health professionals to help-seekers based on their needs. Recent reviews suggest the quality of this match is the best predictor of positive therapeutic outcomes and that many of the 1 in 5 Australians suffering from mental health issues would be more empowered to seek help if their path to assistance were more easily navigated. Longer term, Radiant will be able to identify mental health problems sooner and connect users to help faster, through an AI inference engine assessing search data.
The general public can vote for one finalist to receive the $1 million People’s Choice grant. The judges, including Dr Sarah Pearson, the first chief innovation officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s eighth Chief Scientist, will then choose a further three winners. Winners will be announced on 1 November.
Up for grabs is an additional $5.5 million in project funding: judges will select four winners to each receive $1 million in grant funding, as well as support from Google volunteers. The remaining six finalists will each receive $250,000.
The Google.Org Impact Challenge Hall of Fame includes Professor Fred Hollows who used mobile technology to check for blinding damage caused by diabetes and Jack Bancroft who created the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience – an online game to inspire young indigenous students to learn maths and science.
We’re proud to see fellow startups recognised here at Fishburners and our focus this year has been on strengthening our internal community and this is really coming to the forefront with social impact organisations getting the support and acclaim they deserve.
Startups like Radiant and Xceptional are putting mental health and wellbeing into the spotlight and reducing the stigma.
They join the ranks of other Burners making technology and innovation for the advancement of society.