UOW launches $10m seed fund to support Australian innovation
The University of Wollongong’s (UOW) iAccelerate initiative has today launched its $10 million seed fund that will enable a raft of Australian early and advanced startups to grow and thrive.
UOW’s key partners in the seed fund are Artesian Venture Partners which will manage the fund and PwC who were key advisors in the structuring of the fund.
The fund aims to attract investors with a passion and commitment to the startup sector who will contribute to the $10 million seed fund pledge. In turn, the fund will provide investors with access to a unique pipeline of early stage business investment opportunities.
iAccelerate, based on the lean startup model, is designed to support entrepreneurs who use technology as an enabler for a scalable service or product that can be globalised. It consists of multi-faceted business acceleration programs to help grow the skills of entrepreneurs, create commercially sustainable businesses within a purpose-designed space to enhance innovation in the Illawarra region.
All companies accepted into iAccelerate will be able to apply for seed funding from the fund.
iAccelerate Start is a co-working space for entrepreneurs, with first stage ideas, to work alongside each other to grow their concepts into early stage scalable businesses. Participants in the program are offered education, business support and mentoring. Companies participating in iAccelerate Start that receive investment by the seed fund will receive up to $40,000 in funding for up to 10 per cent equity.
iAccelerate Advanced focuses on enabling more advanced startups to transform and scale into sustainable and globally focussed companies. Companies that are part of iAccelerate Advanced and are selected to receive funding will receive up to $200,000 in funding for up to 20 per cent equity.
Entrepreneurs will also benefit from the region’s first purpose-built high-tech incubator following the start of construction last month of the 4000-square-metre iAccelerate Centre at UOW’s Innovation Campus. The centre will provide space for more than 280 entrepreneurs.
The Restart Illawarra Infrastructure Fund, which provided $100 million in NSW State Government funding for 12 projects in the region, contributed $16.5 million in funding for the centre.