Written by Irina Belsky
What can Santa give your tech startup this Christmas? A new accelerator program, obviously.
We chatted to Pushstart co-founder Kim Heras about the program.
Ten successful startups will receive $20 000 funding to propel the development of their business ideas, collaborate with mentors and pitch their ideas to investors during a series of demo days at the end of the program. In return Pushstart will take 8% common equity in each startup.
According to Kim one of the goals of the program is to “take the learning from those successful people and take them back to early stage startups”.
While startups will be building and testing their businesses throughout the entire three month program “the balance of it will shift slightly according to which part of the actual process you’re in.”
During the first month mentors and startups will take each other on test drive to decide who works best together. At the same time each startup will concentrate on building and adjusting their business concept to find the most profitable execution. The second month will involve “pushing on really hard with customer development and technical development” while the final month will factor in the pitching process.
Pushstart has also thrown in some entertainment value into the mix. In addition to networking with mentors, entrepreneurs will kick back during weekly informal meals and speeches by guest speakers.
“The idea is for it to be an intensive program but at the same time to provide a variety of interesting events.”
The program will culminate with a series of investor days to allow founder teams to pitch in front of local and international investors.
Startups will have access to executive and investor mentors as well as early stage entrepreneurs who have already experienced a degree of success.
The decision to include early stage entrepreneur mentors came after Pushstart consulted “hundreds” of startups who had expressed “that they got the most value out of the people who were just ahead of them in this startup process.”
As a result of this feedback, the accelerator’s mentor group will consist of both established mentors as well as “people who are on their way to being successful”, for example designcrowd founder Alex Lynch.
While the location hasn’t been decided yet, Kim is adamant that it has to be central and well suited to startups. “One way or another it will be around the sydney CBD. The question is figuring out the best place for startups to be.”
The investor days are scheduled to run in June, and while details won’t be known until late Kim has already began speaking with potential investors.
“The point is not to just have a room full of people but a room full of investors” he explains. “We’ve got plans to have demo days in different locations to get these startups in front of as many investors as possible.”
Although the program finishes after three months, there is nothing that prevents mentors and startups from continuing to collaborate.
“The reality is that we’re seeing mentors helping startups to grow with no financial incentive” Kim concludes, “as a program were committed to helping these startups for as long as possible.”
It’s great to see the startup community in Australia growing to provide entrepreneurs with more opportunities. Like any worthwhile occupation entrepreneurship needs to be supported and encouraged, if we are to benefit from what it can create.