The Franklins: Facing up to the funding gap

The Franklins: Session II (Fundraising)

Why Fundraising?

One of the most challenging aspects of being a founder is fundraising. In particular, female-founded companies face a significant funding gap. In Silicon Valley in 2016, companies founded solely by females accounted for only 3% of the total dollars raised by startups. This is a not a unique issue for the Valley, but is systematic across startup ecosystems around the globe.

A simple search online will deliver copious amounts of information on the subject of fundraising, but the information available is often quite generic or US-oriented. Much of the available resources also focus on the challenges of raising, and can be quite disheartening to founders.

MAP is helping The Franklins to cut through the noise and negativity on the issue of fundraising, by sharing with our founders how it can be done, and how to do it well. By selecting ‘Fundraising’ as the topic of our second Female Founders Leadership Dinner, we provided some much needed Australian and Melbourne-specific advice to our Female Founders seeking to raise.

The Mentors

We all need champions and advocates who support us when we’re feeling low and are the first to celebrate our successes. For startup founders, straight talkers are equally essential. Mentors who can look at you and your business and tell you the truth (versus what you want to hear), while sharing the benefit of their experience, are rare gems. We’re thrilled to welcome two fantastic mentors to The Franklins: Session II:

Kate Morris, CEO & Founder, Adore Beauty


Kate Morris, founder of, started Australia’s first beauty e-commerce site in 1999 from a garage in Melbourne at the age of 21. Starting with just $12,000 and two little known cosmetic companies on board, Adore Beauty has grown to more than 160 brands, 12,000 products, and annual turnover of $24m. A university job on the cosmetic counters led Kate to realise that most women found department stores intimidating and unpleasant. Kate was inspired to create a disruptive beauty shopping experience that empowered consumers.

Kate was awarded the Business Innovation Award for Victoria at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards in 2014, and was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Network Hall of Fame in 2015. Adore Beauty has also been awarded places on high performance lists such as Deloitte’s Tech Fast 50 Australia, Tech Fast 500 Asia-Pacific and the SmartCompany Smart50.

Kerri Lee Sinclair, Chief Investment Officer: Technology & Innovation, Kin Group


Kerri Lee has over 15 years experience working across the high-growth eco-system, from co-founding her own startup, to working with some of Australia’s leading tech businesses, including Intelematics and Aconex.

She recently has moved into leading technical investment/venture capital in a family office. An alumnae of the Springboard program in 2000, she has been involved since the early days of the program being in Australia, and sits on the Board.

Kerri Lee is a MAP mentor and is also an Innovation Expert on the Victorian Government’s Innovation Expert panel.

Host Partner

MAP is proud to partner with One Roof Melbourne to deliver The Franklins: Session II (Fundraising).


One Roof is Australia’s leading co-working space dedicated to women-led businesses and is currently home to 78 businesses at different stages and across an extensive array of industries. One Roof provides everything a woman-led business needs to thrive including office space, tailored business support and a daring, disruptive and passionate community, all under one roof.

sheree-rubenstien.pngJoining us from One Roof is co-founder, Sheree Rubinstein. Inspired by the difficulties she faced when making the decision to leave a stable and financially secure job, Sheree subsequently co-founded One Roof Coworking, a place where she can now provide other aspiring entrepreneurs with the professional support and inspiration women in business need to thrive. Driven by her ambition to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship, Sheree curates and facilitates One Roof’s mentoring programs that support other female entrepreneurs to succeed. She was recently a Victorian finalist in the Telstra Business Women’s Awards.

Participation in The Franklins is by invitation only. If you would like to be considered, please contact Lisian Teh, Development Manager.


The Franklins: Growing pains and pleasures

The Franklins: Session I (Growth)

Why Growth?

A defining characteristic of a startup (as opposed to a small business) is the focus on scalability, and inevitably, growth. The exact conditions and steps taken to achieve growth, however, are a common challenge shared by many startup founders. Once a startup has achieved product-market fit, what comes next?

For the first session in The Franklins, MAP’s Female Founders’ Leadership Series, we set out to address this topic with our founders – many of whom run established startups with international reach, but who may be considering how to sustain their growth in the long run, or how the decisions they make today, impact on the future of their business (and personal life) in years to come.

