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BlueChilli to add two new incubators to the start-up mix

By Oliver Milman
Monday, 21 November 2011

BlueChilli, a new incubator brand, is to launch two hubs for tech start-ups in Australia – one in Melbourne next month, followed by a Sydney roll out in January.


BlueChilli has already chosen the 10 ventures for its incubator in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. It will be looking for a further 20 to 30 start-ups for the hub in Ultimo, a district of Sydney.


The venture is being backed thanks to an undisclosed investment from start-up fund Future Capital. The new incubators will combine all of the two parties' start-ups as well as back-room staff.


Although it only moved into the start-up accelerator space 12 months ago, BlueChilli has been around as a brand since 2006, when it was founded by former Navy officer Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin.


The business, initially an SMS service, was sold to serial entrepreneur Domenic Carosa before being relaunched as a start-up incubator.


Carosa, who is the executive director of Future Capital, says: “We are impressed by Sebastian’s drive, passion, ingenuity and genuine desire to help BlueChilli’s clients succeed."


"We believe this attitude is contagious and can only ensure BlueChilli’s success as an incubation engine for Australian internet entrepreneurs. This approach is aligned with Future Capital’s investment objectives and consequently we see enormous synergy between Future Capital and BlueChilli.”


While the scheme will take a “significant minority stake” in the start-ups it takes on, typically around 40%, it will not provide cash in return for the investment.


Instead, a network of more than 20 mentors will provide expert development and technical help in order to prepare the businesses for outside investment within 18 months.


Eckersley-Maslin, who is heading up the project, says: “We want people with the right attitude, who have good ideas and want to launch themselves into it.”


“We will have quarterly hackathons to launch an idea in 48 hours and we will enter into a joint venture with the winner.”


“We’ll also have meetings where everyone has to pitch their business idea and explain the hurdles they face. Everyone can then suggest things to help – if start-ups are just interested in themselves, they aren’t the right fit.”


“A lot of entrepreneurs get funding and then spend all of it on a technical co-founder, when maybe that’s not what is needed. We will first look at what a business needs and them provide the services it needs to grow.”


Despite being the latest in a rash of recent start-up incubators to launch in Australia, Eckersley-Maslin says that the sector still has room to grow.


“I definitely see it going further,” he says. “Gen Y is a collaborative generation. I don’t think we’ll be the last incubator to launch here.”


Those interested in the BlueChilli scheme can find out more information here.

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