The difference between accelerators and incubators
Accelerators and incubators mean different things to different people.
Generally speaking, incubators support startups to start and grow and provide a longer-term and more hands-off support structure.
Startup accelerators are often intensive programs designed to help early-stage startups to grow quickly. Accelerators provide a mix of education, mentorship, networking opportunities, and access to resources such as office space or professional services.
It’s important to remember that not all startups need an accelerator to scale, and not all startups who undergo accelerator programs will come out successful.
Focus: Early-stage tech startups
Funding: First phase (10 weeks): stipend of $3,000. Second phase: Investment of $150,000 for a 10% equity stake.
Duration: 3-6 months
Antler is a global startup accelerator and early-stage venture capital firm that operates around the world. Antler has less intensive programming and focuses more on providing funding, dedicated coaching, industry connections, and business support to scale operations.
The program spans over three to six months and is split into two phases. In the first phase, participants are provided a stipend to support them in developing their ideas. If their pitch is deemed promising, Antler will invest in their startup to help them build in phase two.
For first-time or early stage founders and teams, Antler also offers the Pre-Launch program to help match co-founders, form teams, and validate concepts.
Focus: Migrant and refugee founders
Funding: Various founder grants available
Duration: 3 months
Catalysr helps entrepreneurs from migrant and refugee backgrounds launch and grow successful businesses and social enterprises. The goal of the program is to empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to create their own employment opportunities and contribute to the Australian economy.
Done in two yearly cohorts, participants go through an intensive bootcamp where they will be paired with an Entreprneeur in Resident who acts as mentor over the three months of the program to hit goals.
Focus: Early-stage tech that can add value to EY services
Funding: No, but provides EY benefits including Microsoft Azure credits
Duration: 3-6 months
The EY Foundry is an incubator that supports early-stage tech startups. It offers a virtual incubator, with no equity stake, to help these startups accelerate their growth through piloting and scaling activities with EY.
The program is tailored to startups that can bring value to EY's services in four major areas: Services of Tomorrow, New Enterprise, Sustainability, and People and Wellness.
Focus: Disability tech
Funding: $75,000AUD cash for 5% equity
Duration: 16 weeks
Remarkable is an accelerator that supports startups that positively impact disabled people. Focusing on technology for disability, aging, and health spaces, they provide a number of programs for companies that drive inclusion and accessibility.
The flagship Remarkable Accelerator spans 16 weeks and connects startups with seed funding, expert coaches and mentors.
Focus: Tech startups
Funding: Up to $120,000
Duration: 12 weeks
One of the leading startup accelerators in Australia and New Zealand, Startmate has helped to launch and scale many successful companies including Canva and Liven. Participants go through a rigorous selection process to be accepted into the cohort and can expect an intensive mix of training, workshops, and mentorship to help you scale.
If being a founder isn’t for you, Startmate also offers First Believers, an immersive program for amateur angel investors.
Techstars Tech Central Sydney
Focus: Emerging tech
Funding: Up to $120,000 for stock
Duration: 3 months
Techstars is a global pre-seed investor that offers a range of accelerator programs across the globe. In partnership with the NSW Governement, Techstars Tech Central Sydney is bringing the renowned Techstars structure to Sydney.
This program focuses on emerging tech including artificial intelligence, advanced manufacturing, blockchain, fintech, cloud computing, cybersecurity, quantum computing, creative tech, and climate tech.
For startups or ‘scaleups’ that are already active in locals markets and are now considering new markets, or want to speed up their expansion to another country, there are a number of country or market specific programs to take advantage of.
Location: Level 2/63 Dixon St, Haymarket
Focus: International growth
Ideal for: Startups and scaleups that want to grow internationally
Haymarket HQ supports companies, from startups to listed enterprises, to expand into new markets. HHQ offers advisory and growth programs that have supported 800+ Australian companies to expand into new markets and foreign companies to grow into Australia. Through education and workshops, targeted introductions, and mentorship, these programs help companies speed up their expansion and increase their valuations.
