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Gold Coast incubator Silicon Lakes aiming to make a splash among start-ups

By Oliver Milman
Monday, 15 October 2012

A new incubator for tech start-ups, dubbed Silicon Lakes, is launching on the Gold Coast, with a pitch competition for app developers acting as the curtain raiser to the scheme.

 

The venture, based in the Gold Coast suburb of Varsity Lakes, is aimed at stimulating the region’s tech scene.

 

A collaboration of six local businesses, including software firm Coded Intelligence and coin-operated internet kiosk firm Internet Only, are backing the new incubator, which is looking to raise funds to invest in start-ups.

 

The first 10 ventures to be taken in by Silicon Lakes are set to be the finalists from App Comp, a part of the Apps Expo 2012 event that is set to start on November 3 at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.

 

The competition, hosted by ABC film critic Marc Fennell, will see a series of aspiring app developers pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. The winner will be awarded $5,000 and the opportunity of having their idea developed and released on a global scale by Silicon Lakes.

 

The launch of the incubator follows the roll out of River City Labs in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley, a start-up co-working space in a warehouse covering 550 square metres, which hopes to house 70 entrepreneurs in the next 20 months.

 

Greg Burnett, founder of Internet Only, says that he hopes to expand the Silicon Lakes concept to Sydney and Melbourne after an initial focus on south east Queensland.

 

“We did our due diligence and saw there was nothing really like this in the area,” he says. “Unlike River City Labs, we’ll be taking a stake in businesses rather than charge them for the space. Our goal is to stimulate interest and grow the sector.”

 

“Silicon Lake won’t just be about apps, but that is what we are focusing on at our launch. We want to build a pool of VC funding for a range of start-ups.”

 

“The Gold Coast tech scene is still in a bit of a depressed state and this is a very purposeful stake in the ground that will help pick it up again.”

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