In the startup ecosystem, women in the middle can sometimes feel left out – but it as this point that they’re often in the midst of tremendous growth as leaders and as business owners. There is incredible support for businesses that are just starting out, and recognition flows steadily to a select number of female leaders in technology or media sectors, so we have made a conscious effort to acknowledge, support and share our learnings with the women doing the hard yards between ‘startup’ and ‘success’.

Post product-market fit, as a startup transforms into a business, culture changes, new processes are required, and hiring and firing challenges present themselves. This transition can be tough on the business, and especially taxing on the founders. By giving The Franklins some positive role modelling and a reference group of fellow female founders at similar stages in their businesses, we hope to make a small contribution to their journey. We felt it was critical to provide these women on the front line with some timely growth advice, and in turn, we hope that they will share their learnings within their own networks, as we share it here with you.

Our Mentor

For the first session in our Female Founders’ Leadership Series, we wanted to introduce The Franklins to an experienced founder who would share their advice for growing a sustainable business (and global empire), but who has also balanced aggressive growth with a consistent vision, a desire to create true impact, and a commitment to quality and leadership. Encouraging everyone to play to their individual strengths and stay focused on their own game, the delightful Amanda Coote shared her learnings with our lucky founders.

Amanda Coote, Entrepreneur & Angel Investor, Co-Founder, Forever New


Amanda is the co-founder of Australian fashion retailer Forever New. She led the company for the first seven years as Managing Director – from conception of vision and business plan in 2005, to start-up in January 2006, then through prolific growth into 8 countries with 2,500 employees and over 300 stores.

In 2013 Amanda established Forever New’s corporate responsibility programme and philanthropic foundation, supporting YGAP and Save the Children. In 2014 she established the Forever New Scholarship at RMIT University, awarding one scholarship in 2014 and two in 2015.

Amanda exited Forever New in August 2015 to complete her Masters degree and pursue her interests in social enterprise, start ups and angel investing. Together with the Wade Institute, Amanda established the first Impact Entrepreneurship Scholarship for candidates entering the Master of Entrepreneurship degree at The University of Melbourne. Amanda has been a MAP mentor since 2014 and is a leading advisor on MAP’s Impact Entrepreneurship initiatives.

Host Partner

MAP is proud to partner with Scale Investors to deliver The Franklins: Session I (Growth).

Scale banner.png

Scale helps investors and entrepreneurial women to connect, invest and succeed. Founded in March 2013, Scale is a female focused angel investor network. The founding members of Scale are women, but they welcome and include men who share their vision of maximising returns by supporting early stage businesses that value gender diverse leadership.

amanda-derham.pngRepresenting Scale Investors is Amanda Derham, Co-CEO (Interim). Amanda is an experienced director, business owner and investor of more than 30 years having worked in mining, dairy manufacturing and financial services who believes in the power of innovation. Amanda has a background in marketing and communications and is currently a director of Anglicare Victoria Inc. and a Life Member of the Museum of Victoria. Amanda’s previous directorships include VLine Pty Ltd, Burra Foods Australia Pty Ltd, Golf Victoria Inc, and the Scotch College Foundation.

From The Franklins

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for inviting me to the dinner. It was so lovely to hear from Amanda Coote and Amanda Derham and to be surrounded by so many like-minded female entrepreneurs!” – Valeria Ignatieva, DCC Jobs

“Amanda Coote said “to succeed you need to be a little bit scared and a hell of a lot excited about what you’re doing”. I’ve just put that on a post-it note on my wall” – Christie Downs, Handdii

“A HUGE thank you for tonight’s event – truly inspirational and it was so great to meet so many talented women, and also to hear insights from Amanda Coote and Amanda Derham!” – Anna Reeves, That Startup Show

Participation in The Franklins is by invitation only. If you would like to be considered, please contact Lisian Teh, Development Manager.

Welcome to The Franklins: Female Founders on the front line

Franklins Leadership Banner 1

MAP’s Female Founders’ Leadership Series (The Franklins) offers mentoring, introductions and practical entrepreneurial education for up to 60 high-potential female entrepreneurs each year. The series is designed to motivate, inspire and connect Australia’s ambitious female founders, helping them to address the challenges of scaling and sustainability.

