Savant submitted four ventures to the Craft and Design Institute’s (CDI) second Design Innovation Seed Fund (DISF) round and enjoyed a 100% success rate. The Savant ventures are four amongst seven beneficiaries funded by the CDI, from a total pool of 57 applications.

A hydrogen-powered drone that releases lab-bred insects to wipe out pests, a medical device which uses a novel method to treat glaucoma and an innovative method to manufacture oak extract for use in the manufacture of wine and spirits…

These are just some of the seven biotech and agricultural projects that will each receive seed funding of up to R500,000 from the CDI in partnership with the Technology Innovation Agency’s (TIA) seed fund and the Western Cape government’s Department of Economic Development.

CCDI executive director Erica Elk said at the announcement that an investment committee made up of experts from various sectors assessed the shortlisted applications in December and January. The seven projects were selected from 21 shortlisted candidates. A total of 57 applications were made when the application process opened in October last year.

The current DISF round focuses on certain areas identified by both the national and provincial departments as growth sectors. These are: biotech, health, agro-processing and manufacturing. TIA acting seed fund head Vusi Skosana said the agency’s seed fund is supporting 324 university projects with R142-million and 104 small business projects with R37-million.

He added that the agency is looking to set up a rapid fund in which former seed fund participants will be able to get additional funding approved “within 24 hours” for development and projects costs.

The four Savant products being developed are:

LiQuerc (formerly Oranet) — An innovative method conceived by Woolf Katz to manufacture oak extract for use in the manufacture of wine and spirits.

DNABurn — A cellular molecular biology solution developed by Karim Dhanani of Signal Bioscience to help fight non-communicable diseases.

MicroPatch — A self-testing kit for HIV being put together by Incitech which was founded by Loretta Magagula, Dineo Lioma and two other alumni of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation.

SmartBlade — An affordable video laryngoscope developed by Nick Nevin and Caroline Corbett, which uses a smartphone.

The remaining DISF products being developed are:

  • The Optishunt — A medical device to be developed by Daemon McClunan which uses a novel method to treat glaucoma.
  • FlyH2 — A hydrogen-powered drone conceived by Mark van Wyk and Onno Huyser that releases lab-bred insects to wipe out pests.
  • Suction dissector — A medical dissecting tool for soft tissue developed by Disa Vascular.

This is an adaptation of an article on Ventureburn, entitled “CCDI to back seven innovative Cape projects in second round of seed fund“.

Savant Ventures TIA CDI DISF Recipients