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Shop2 the first Aussie start-up selected for US incubator AngelPad

Monday, 10 December 2012 | By Michelle Hammond

Personal shopping magazine Shop2 has spoken of its experience as the first Australian start-up to participate in AngelPad, a US incubator founded by former Google employee Thomas Korte.

 

Shop2, founded by Taylor Luk, allows users to build their own shopping magazine by following their favourite shopping channels and fashion brands. The platform is optimised for tablets.

 

Earlier this year, Shop2 was one of three start-ups accepted into the new Venture Incubator Space at the University of New South Wales, along with Vimcore and Mijura.

 

Located in the university’s School of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE), VIS provides student start-ups with the space and support they need to build their businesses.

 

Shop2 was selected by a judging panel including CSE head Maurice Pagnucco and Alan Noble, director of engineering at Google Australia.

 

“It is amazing to see how fast the Sydney start-up community is growing. It spread from incubator to co-working space and now to universities,” Luk says.

 

Last month, Shop2 was the first Australian start-up to present at an AngelPad demo day. Based in San Francisco, AngelPad is an incubator founded by ex-Googler Thomas Korte.

 

Outside of Silicon Valley, AngelPad isn’t as well known as Y Combinator and 500 Startups. But it’s well regarded in the Bay Area, namely for its small batches of 12 start-ups.

 

Korte also takes a hands-on approach, working closely with the 12 start-ups over 10 weeks at the AngelPad headquarters.

 

Luk says he had an atypical experience with regard to his AngelPad application.

 

“I got an email from Thomas Korte on Thursday, had a Skype call on Friday, and was then asked to jump on the plane on the next day because the class started on Monday,” he says.

 

“It was an opportunity I simply could not pass up. We feel very fortunate.”

 

Shop2 presented at an AngelPad demo day on November 29, which, according to Luk, was an “incredible experience”.

 

“I was standing behind the curtain where 130 investors sat waiting to hear our pitch on the other side. All of us in the program were anxious,” he says.

 

“I recall waiting to deliver my program and thinking, ‘We have spent many, many months of programming, 10 weeks in the accelerator program working with our team in Sydney across time zones. It all comes down to three minutes’.

 

“It felt like the backstage of a boxing match.”

 

Shop2 is now in the process of raising a seed round of funding.

 

“I am in meetings most of the week... We are planning to stay here in San Francisco through January to close our round,” Luk says.

 

“My team in Sydney is working on the product development, we are in private beta and the tablet build is about 70% complete.”