A new, Google Australia-sponsored start-up incubator program, Melbourne NEXT, will launch next week at the York Butter Factory co-working space. The five-week program for 10 start-ups will focus on customer discovery, idea development, fundability, pitching and launch strategies. Event coordinator and community manager at Google Developer Group Leon Gouletsas told StartupSmart the program was specifically created for pre-accelerator or launch start-ups. “This program is designed to address that post-idea pain point for entrepreneurs. It can be quite challenging to work out how to get into accelerators or what you require for early stage launch,” Gouletsas says. “They need a bit more idea refinement and business model development. We saw that gap, and we’re really keen to up the maturity of the Melbourne start-up scene.” The program includes seven local mentors from entrepreneurial and investor backgrounds: Leni Mayo, Stuart Richardson, Nic Hodges, Laura McKenzie, Dave Slutzkin, Nathan Sampimon from Inspire9 and Marc Harrison. This is the first time the international program has been run in Australia. Over 30,000 entrepreneurs have graduated from programs held in 25 countries. “The first ever event was in the Middle East. It was deliberately chosen in some of the more interesting parts of the world because it seeks to bring together entrepreneurs regardless of background to work in collaboration,” Gouletsas says. Gouletsas adds the program focuses on customer discovery strategies. He estimates the course will take 20 to 25 hours a week, including three hours of class time. “What we’re really about is getting out of the classroom. The mentors are helping the entrepreneurs focus on value proposition development, and customer acquisition and segmentation opportunities. They’ll talk about what to do outside the building, and how to tackle these big questions,” Gouletsas says. The program will not be requesting or seeking equity commitments from the program members. While the program isn’t specifically targeted at tech start-ups, Gouletsas they will be heavily favoured in the selection given the backgrounds of the mentors. “The most important thing for us is they need to attend all the sessions, be fully committed and be ready to build their start-ups,” Gouletsas says.
A start-up that sees travel experts pitch itineraries for holiday-makers and an e-book publishing platform for writers and bloggers are among the teams chosen to join seed accelerator AngelCube’s 2013 intake program. Melbourne-based AngelCube received more than 150 applications to join its three-month program that will focus on targeted mentoring. AngelCube co-founder Nathan Sampimon told StartupSmart that AngelCube looked for start-ups with “big vision”. “We want co-founders that are hungry and want to change the world,” he says. “There’s really got to be that hunger, the need to shake some stuff up.” The seven start-ups selected to join the program include, for the first time, an international entrant. AngelCube says on its website the co-founders of BattleTrip have flown from Chile, Portugal and New Zealand to join the program. BattleTrip sees travellers set out where they want to travel, when and what kind of trip they’d like. Travel writers and bloggers then pitch itineraries and the traveller chooses which one they like. Other start-ups joining the program include: Tablo Publishing – an e-book publishing platform c8apps – fantasy sports apps using social networks CoinJar – reconciling Bitcoins to dollars eTaskr – a task marketplace that solves underutilisation of resources within organisations LifeGym – an app that helps women build fitness through real-life rewards Ozirig – a marketplace connecting wholesalers and photography professionals AngelCube says it’s attracting investor interest in Australia and internationally after two graduates from last year’s program secured funding. It says Wi-Fi light bulb developer LIFX has raised $1.3 million through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, while app tester Kickfolio, now known as app.io, has graduated from US-based accelerator 500 Startups and closed its Series A funding round with $1.075 million.
Entrepreneurs have spoken of their experiences at the “start-up pitch-fests” held for the Advance Innovation Program, highlighting the importance of preparation and the structure of your pitch.
AngelCube co-founder Andrew Birt says he’s impressed by the quality of applicants for the incubator’s next start-up round, saying it reflects Melbourne’s maturing start-up ecosystem.
AngelCube, the Melbourne-based incubator, will open applications for its second round of start-ups tomorrow, increasing its intake to eight teams, with a special interest in marketplace concepts and software-as-a-service.
Tech start-ups need to build up their brand and achieve market traction before they can secure funding, according to the co-founder of Melbourne-based tech incubator Angel Cube.
Serial entrepreneur Andrew Birt is looking for Melbourne-based start-ups to become the first group of participants for his latest venture AngelCube, an early stage incubator for web-based businesses.