The impressive Plaza Ballroom at the Melbourne Regent Theatre was a fitting setting for the launch of the 2016 Melbourne Accelerator Program, where the ten startups that have been admitted for this year’s intake were formally announced. With a crowd of over 750 people at the launch, this year’s program is set to be the biggest and most successful yet, with MAP looking to build upon its ranking of 8th best University accelerator in the world.
MAP’s startup accelerator received over 120 applications this year – more than all of the applications combined from previous years. Applications were diverse in every sense, which MAP looks forward to continuing to improve upon and encourage. The program rewards successful applicants with office space, industry-leading mentorship, pitching opportunities across Australia and Silicon Valley, and A$20,000 funding – equity free. This year, ten startups were accepted, up from eight last year as a result of Australia Post’s support of two additional startups.
The evening kicked off with a sense of anticipation building in the ballroom. Seats filled, standing areas filled, stairways filled, Accelerator Manager Maxine Lee began proceedings with an overview of the program and this year’s application process. Rohan Workman, MAP Director, then took to the stage to outline MAP’s grand design for growing the entrepreneurship scene in Melbourne. Taking us on a brief history of MAP, the program has gone from Rohan working part-time in 2012 to today’s format where MAP fills a ballroom for its events. Rohan stressed that MAP is just part of a startup’s journey – a facilitator to provide the conditions for growth and success. Partnerships are a key component of this – MAP’s collaboration with Australia Post was represented by Greg Sutherland, who described his delight at working with the program and in helping broaden entrepreneurial talent and training in Melbourne and beyond into regional Australia. Before the Startups then pitched their ideas, Entrepreneur-in-Residence Jeremy Kraybill explained his involvement in MAP, particularly how the program has inspired him to volunteer more time and even move his business to Lab-14. It was suggested that at the current rate of growth, MAP may need to hire the MCG for the 2017 launch party….watch this space.
The main feature of the night was for the accepted startups to pitch their businesses to the diverse audience – given three minutes each. In a telling sign about the sense of community fostered in the program, each startup introduced the next, with high-energy performances and the crowd evidently engaged. The ten startups who shall complete the 2016 Melbourne Accelerator Program are:
- Allume Energy – A renewable energy technology company focused on grid sharing and solar as a service for Australian communities.
- Kind – Provides home care services to help seniors live a fulfilled life in their own home.
- Onomap – Identifies unique insights from customer data.
- Black – A collective of hackers looking to build a smarter world.
- Bajaboard – An all terrain buggy at your feet.
- Shacky – Tiny house getaways.
- Honee – The discovery and booking platform for all wellness, beauty and fitness services in Melbourne.
- Deliciou – Offers premium blends of healthy snacks and seasonings that are fun and easy to use.
- Axon – Connections in health.
- CNSDose – Genetically Guided Antidepressants: Fast-Track Finding the Right Antidepressant.
Congratulations must be extended to the successful startups, who join the program at the start of June. However there are so many more points of contact through which to get involved in MAP. Masterclass speeches, Velocity Series workshops, Founder Meet-Ups, Open-office hours and the grand Melbourne Entrepreneurship Gala in August make up just some of the activities that MAP offers to Melbourne’s entrepreneurs and interested parties alike.
With formalities complete, drinks flowed and networking continued late into the evening – with the venue even having to announce that the event had concluded, such was the sustained energy in the room. The Launch represents just the start of what will be a massive year for MAP and entrepreneurship in Melbourne. Many events will be running throughout the year, so make sure that you keep an eye on MAP’s eventbrite and keep in touch.