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NSW Govt to subsidise 12 local start-ups at US-based Startup House

Wednesday, 8 February 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

The NSW Government has thrown its support behind tech entrepreneurs wishing to crack the US market, helping start-ups cover the cost of living and working at Startup House in San Francisco.

 

Startup House, which allows start-ups to cohabitate as they develop their ideas, is the brainchild of Australian entrepreneurs Elias Bizannes and Bardia Houseman, and New Zealander Stephen Weir.

 

In addition to founding Silicon Beach, an online network for tech start-ups, Bizannes is also the brains behind the Startup Bus competition.

 

Located in San Francisco’s SoMa district, Startup House is a 36,000 square foot facility, which will provide premium office space, a co-working space housing 210 desks, a café and a hostel.

 

In a bid to raise the profile of NSW start-ups, the NSW Government will assist 12 early stage technology ventures with the costs of renting office space and accommodation at Startup House.

 

According to Andrew Stoner, NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Trade and Investment, this assistance will help Australian entrepreneurs get a foothold in the US market.

 

“Startup House aims to provide start-up companies and entrepreneurs with a rich collaborative working environment, connecting them to fellow entrepreneurs and mentors,” Stoner said in a statement.

 

Bizannes says while it costs less to start up a business nowadays, more people are doing it, hence the decision to open Startup House.

 

“You need less money to start a start-up, you need less money for marketing, less money for what we were trying to do 10 years ago,” Bizannes says.

 

“The consequence is if you’re a smart person, you can now do your own company but what that’s created is a high demand for talent... but also things like office space.”

 

“There’s just not enough to accommodate everyone.”

 

“Filling [Startup House] up is not a problem and it’s not going to hurt the other co-working environments. In fact, I think it will be very complementary. It’s going to have its own vibe.”

 

“We definitely want to be running a lot of events here... We want to have hackathons and start-up weekends here, and whatever really that helps the ecosystem.”

 

It should be noted the NSW Government’s support is only available for NSW-based start-ups, which must demonstrate high-growth potential.

 

A subsidy of up to 50% of the costs up to $1,250, to utilise the facilities at Startup House, is available to eligible start-ups.

 

If a start-up wishes to access the program, they must first receive funding approval through a competitive application process prior to incurring any expenses.

 

The NSW Government has also opened the site of its new trade and investment office in San Francisco, intending to grow business relationships with the US.

 

“Our San Francisco office will be driving business and investment opportunities between NSW and the US, and highlighting NSW expertise in sectors including ICT, digital services, research and development, and clean technology,” Stoner said.