Best Startup Accelerators in Sydney

Are you an early-stage startup but are having trouble growing your company? Don’t have the skills or resources to scale up? Lack networks to reach investors? In that case, you might want to look into a startup accelerator program. These are intensive courses designed to support and develop companies with access to education, resources, mentors, and investors. Here’s a list of Sydney’s best startup accelerators.

What is an accelerator?

A startup accelerator is an intensive program that develops companies. These programs last anywhere from two weeks to six months and aim for companies to emerge fully formed in a strong position to enter in their respective target markets.  Unlike startup hubs or coworking spaces that offer solely office space (check out our list of best Sydney coworking spaces!), accelerators are intensive and tailored programs designed specifically to grow companies or develop a fully formed MVP and often culminates in a pitch or demo day in front of potential investors.

When is an accelerator right for you?

Accelerators are playing an increasing role in startup communities. It’s important to remember that not all startups need an accelerator program to scale, and not all startups who undergo accelerator programs will come out successful. The typical accelerator program is designed for startups who have moved beyond the earliest stages of establishment, although programs for early-stage ventures or scale-ups also exist. 

List of Best Startup Accelerators in Sydney

We’ve compiled a list of Sydney’s best accelerator and startup programs. Please note this list is not exhaustive and focuses mainly on startup accelerators. Click below to jump directly to the accelerator you’re interested in. 

Startmate | Cicada Innovations | Remarkable | muru-D | Edugrowth | H2 Ventures | Springboard Enterprises | Blue Chilli | Slingshot | UNSW 10x Founders | USYD Incubate | UTS The Hatchery

Did we miss your accelerator? If you’d like to be featured in this list, give us a shout at letschat@haymarkethq.com

 

Length: 3 months
Investment: $75,000 for 7.5% equity
Keywords: tech

Startmate, run by Blackbird Ventures, is Australia’s leading tech startup accelerator with an impressive list of startup success stories that have collectively raised over tens of millions of dollars. Startmate invests in great Australian founders who are on a mission to be the best in the world—meaning that applicants must be passionate and hungry to learn with global ambitions.

It goes without saying that startups in their program are privy to the support of their huge nationwide mentor network that include big names such as Atlassian co-founders, Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. What makes Startmate different is that mentors invest their own money into the program, making them committed and highly involved in the startups they’re helping to develop.

The formal part of the investment is a 3-month program that begins with a local immersion trip and includes weekly meetups. The course ends with 2 demo days and a week-long immersion trip in San Francisco.

“Startmate puts companies through a process of releasing your first product and winning your first customers.” — Niki Scevak, Founder

Keywords: deeptech, agtech, medtech

Cicada Innovations is all about deep tech. Startups here, like Invertigro, are often involved in agriculture or health care. Cicada Innovations Incubator is a private business, owned by four of Australia’s leading universities: Australian National University, University of New South Wales, University of Sydney and University of Technology Sydney. By calling Cicada Innovations home, you’ll have access to their prototyping labs and tech and facilities to build, test, and iterate your tech and of course, mentors with relevant experience in deep tech industries.

Cicada Innovations was named the 2018 Global Incubator of the Year by the INBIA: International Business Innovation Association.

Cicada runs two main programs for those in the agtech and medtech sectors.

Growlab – Agrifood Deep Tech Accelerator

Length: 6 months
Investment:
$30k for 5%

Startups from Growlab are bringing cutting edge technology to global sectors in Australia and around the world. The program consists of a 3-month structured program in Sydney, followed by a further 3 months in Cicada’s incubator. Startups will receive mentoring from leading industry innovators and investors and visits Australian and global agricultural ecosystems for a more expansive view of the market.

Cicada Medlab

Length: 4 months
Investment:
$50k (to $250k) for 5%

Cicada Medlab is designed for startups with a passion in changing people’s lives and transforming healthcare. The immersive program is geared towards medtech founders in their early-stage and is mentor-driven and participants will be coached by medtech specialists while having access to prototyping labs and resources.

Length: 16 weeks
Investment: $35,000 for 5%
Keywords: tech, disability sector, wellbeing, diversity

Remarkable’s mission is to harness the power of technology to create a better life for people with disabilities. The accelerator program welcomes early-stage startups that are using technology to address core activities in areas such as wellbeing, independence and inclusion, whether it be physical, social, or economical. Ideally, companies should already have a functioning prototype and are in the stage of seeking the resources and knowledge to grow.

The program runs for 16 weeks and teams are coached with an resident entrepreneur to set no-fail goals for weekly accountability. Along with typical accelerator perks, such as mentor support, workshops, and co-working space (at the Sydney Startup Hub), Remarkable also offers regular health and wellbeing assessments and coaching on social impact measurement. Participants also have access to valuable expertise in the disability sector, and have access to world class therapy, lifestyle supports, housing and research programs, user testing and feedback.

