Australia, apart from being a beautiful tourist destination, also houses a series of startup accelerators and incubators, which has given way to drastic growth of micro-businesses in the country. It may not be Silicon Valley but the country has an incredible startup culture and supports various startups in their early stages. Startup accelerators and incubators have a great foothold in the area and are supporting the fledging startup scene across Australia. From the business perspective, top cities of Australia like Sydney and Melbourne have global outlook and gets to enjoy the high standard of supporting infrastructure that one would expect from a world city. There is nothing that cannot be done in Australia. From financial services to transport to logistics to telecommunications to IT everything is possible in Australia. Also, its geographical location between US West Coast and most Asian Capital makes it more favorable. Though the country is still young in the startup ecosystem, the opportunities available are abundant. There are many accelerators in the country but looking at their operations and history, we have listed down some of the top accelerators in Australia.
Founded in 2011 in Melbourne, AngelCube accelerator focuses on tech startups to transform brilliant ideas into successful and strong businesses. It selects startups on the basis on big ideas, exceptional teams and commitment to succeed. The intensive program runs for three months followed by the further three months incubation. During the first three months, the accelerator helps the startups in developing better products, boost their growth and build successful and globally scalable business. During the period, the participants receive office space, mentorship, training and travel & pitch opportunities. It offers access to network of mentors and partners in Australia and the USA.
Being the only private run accelerator not run by a university, it does not take more than 10 startups to ensure fullest attention to every selected company. During the period of three months, it covers all aspects of a company launch from product development, product market fit, customer acquisition and fundraising. The program ends with demo days that takes place in Melbourne, Sydney, SFO and NY where the participants get a chance to meet hundreds of investors. The graduating companies receive a seed funding of $20,000 in exchange for 10% equity. Since its founding, the company has invested in over 20 startups including LIFX, App.io, Lexim, Ediply and Coinjar.
Founded in 2010, Startmate is an accelerator program by a bunch of startup executives providing mentorship and seed financing to startup founders dealing with internet and software businesses based in Australia. They aim to help teams build enduring companies and help them avoid all the activities and theater that take away from that mission. They also connect teams to Silicon Valley investors and other founders. The program is designed to help the startup companies gain their first customers and work through the initial phases of customer discovery. Also, this accelerator program is considered to have one of the highest startup success rate.
The accelerator program for the startups runs for a span of five months where the startups spend first three months in Sydney and following two months in San Francisco. Quite recently, it has partnered with creative agency Droga5 to help the participants of the forthcoming years. This partnership is expected to help sharpen the communication of each company’s mission. The eight selected startups at the start of the program would receive AUS $50,000 in return of 7.5% equity from the network of mentors. At the end of the program, there were be voting to select the best among eight and the winner would receive a further $100,000 as part of the funding raise or at a AUS $2 million valuation. Some of the successful startups from Startmate are Robby, Lumific, Sporthold, ScriptRock and IRL Gaming.
Founded in 2012 at Adelaide, Innovyz Start is an accelerator program where the managing director of the company works with each selected startup to commercialize its break-through innovation. It aims ti equip promising start-ups with the tools and strategies to make them ready for investors. The program consists of mentoring by top entrepreneurs, learning programs around growing a company, identification of target markets, working and reworking the company’s plans and ultimate presentation to potential investors on the last day of the program. Also, it is one of the 50 accelerators in the Global Acceleraor Network that was created by TechStars and the first program in Australia to be based on the TechStars format.
Started by Innovyz and ANZ, the acceleration program is part of the Global Accelerator Network. The program runs for 13 weeks and is open for the team of 3 or more. The accelerator is open to both Australian companies and other international companies. During the course of the program, the startup companies are offered $20,000 stipend and ANZ will offer $20,000 funding to each startup chosen to participate in the program in return of 8% equity stake. Startups graduated from the accelerator program are AEGLE Life, Big Big Book, DataMunch, ConfPlus, Edisse and Edgebox.
