ANZ Innovyz START
The Adelaide start-up scene is ready to fight the idea that Australian start-up founders only get one shot at success, and that failure will derail your career, with entrepreneurial heavyweights set to speak to an event next week about their biggest disasters. International thought leader and managing director of the ANZ Innovyz Start accelerator program Dr Jana Matthews, director of engineering at Google Australia Alan Noble, and serial entrepreneur and city councillor Houssam Abiad will be sharing their notable failures. The event is described as an opportunity to face up and embrace failure. “Think of this like Alcoholics Anonymous for entrepreneurs: the first step is admitting that you've failed. The second step is telling us all about it so we can laugh at you - I mean learn from it. The connection with Alcoholics Anonymous ends there though: we’re holding this event at a bar,” it says. Event coordinator and founder of task outsourcing platform Agent Anything Harry Schiff told StartupSmart the event was about facing up to failure and celebrating getting out there. “This event is not about celebrating failure. It’s about celebrating actually doing things, not just trying. When you do things, when you get out there and try stuff, you’ll fail. It’s just how these things go,” Schiff says. He says the idea emerged a few months ago at the Adelaide cross-sector summit Towards a City of Entrepreneurs. “One of the things I brought up was about the lack of a culture of failure and that we should be doing something specifically to target that,” says Schiff, who moved from Canada to Australia to take part in the ANZ Innovyz Start program. “The feeling I get from people here when you listen to those in the community is there is reluctance to self-promote your failure because of a fear of reputational risk. People get worried that no one will touch them again, won’t back their idea and won’t give them any money,” Schiff says. “That humbleness is a good quality, but it makes it less likely you’ll get out there and try.” Schiff says he and co-coordinator Jason Cross are hoping to make this a recurring event held at each of Adelaide’s three universities. He adds the target market for this event is upcoming or aspiring founders, who need to know failure is part of the entrepreneurial journey.
Above: Dr Jana Matthews. Applications are open for the third round of the 13-week ANZ Innovyz START accelerator program, which kicks off in August, as start-ups that previously went through the incubator prepare to pitch to investors. Now in its second year, ANZ Innovyz START helps fast-growth tech entrepreneurs become investor-ready by giving them access to global business experts and mentors who have grown and exited companies. Past program mentors include Microsoft executive Chris Bernard, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Babinec, and DealsDirect co-founder and former chairman Paul Greenberg. Previously, teams received $6,000 per founder. This year, each team will receive $20,000. ANZ will also give each team access to a $20,000 loan facility to help them fund their growth plans. Dr Jana Matthews, managing director of ANZ Innovyz START, told StartupSmart the additional funding is not the only change that has been made to the program. “I’m going to absolutely insist that there be teams of three people. The start-ups that make the most progress… are the ones that have three people,” Matthews says. “The ones that have two people have struggled to keep up. There’s so much to learn and so much to do. We aren’t going to accept you unless you bring at least one other person to the table.” Applications close on June 14 and the program will commence on August 12. Meanwhile, the 10 graduates of the summer 2013 program are preparing for a demo day in Adelaide on April 18, when they will pitch and showcase their product to potential investors. “They’re absolutely fabulous… We already have some that the investors are talking to,” Matthews says. “Four of the companies already have investors, possibly five, and we still have two weeks to go before they stand up in front of everyone.” Matthews says FitUsIn, a booking site for the health and fitness industry, is among the standouts. “FitUsIn was a company we already knew was going to be a winner. It was selected as one of six [participants] worldwide to attend an all-expenses paid trip to New York to pitch to venture capitalists,” Matthews says. The program’s summer 2013 companies, in their current form, are as follows: The Unicoach helps undergraduate students create their own productivity system to achieve stress-free academic success. Kicktone is a platform that helps independent bands engage with their fans and attract a new audience by making it easy for them to share and sell their music. Singa is a localised musical platform. The first version enables kids to sing along to their favourite tunes, a video recording of which can then be shared. Future versions will have gamification and real-time multi-user singing, along with apps and purchases. FitUsIn is a booking site for the health and fitness industry that allows users to quickly compare gym deals and book their visits online. Mobility Unlimited seeks to revolutionise how businesses and consumers interact by enabling instant, tailored and high-precision location-based services and payments. DataMunch is an online service that enables users to easily combine isolated datasets, and gain insights quicker and cheaper than alternatives. Metrixcare (formerly Edgebox) is a healthcare collaborative platform for measurement, management and improvement in patient safety and cost. Memtell captures people’s memories using photography and voice recording, and allows memories to be stored online, in the cloud, making them easily accessible. TowardTheStars is a website full of resources and gifts to inspire young girls. Agent Anything is a website that connects people and companies to cost-effective student labour for almost any kind of task, temporary job or service.
A former winner of Startup Weekend is among the 10 ventures selected to take part in the second ANZ Innovyz START program, which is once again dominated by Adelaide-based start-ups.
The ANZ Innovyz START accelerator program, the Adelaide-based start-up program that's based on the US incubator TechStars, was confirmed for another year at the graduation of the program’s inaugural class.