“The Remarkable Accelerator has had a massive impact on us. We went in as a few people with a semi-good idea, and came out a lean, focused and investment ready social enterprise with a killer pitch. Highly recommended if you’re serious about taking your social enterprise to the next level!” — Mel Fuller & Johan du Plessis, AbilityMate

Length: 6 months
Investment: $75,000 in seed funding
Keywords: tech, global, industry agnostic

muru (stylised in lowercase) is derived from the Sydney Aboriginal Eora word meaning ‘path’, and ‘d’ stands for ‘digital’—‘a path to digital’. And that’s exactly what muru-D’s mission is—to help Australia become a global centre for digital business, and pushing tech companies focused on solving challenging global problems to the forefront.

The accelerator is backed by Telstra, Australia’s largest telecommunications company. Apart from being industry agnostic and welcoming of companies at any stage of their business, what makes muru-D’s different from the average accelerator is their tailored programs that takes into consideration the differing needs of founders. A flexible curriculum and structure means startups can extract maximum value with their time. Programs offer seed funding, global connections to a network of investors, mentors, and alumni, co-working space, masterclasses and an international trip to a startup hub.

The 6-month program runs once per year, one in each of the four locations (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth). To date, they have had over a hundred successful companies in their portfolio, 17 of which have raised upwards of $1 million.

“muru-D helped us move from a local business to a global business with a presence now in the US & UK as well as Australia. Both professional and personally, muru-D has been one of the best things that happened to me.” —Gary Elphick, Founder & CEO, DisruptSports

Keywords: education, edtech

Like its name suggests, Edugrowth is all about helping Australian startups in the edtech industry transform into world class innovation leaders. Global education is constantly evolving and the industry is forecasted to reach $10 trillion dollars by 2030. In Australia, it is the number one exported service. Edugrowth is Australia’s only startup accelerator dedicated to helping startups within the education sector and offers unique access to industry experts and professionals. Startups will have connections to universities, K-12 and tertiary partners to help them nativage their way to success.

There are three core accelerators on offer at Edugrowth, each focusing on startups at different stages of growth.

Full Time Accelerator

Length: 6 months
Investment:
$50,000 for 6% equity

A six month program that helps startups connect with industry leaders and develop their product ready to launch.

EdTech Pre-Accelerator

For startups that have just newly launched or are still in their formative stages, Edugrowth offers a unique online program aimed at helping businesses get off the ground. Live classes are conducted via Facebook Live and regular weekly workshops will equip teams with the ability to critically analyse ideas and markets. Outstanding teams will be invited to a final pitch night.

Scale Program

This program is designed to help guide mid and late stage Australian edtech startups through their next stage of growth by focusing on how to effectively expand on a global scale.

Length: 20 weeks
Investment: $100,000 for 10% equity
Keywords: fintech, data, analytics, AI

Have an idea in fintech, data, analytics, AI? Launched in 2014 as the AWI Ventures Accelerator by the then Australian Federal Government Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, H2 Ventures strives to play a role in disrupting the financial service space as Australia continues to emerge as a global fintech leader.

With an ecosystem comprising of industry experts, entrepreneurs, executives, engineers, legislators, regulators, and academics, you’ll always have expert guidance and support in growing your business. The application process is open all year round and once selected, chosen startups will undergo intensive training and education before a demo pitch night, while participating in regular investor pitches and product demos along the way.

The program boasts a strong portfolio of over 55 companies with a strong presence of female founders and teams from a variety of countries around the world such as Vietnam, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.

Keywords: tech, female entrepreneurship, health sciences, biotech

SBE Australia understands the challenges of being a female founder. At Springboard, it’s all about community. “Entrepreneurship is not a solo piece. You can’t build a business in isolation,” says president and co-founder Amy Millman. “What we find is that a lot of women come up with ideas, but they have no way to build a network while building a business.” The not-for-profit community helps female founders gain the skills, support, confidence, and connections to take their business to the next level.

The application process for Springboard programs may be rigorous, but the value is immense for any women-led startup looking to grow.

Springboard offers 3 programs:

Springboard Tech Accelerator Program

Length: 8 weeks

For emerging high-growth tech companies with women in senior leadership positions that includes a 3-day Sydney bootcamp and an 8-week coaching program before a pitch night with investors and corporate executives.

Life Sciences Accelerator Program

Length: 8 weeks

This program calls for women-led healthcare and life science companies in search of seed and growth funding and industry networks to develop innovative solutions in the pharma space, such as tech, diagnostics, drug-delivery devices etc. The program runs much like the tech accelerator with a 3-day Melbourne bootcamp, 8-week coaching, and a pitch night.

E3: Empower, Evolve, Escalate

Length: 8 weeks

If your tech or biotech business is up and running and you’re lacking the resources and connections to scale, look no further than Springboard’s E3 course. Designed for female founders of scalable tech or biotech businesses, this program calls for startups that already have an MVP or achieved proof of concept and relative traction.

“The evidence shows that when women are adequately funded and access to supportive networks they perform well. In fact they outperform. Our program creates an environment that builds confidence, knowledge and connections that is life changing for women entrepreneurs and their business.” — Topaz Conway, Chair Emeritus, SBE Australia

Keywords: corporate, tech, female entrepreneurship

Blue Chilli is more than just Australia’s largest startup accelerator. There are 6 programs on offer that each focus on specific industry challenges from small business to smart cities. Programs are backed by notable corporates such as Coca-Cola Amatil, Suncorp Bank, and Microsoft. Blue Chilli programs don’t just provide quality advisors, companies start with a full team of engineers that work with you to launch your business. Selected startups will receive up to $100,000 in pre-seed and up to $500,000 in seed funding as well as lucrative introductions to global corporates and scale partners.