Founded in 2000 at Queensland, ilab supports and helps entrepreneurs and seed stage, high tech companies through the first few years of development offering team development, mentor network for founders, seed funding and creating investor ready companies with increased chances of success. It was established by the Queensland State Government to help the startups. It operates as a part of UniQuest, the commercialisation arm for the University of Queensland. Till date, it has accelerated more than 100 startups and assisted them in raising more than $70 million in grants and investment to fund their growth. The graduate companies have generated more than 400 new technology based jobs in the market.
The program length of ilab ranges from 3 months to 6 months but to attend the ilab accelerator program, the startup team must first complete their ‘Germinate’ program. Successful companies will get individual training and both programs have the opportunity to attend boot camps. Startups which complete the germinate program will then be assessed for entering the accelerating program. The accelerator also invests a seed funding ranging from AUS $20,000 to AUS $50,000 for an undisclosed % of equity. Some of the successful companies from ilabs are Smooth Operator, Bliip and Footballr.
Founded in 2012, the accelerator BlueChilli was started with the goal of providing early-stage startups a range of services including technology development, funding, strategic assistance and mentorship. It works with startup teams from education to the exit. It focuses on non-technical entrepreneurs, investors and corporate customers to build, grow and invest in great new tech startup ventures. It aims to create ambitious goals of creating 100 awesome startups by 2016. The BlueChilli picks the non-technical entrepreneurs and prunes their great ideas, serve as their technical and advisory partner and works to take a minority equity position to align themselves with the success of the startups.
BlueChilli’s accelerator program with intensive curriculum runs for a period of three to five months. The team of BlueChilli is complimented by marketing, SEO, SEM and video production affiliations who promote each new business. It funds the startups through the BlueChilli Venture Fund (BCVF), which is an Australian ESVCLP vehicle to co-invests in successful BlueChilli startups at the angel capital round. More than an accelerator, it is called VentureTechnology company as it creates online web applications and invests the software development in online startups. Its portfolio consists of companies like swift, Goddd, Vebo, Zwype, Cuzin, tribalmind, Maestro.
*The Founder Institute:
Founded in 2009, Founder Institute functions as a seed-stage startup accelerator that allows young entrepreneurs to launch new technology startups. It’s vision is to “Globalize Silicon Valley” and help entrepreneurs around the world launch meaningful and enduring technology companies. It is the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program with more than 2,000 graduate companies. The startups graduated from this institute have generated more than 20,000 jobs and have an estimated portfolio value of more than $15 billion.
During the program period of four months, the startup founders receive expert training, feedback and support from local and international mentors and top startup CEOs. In the due course of the program, it conducts training, program sessions and public events. It offers sessions on startup research , naming and branding, hiring and firing, revenue and cost, product development, marketing and sales and fundraising. It has partnered with Kalliolaw-Attorneys at Law, KPMG, MicrosoftBizSpark, Elance, SendGrid, crowdSPRING, Softjourn, Squarespace, CloudSigma and Dell to assist the young startups. Headquarted in San Francisco, California, it operated in various countries including the one in Sydney. They also run a shared liquidity pool.
Founded in 2012, Ignition Labs is a first niche technology seed accelerator that offers programs for early stage startups. It aims to transform the early stage ideas into fundable, sustainable businesses in the period of three to six months. Based in Sydney, it focuses on the cohort needs of the startups. It helps the startups through leverage of a structures development and validation program, experienced mentors, cash investment and globally focused investor roadshows. The international roadshows take place in USA and Europe.
The program runs once every year and does not take more than 10 startups for each program. As a seed funding, Ignition Labs invests AUS$25,000 in exchange of 7.5% of equity. Apart from the mentors, the program also offers work space for the entrepreneurs. In 2013, the accelerator launched medical technology program to support medical technology startups. The startups graduated from the program serve as a prime examples of the creativity offered by Australia’s medical entrepreneurs. This program addresses the issues and difficulty in commercializing new medical technologies and gaining traction. Through this, startups can access the NSW Medical Device Fund and NSW Government Tech Vouchers.