Some programs include:
Sydney Landing Pad: for international companies to expand into Australia
Vietnam Business Booster: for Australian exporters to grow into Vietnam
GIA Singapore-Australia Market Accelerator: for Singaporean tech companies to expand into Australia
Austrade Landing Pads
Location: Around the world
Focus: Market expansion
Ideal for: Australian companies looking to grow into overseas markets
Austrade’s Landing Pads are a network of specialised programs to support Australian technology companies to expand globally. The Austrade Landing Pads are for companies looking to validate market entry strategies or seeking guidance, introductions, and connections to scale quickly into market.
These programs are delivered in collaboration with partners deeply embedded in their local tech ecosystems and include places like Tel Aviv, Shanghai, San Francisco, London, Singapore, New York and Bengaluru.
These incubators focus on particular deeptech industries, sectors or verticals and offer specialised support, equipment, and facilities.
The Quantum Terminal
Location: Central Station, L1 Dulwich Hill Light Rail Stop, 1 Eddy Avenue, Grand Concourse, Haymarket
Focus: Quantum technology and adjacent industries
The Quantum Terminal is nestled in the iconic Sydney Terminal Building right above Central Station. TQT offers a massive 3000sqm of office space and amenities to its tenants and focusses on supporting companies within the Quantum Technology, High Performance Computing, Artificial Intelligence and adjacent technology verticals.
ANSTO (Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation)
Location: New Illawarra Road, Lucas Heights, NSW 2234
Focus: Deeptech, Health, Environment, Nuclear
Australia's Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is the home of Australia’s most significant infrastructure for research. Scientists or startup entrepreneurs with deeptech and academia backgrounds can access to state-of-the-art instruments and support.
Location: 145/4 Cornwallis St, Eveleigh NSW 2015
Focus: Deeptech, MedTech, HealthTech, AgTech, FoodTech, Clean Energy, AI, Manufacturing 4.0, Spacetech
Cicada Innovations is Australia's flagship deeptech incubator, with cutting-edge labs and facilities, access to mentorship and community in deeptech. Additionally, they offer a number of accelerator and commercialisation programs.
When it comes to industry focus, Cicada is perfect for those in MedTech, HealthTech, AgTech, FoodTech, Clean Energy, AI, Manufacturing 4.0 and more. More recently, they’ve also launched the National Space Industry Hub.
University accelerators and incubators
Universities will often have their own dedicated startup support system for their students and alumni. This includes both pre-accelerator and accelerator programs, coworking spaces and mentors. These are a great starting point for budding founders who want to build a business but don’t know where to start or those who are working towards an MVP.
University of New South Wales
For accelerator programs, UNSW provides a variety of programs under the UNSW Founders umbrella. This includes the 10x Accelerator and the Peter Farrell Cup and industry-specific programs, including Health and Synthetic Biology.
For coworking space and community in the UNSW, the MCIC (Michael Crouch Innovation Centre) has various spaces and facilities for student and alumni entrepreneurs to design and prototype new ventures.
University of Sydney
Location: Level 2, Merewether Building H04, The University of Sydney
Current students or alumni can find support at USYD via programs and coworking hub, including their flagship early-stage startup accelerator INCUBATE.
For later stage commercial and social enterprises, the Genesis program provides a chance to receive equity-free funding, media exposure, and business connections.
If you’re looking for a collaboration space and an innovative community at USYD, go to the Sydney Knowledge Hub. It supports small and medium businesses working with the University, and for researchers bringing their inventions to market.
University of Technology Sydney
Location: Harris St, Ultimo
For students and alumni of UTS, you can find coworking and support in the UTS Startups building located in Building 15. It brings together and community of student entrepreneurs and mentors and allows for ideation and creation in a variety of collaboration spaces. UTS Startups also offer regular events and meetups.
Location: Macquarie University Incubator, 8 Hadenfeld Ave, Macquarie University
Regardless of whether you have studied at Macquarie University or not, the MQ space, as part of their MQ Incubator program, is open for founders and teams looking for support in creating new ventures or scaling existing startups. They offer a support community, diverse coworking spaces, lab facilities as well as workshops, programs and in-house mentoring.