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Melbourne soliciting accelerator programmes to fill 500 Startups gap

29 Aug 17

LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s startup agency, has today opened its fourth round of funding to attract world-class accelerator programs to Melbourne.

LaunchVic is seeking to invest up to AU$3 million per application in the best Australian or international accelerators and teams with proven track records for running accelerators.

Dr Kate Cornick, LaunchVic CEO, says attracting world-class accelerators would strategically build capability and excellence into Victoria’s local startup ecosystem and replace the gap left by the termination of the 500 Startups contract in August.

“Successful applicants will need to demonstrate their experience in delivering a world-class accelerator that will help Victoria’s best and brightest startups to achieve on an international scale.”

LaunchVic terminated its partnership with 500 Startups earlier this month, following the resignation of 500 Melbourne lead Rachael Neumann.

Warning bells were signalled when 500 Startups became embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal after co-founder Dave McClure was accused of using his influence in the startup ecosystem to make unwanted advances on women.

500 Startups had to apologise to LaunchVic for not sharing its internal investigation into the sexual harassment claims against McClure as he prepared to launch the 500 Melbourne accelerator.

“We said at the time we would reinvest the $2.9 million allocated for 500 Startups to another world-class accelerator program of the same calibre, and we’re doing it,” Cornick says.

Cornick says to date, LaunchVic had allocated 70% of its grant funding to local home-grown programs and would continue to invest at a local and a global level to drive outcomes that will position Victoria’s startup ecosystem as a leader.

Growing talent and expertise is a core part of LaunchVic’s strategy and something that will be essential going forward to achieve Victoria’s potential to be a leading startup destination.

A recently commissioned survey of the Victorian startup ecosystem highlighted the sophisticated and diverse mix of startups across a variety of industries including strengths in health, enterprise and corporate services and media and entertainment.

The funding round will close on Tuesday, October 10.

It will be supported by online information sessions.

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