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Advance re-launches start-up innovation program

Friday, 24 February 2012 | By Oliver Milman

Advance, the government-funded network for Australian expatriates, has revamped its start-up innovation program, promising to connect successful applicants directly with high-level US investors.

 

The 50 for the Future Innovation Program has been opened up for applications, with the process starting with one-day workshops in Sydney and Melbourne in March.

 

The workshops will be led by Shayna Modarresi, regional manager of Silicon Valley-based DLA Piper Venture Pipeline Group.

 

The 12-week program will see each of the 50 start-ups matched with a mentor to receive coaching. Advance will use successful, but as-yet unnamed, Australian entrepreneurs who have built businesses in Silicon Valley to be mentors.

 

Businesses chosen for the program will then be given the chance to pitch to angels and venture capitalists in Silicon Valley in May.

 

Advance is looking to capitalise upon the recent flurry of Australian start-ups that have found success in the US, with the likes of BigCommerce and 99designs attracting investment.

 

Serafina Maiorano, Advance CEO, says: “Our program provides early stage Australian start-ups with direct access and advice from some of Australia’s most successful overseas-based entrepreneurs, opening new doors to potential partners, and most importantly, funding, in Silicon Valley.”

 

Applications will close on 14 March 2012, with winners announced two days later.