The Franklins is for women who are disrupting industries, thinking BIG, and making an impact.

We look forward to sharing the stories of our female founders (#FF) in the next few months as we bring together an incredible group of women to support each other, learn and reflect across a series of intimate dinners.

By sharing success stories of female founders, we can encourage other women. By discussing our challenges, we gain perspective, solutions and solidarity.

Stay tuned for more content from direct from The Franklins founders. We hope you’ll share their stories and encourage more female entrepreneurs to get in touch with MAP and apply for the next round of programs.

Welcome to the MAP17 Startup Accelerator teams!

MAP is pleased to announce that we have selected the following 10 teams for the MAP17 Startup Accelerator:

  • Carbar Autos – a virtual dealership revolutionising the used car sales industry.
  • Cabaro – creators of refined and elegant mechanical and quartz watches at affordable prices.
  • FirstStep – a FinTech solution to help users save and invest their money. 
  • George Robotics – manufacturers of hardware and software that makes sophisticated electronics devices more productive and accessible.
  • MimicTec – improving poultry farming productivity through a world-first agricultural infrastructure product that mimics maternal care on commercial farms. 
  • Rebotify – an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) chatbot or ‘Virtual Customer Service Agent’ that offers users a simple and coding-free communications solution.
  • RefLive – a software and smartwatch app that allows sports officials to track time and record match information digitally.
  • Reqfire – a purpose-built platform that facilitates software, website and app design through improved communication between developers and clients.
  • Smileyscope – harnessing Virtual Reality for paediatric care, Smileyscope’s VR visualisation helps children to remain calm and still for injections, allowing doctors to administer care successfully.
  • UmpsHealth – a machine learning platform helping older people to live in their homes for longer through clinical insights and predictive risk analysis.

Each team selected into the MAP Startup Accelerator will receive $20,000 in early stage funding to support the founders in accelerating their businesses, in addition to office space and a comprehensive 5 month program involving structured mentoring, development workshops and pitching opportunities.

Founders from the 10 startups will present their pitches on-stage to a live audience at the MAP17 Accelerator Launch at the Plaza Ballroom at the Regent Theatre on May 31. Register now to support these startups and connect with our vibrant community of experts, entrepreneurs and enthusiasts!

Please direct any questions or media enquiries to

The MAP16 startup accelerator draws to a close

6 months. 10 startups. High-class mentorship and growth opportunities. The 2016 MAP startup accelerator officially concluded on Thursday 27 October with one of the largest events in Melbourne’s entrepreneurship calendar, shared with the city’s finest investors and startup enthusiasts at the grand Melbourne Town Hall.


Startups are each unique, with different growth trajectories and strategic visions. Pitching with numerous styles and exploring a wide variation of sectors, Demo Day captured the unpredictable and exciting nature of the startup world. The startups that we have all grown familiar with throughout the program exhibited their extraordinary progress, each pitching for 3 minutes before a dynamic Q&A session led by Accelerator Manager Maxine Lee. Allume, Simple, Shacky, Axon, Deliciou, Onolytics, Black AI, Bajaboard, Honee and CNSDose each took to the stage, indicating the range and diversity of talent within the program, with startup target sectors ranging from solar energy to MedTech and big data.

Demo Day proved a fitting culmination to the program, as Maxine explained –

The MAP startups this year have exceeded our expectations. The founders have grown together as a cohort and we were blown away by the level of collaboration and camaraderie across the group. Each of the founders have experienced a unique journey – either through applying their learnings to achieve product-market fit, exceeding their growth targets or accelerating product development and expanding their teams.”

The infectious enthusiasm on display in each pitch, from the laughs conjured by Kjetil Hansen of Deliciou to the passion of Shacky’s Joep Pennartz, captivated the audience and demonstrated the dynamism on display every day at Lab-14.

The pitches were preceded by MAP Director Rohan Workman’s welcome address, which stressed the vision of MAP and a continued commitment to diversity throughout all of MAP’s accelerator and development pipeline. MAP seeks to help entrepreneurs of all kinds, recognising the benefits of diversity across gender, nationality, age, ethnicity and beyond. (Read our blog on the issue and how MAP is tackling it, here.)


