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Sydney start-ups graduate from global accelerator program

Wednesday, 10 July 2013 | By Rose Powell

A localised weather station system to improve agricultural yield and a social network for motoring enthusiasts are among the eight start-ups that graduated from the Sydney 2013 program of the Founder Institute, an international start-up accelerator program.


The graduates were selected from almost 100 applicants, finished all assignments in the 14-week program and survived two review processes by mentors.


The Sydney program is coordinated by mentor and investor Benjamin Chong and digital start-up entrepreneur and consultant Tom Frazier.


Frazier told StartupSmart the program is only interested in developing people who plan to build meaningful and enduring tech companies.


“By meaningful, we mean it needs to have the potential to affect a million lives, and by sustainable, we mean a business on its own for 20 years,” Frazier says.


“Our focus isn’t on the company, it’s on the person. Our role is to build Batman, someone who has passion and we just give them the tools and techniques to do that.”


The program selects entrants based on psychometric testing around six key entrepreneurial characteristics: emotional stability, fluid intelligence, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and capacity for extroversion.


“We need a high level of emotional stability and openness. You only need a moderate amount of agreeableness, but you need to be highly conscientious, with the ability to understand problems that may or may not seem related to the problem directly at hand,” Frazier says, adding that founders don’t need to be naturally extroverted but they need to be able to wear the many hats a chief executive requires.

The graduates are:


Tom Smith from Agile Weather, localised weather station system to improve agricultural yield;


Javier Temponi from Acento, a cloud-based workforce productivity system for call centres;


Dave Michayluk from Super Pick, an education focused self-managed superannuation fund;


Paul Beard from Wine Badger, a website for Australian wines;


Yvonne Lee from OddSwop, a marketplace for community sellers;


Vincent Chong from Car Profilez, a social network specifically for motoring enthusiasts;


Alex Hutchison from Insydr, a software to help tour operators manage inventory;


Sarah Maloof from Powerd8, a dating platform for single professional workers.


Frazier says over 40 chief executives and mentors visited the program. He says the most important idea the program seeks to instil is successful start-ups are all about execution.


“The big thing they’ve all grown to understand is how all the pieces of building a business fit together. A lot of people come into our program with a great idea, and what we try to show them that your idea isn’t worth anything, it’s the execution that counts,” Frazier says.