Victorian tech startups get $6.5 million boost

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Victorian tech startups get $6.5 million boost

Regional startups, sportstech, IoT, agtech, cybersecurity and fintech are among the sectors to receive government funding.

The Victorian state government has announced $6.5 million in grants for 18 programs aimed at boosting the state’s startup ecosystem. New accelerator programs and regional startup communities are among the main beneficiaries.

The grants are the first round of funding out of the $60 million set aside out of the state government’s LaunchVic initiative, and were chosen from around 400 applications.

Successful funding applicants include programs supporting female entrepreneurs, mentoring services for sports tech startups, a new startup hub in Collingwood, a national fintech conference in November and new MakerLab facilities in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

Among the programs receiving funding is Startupbootcamp, which will receive $600,000 to establish a new internet-of-things and data technology focused workspace called Kydo in November, along with an accelerator program in 2017.

Startupbootcamp, which runs startup accelerator programs globally, will also use its funding to host a one-day FastTrack event on October 3, along with a hackathon event in conjunction with facilities maintenance company Spotless later this year.

The organisation claims the funding will help it to attract startups from across the Asia Pacific region to Melbourne.

“The engagement of corporates, universities and service providers with startups through a formal accelerator like Startupbootcamp will enhance to local startup community and build communities of practice within the IoT and datatech industries,” Startupbootcamp said in a statement.

Regional focus

A main focus area for the LaunchVic funding round will be on boosting the startup ecosystems in regional cities, particularly in Geelong.

The initiatives include $1.25 million to establish startup and incubator program in Geelong called Runway and a further $450,000 for a cybersecurity incubator at Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds campus, which will be jointly operated with Dimension Data.

Other regionally-focused programs to get a nod for funding include a regional accelerator program to be run by LaTrobe University, as well as $675,000 for Rocket Seeder to run startup accelerator programs focused on startups in the agricultural technology space in a number of regional cities.

Runway founder Nick Stanley told BIT that while Geelong’s startup community is still “emerging” he expects a lot of startups to “come up out of the thicket”, describing the city as a central focal point for aspiring entrepreneurs across southwestern Victoria.

“We’ve worked on the program for the better part of two years, as a result of my own experiences as the founder of Sky Software (which is now known as Tribal Campus following a 2014 acquisition by Tribal Group),” he said.

“The opportunities I’ve had to travel have allowed me to see that there are some levers here that we can pull to accelerate our own ecosystem. So we’re looking at things like mentoring, access to networks, access to incubator space and training programs, as well as access to capital.”

Stanley said he had already made contact with regional startup ecosystems in a number of different cities, and that he saw regional ecosystems connecting as being vital in creating a national startup ecosystem.

Funding recipients

Regionally-focused funding programs to receive LaunchVic funding include:

  • Runway Geelong: $1.25 million to establish a startup and incubator program in Geelong.
  • La Trobe University Regional Accelerator Program: $1 million to launch an accelerator program for regional startups, in partnership with Federation and Deakin Universities.
  • Rocket Seeder: $675,000 for startup accelerator programs focusing on supporting innovation in agricultural technology. Will include a Melbourne-based hub with programs initially in Shepparton, Sale, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, Colac, Horsham, Wodonga, Mildura and Warrnambool.
  • Dimension Data and Deakin University Cybersecurity Incubator: $450,000 for a new startup accelerator at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus in Geelong.
  • Social Traders: $100,000 for accelerator-ready social enterprise ideas Melbourne, Ballarat and Wodonga.
  • The Foundation for Young Australians Launch Clubs: $75,000 for a pilot scheme in Bendigo and Traralgon of a program to build a network of local startup hubs based in regional communities where young people can develop skills.

Other programs to receive funding as part of the program are:

  • StartupBootCamp Melbourne: $600,000 to develop and scale startups in the fields of Internet of Things (IoT) and Data Tech.
  • FinTech Australia conference: $300,000 to host the inaugural FinTech Australia conference in Melbourne in November this year.
  • Fintech Melbourne: $30,000 to support the Victorian fintech community.
  • Startup Victoria: $300,000 for a new digital platform covering events, jobs and funding opportunities, plus “extensive mapping” of Victoria’s startup ecosystem.
  • Inspire9: $650,000 funding for a makerspace in the new Dream Factory building in Footscray, offering 3D printing, digital sewing, laser cutting and virtual reality lab facilities to startups.
  • Western BACE: $50,000 for a digital marketing makerspace in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
  • Australian Sports Technologies Network: $280,000 to enable an entrepreneur-in-residence program, supporting 15-20 sports tech startups over a two year period.
  • Convenory Campus $200,000: to build a startup hub at the Abbottsford Convent in Collingwood.
  • Fifth Institute: $200,000 to lift the number and success rate of startups emerging from the experienced economy (those aged 50 and over).
  • RMIT University Bright Sparks program: $100,000 to help inspire, connect and prepare the next generation of female entrepreneurs in Victoria.
  • Collective Campus Lemonade Stand: $100,000 to scale out a two-day business building and entrepreneur program for nine to 12 year olds across the state.
  • iGen Foundation Young Entrepreneurs Mentoring (YEM) pilot: $70,000 for a pilot program providing 15-30 year olds with entrepreneurial skills and knowledge.


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