ANZ’s startup accelerator reveals next class


news The Innovyz START startup accelerator program recently launched by ANZ Bank and partner Innovyz has revealed the second 10 startups to which it will attract funding and mentorship, with the major of successful startups originating in South Australian capital city Adelaide.

ANZ Innovyz START is a 13-week accelerator program modeled after the successful TechStars program in the United States. The program provides a $6,000 stipend to each founder (up to $18,000 per company) to participate in the program, as well as working with the startups to help commercialise their operations and giving them access to potential investors. The group is one of 50 startup accelerators in the Global Accelerator Network that was created by TechStars. The program is the result of a partnership between the bank and South Australian firm Innovyz.

In a statement released yesterday, the bank said the 10 selected startups were picked from a total of 120 which applied to the program. The startups will relocate to Adelaide to participate in the program. Jana Matthews, Managing Director of ANZ Innovyz START said: “We were looking for break-through ideas that could be enabled by web 2.0, software and mobile. We have been very pleased with the breadth and depth of business ideas we’ve seen in the applications for the 2013 ANZ Innovyz START program. The vision, passion and ambition of our entrants is testament to Australia’s burgeoning start-up and small business eco-system.”

Nick Reade, ANZ General Manager for Small Business, said: “ANZ’s ongoing support for this program forms part of our commitment to the Australian Small Business sector and in particular start-up businesses. When you’re a start-up business, success requires more than a great innovative idea, it’s about having the right support, mentoring and access to knowledgeable investors to get off the ground”.

“This program is about fostering growth and innovation in start-up businesses and working with start-up companies to rapidly accelerate their growth. We’re a strong supporter of the start up segment, approving around 7 out of 10 start up loan applications.”

In a separate blog post, Matthews added that company founders were arriving in Adelaide this weekend from Melbourne, Sydney, Canada, the US and UK. “Last time we had fireworks the first night for Cooper’s Brewery’s 50th birthday party,” they said. “This time we have the “Tour Down Under” – what great beginnings for our programs! We begin on Monday, and on Tuesday CEOs and co-founders of four of our companies from Program 1 are coming in to talk with the new class – to share tips, lessons learned, and insights. It will be fun to watch them in the role of “the wise ones”.”

“I keep remembering one of my favourite quotes that’s chiseled above the fireplace at my university: “They gathered sticks, kindled a fire, and left it burning.” We all have a responsibility to gather sticks, pass on knowledge, and keep the fire burning for the future generations of students, entrepreneurs, and company founders. I’m proud of our company founders and their willingness to “give back” – and grateful to our mentors for setting such a good example.”

The successful startups are:

The Unicoach: A system that guides undergraduates through a step-by-step process that increases their productivity and enables them to achieve academic success (from Adelaide)

Kicktone: A website that enables bands to sell music directly to their fans through their existing social networks – no labels, no middle-men, no distributors (Adelaide)

Yesoft: A software company whose first product is Singa, a social network platform for both web and mobile devices that enables users to karaoke LIVE with online friends anywhere in the world (Adelaide)

FitUsIn: A booking site for the health and fitness industry that allows users to quickly compare gym deals and book their visits online (Adelaide)

Mobility Unlimited: A convenient new technology for all types of road price charging, regardless of location (Adelaide)

Datamunch: An online service that enables users to easily combine isolated datasets and gain insights quicker and cheaper than alternatives (Adelaide)

Edgebox: Web based software solutions that measure and promote data-driven improvements in patient safety in hospitals (Adelaide)

Memtell: A secure cloud based archival solution, which enables the sharing of product information, graphics, or personal memories in an audio-visual format (Melbourne)

TowardTheStars: A website with products that counter stereotypes and contribute to the health and wellbeing of girls all over the world (Sydney)

Agent Anything: A website that connects people and companies to cost-effective student labour for almost any kind of task, temporary job or service (Canada, USA, and UK)

It’s good to see ANZ and Innovyz really opening the field to these startups, taking startups in a wide range of different areas, with quite a few featuring products and services completely unrelated to banking and financial services. Too often when a major corporation gets involved in startup accelerator programs, they tend to support startups which they believe could eventually help the corporation itself in its own aims.

I also want to note that there really is quite a lot of early stage investment capital available in Australia now for technology startups. There are now half a dozen of these accelerator programs, and they’re available in most capital cities. Need a few tens of thousands of dollars to get a new business off the ground? Odds are you’ll be able to attract that funding at the moment — there are quite a few options out there.

Image credit: Belinda Lester, Creative Commons