Subscribe to the website to keep up with application opening dates. Here are some notable ones:

Coca-cola Amatil Xcelerate

Investment: $38,000 upfront investment, up to $500,000 in return for 15%

Length: 6 months

For globally scalable tech startups with big ambitions and ideas for a better future. Powered by Coca-Cola Amatil, startups using technologies such as blockchain, machine learning, or AI to create positive global impacts and will gain the added benefit of leveraging Coca-Cola’s insights, brand, and powerful network.

SheStarts

Investment: $25,000 for 15% equity

Length: 6 months

SheStarts is a venture-backed startup program designed to help female entrepreneurs build big tech businesses. The program begins with a rapid two and a half week bootcamp of masterclasses, mentoring and workshops before being formally accepted into the accelerator.

Keywords: corporate, food and beverage, health care, regional entrepreneurs, retail, airline industries

Accelerator programs at Slingshot brings corporates and game-changing disruptive startups together. By harnessing the scale, resources, and access of corporates, Slingshot accelerators provide entrepreneurs with the capital, support, facilities and services to excel businesses and get them ready for commercialisation. While the program may be rigorous and rapid, startups can achieve dramatic commercial results.

Most of these industry specific accelerator runs multiple programs designed to help niche startups in varying stages of development. Here are some notable ones:

Unleashed with Lion Co

Length: 12 weeks
Investment: Initial $50,000 for 10%

Looking to kickstart your startup in the food and beverage industry? Unleashed is a collaboration between Lion (the company behind beloved Australian products such as Dare Iced Coffee, Dairy Farmers Milk, XXXX Gold and more) and offers a 12-week program designed to help validate and build an MVP.

Catalyst with HCF

Length: 12 weeks
Investment: Initial $50,000 for 10%

HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit health fun, is on the lookout for startups that can solve challenges in making health care more affordable, understandable, better quality, and more customer centric.

Icon Regional Accelerator with The University of Newcastle

Length: 10 weeks
Investment: Initial $25,000 for 10%

Startups aren’t always located in big cities. Some of the most innovative ideas come from the most regional areas in Australia. Icon provides opportunities for regional founders to grow their businesses globally.

Spark with Caltex

Length: 12 weeks
Investment: Initial $50,000 for 10%

Caltex is passionate about Australia’s future in innovation, job creation, and technology. Startups with ambitions in redefining tech solutions in mobility, retail, or customer experience are encouraged to participate and will receive all the benefits the iconic Australian corporation has to offer.

Avro Accelerator with QANTAS

Length: 12 weeks
Investment: $50,000 for 10%

This program gives participants the chance to work with Qantas Group to develop their business. The challenge is to come up with solutions in the airline industry, ranging from customer service to sustainability to engineering.

Length: 10 Weeks
Investment: $25,000 equity free seed funding
Keywords: students, staff, alumni, UNSW

The University of New South Wales’s flagship accelerator is tailored for students, staff, and alumni with high-potential startups that want to make it big. Accepted companies will not only receive $20,000 in funding, but undergo 10 weeks of accelerated learning and receive access to co-working space and amenities courtesy of the university. This program is for those with a true passion for startups and what better place for a founder to learn than the global centre for innovation—Silicon Valley, San Francisco. Accompanying the course is a trip to Silicon Valley where startups will be able to connect with seasoned entrepreneurs and participate in intensive workshops.

Length: 14 weeks
Investment: $5000 equity free seed funding
Keywords: students, staff, alumni, USYD

Incubate is USYD’s flagship startup program that encourages students, alumni and researches to launch startups. Since 2012 they’ve fostered over 70 Startups, across 10 classes that are now worth over $40m!

Incubate sports 4 programs that support budding entrepreneurs at all stages from inspiration to ideas to launch. If your startup is at an entry-level, Incubate offers an 5-week introductory program designed to assist students pursue their ideas and learn the next steps in getting their company started.

Otherwise, their main accelerator is a 14-week program that offers $5000 equity free seed funding and 14 weeks of co-working space on campus, with all the mentorship and knowledge offered by innovator-led workshops.

They also deliver one-on-one mentoring programs and grants for on-campus innovations.

Length: 3 months
Investment: $2000 equity free seed funding
Keywords: students, staff, alumni, UTS

Over at UTS is The Hatchery, designed to education and launch the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The Hatchery offers 3 programs revolved around the different stages of the entrepreneurial journey: Ideate, Accelerate, and International.

Hatchery Ideate is offered in both online and in person format and is aimed at coaching students and staff that are passionate about entering the world of entrepreneurship. Hatchery International is geared towards the globally-minded entrepreneur and provides tailored programs and the opportunities for international engagement.

Their main accelerator program gives students, alumni and staff mentorship, mentors, and co-working space to have startups ready to pitch in front of investors at the end of its 3 month long course. The program also provides a grant of $2000 with no equity.

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