As the year draws to a close and we welcome our 2016 founders into the MAP alumni community, we look forward to the possibilities of 2017. With a bursting calendar of events catering to all stages of the startup journey and as our startup accelerator continues to evolve, we can’t wait to have you on board.

Inspired? Check out our portfolio of 34 startups, sign up for our newsletter, or get in touch with us.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see what’s in store for 2017!

The Melbourne Startups Making Their Moves – Only at MAP 2016 Demo Day

You’re invited to
MAP 2016 Demo Day
Thursday 27th October 2016, 6pm
Melbourne Town Hall  

What do some of the hottest sectors in innovation have in common? How are medtech, clean energy, extreme sports and big data linked? Answer: they’re all found at the Melbourne Accelerator Program!

On Thursday 27 October, mingle with the founders driving Melbourne’s entrepreneurial scene, as you witness pitches from Allume, Honee, Axon, Deliciou, Shacky, Black AI, Bajaboard, CNSDose, Onolytics and Simple. Marking the official conclusion of the 2016 MAP program, this is your unique opportunity to delve into the world of MAP and see what this extraordinary group of founders have been working on this year.


The MAP startups this year have exceeded our expectations. The founders have grown together as a cohort and we were blown away by the level of collaboration and camaraderie across the group.  Each of the founders have experienced a unique journey – either through applying their learnings to achieve product-market fit, exceeding their growth targets or accelerating product development and expanding their teams.” – Maxine Lee, MAP Accelerator Manager.

With investors, founders, corporates, and champions of Melbourne’s wider entrepreneurial community present, the MAP 2016 Demo Day is your chance to be connected with the best and brightest minds from across Australia. Meet and support the people making Melbourne a world-class startup hub.

Be a part of something big.

Register online today. General admission and limited investor tickets available.

MAP startup Black AI wins leadership award in Tech23 competition

MAP16 startup Black AI were this week awarded the Enterprise Mobility Leadership Award at Tech23’s startup competition in Sydney.

Black AI CEO and co-founder Keaton Okkonen pitches at Tech23.

Black AI have created Ani, an artificial intelligence system that can watch and understand human behaviour. Ani automates the direct observation of people movement and flow through environments, detecting interactions and notable events, reporting on them in real time. The technology focuses on context driven insights, which in essence, provides an efficient system to capture and simplify big data. Ani is already in preliminary market tests, with Black AI securing a partnership with the University of Sydney in a study for early detection of Alzheimers and Dementia.

“This is a hugely scalable program that can be plugged in to any living space to collect the data that you actually need. It shifts our relationship with data from being reactive to proactive”, said Black AI CEO and co-founder Keaton Okkonen, who opened up the 2016 Tech 23 program with his presentation on Smarter Data.

The Black AI team in Seattle at the Imagine Cup World Final 2016.

In July this year Black AI were amongst the 35 teams selected worldwide to compete at the Microsoft Imagine Cup World Finals. Competing in the Innovation category in Seattle, to compete on the world level. From tens of thousands of competitors around the globe, representing Australia as a finalist at the world cup demonstrates the impact of this young team and the potential of Ani to make a positive impact across industries such as healthcare, retail, urban planning and entertainment.

Celebrating Australian innovation, the Tech23 competition attracted over 400 delegates in 2016, its eighth year of operation. Black AI were amongst 23 high-growth potential and technically competitive startups selected to pitch their innovative solutions. Keaton will once again pitch Black AI’s Ani at the Melbourne Town Hall on October 27, as part of the upcoming Melbourne Demo Day featuring the 2016 cohort of MAP’s startup accelerator.

As part of his prize, Keaton will travel to Boston, Massachusetts to learn more about the startup scene on the US East Coast. He will also receive mentorship from Tech23 alumni BigtinCan – the sponsor of the award – and will attend a special Boston Product Management Association event. In addition to the leadership prize, Black AI were also awarded the MYOB award and will receive a personalised session with a MYOB Executive Leader.

Congratulations Keaton and the Black AI team!