Announcing Founder Matching at Cicada GrowLab

Today we’re announcing a new program to match talented people from the commercial world with amazing agrifood technologists. Each step of the way will be laid out for you from finding the right people to join your team to building a world-leading agrifood tech startup company. Interested to learn more? Register here to be kept in the loop!

Since 2000, we’ve had more deep tech teams that anywhere else in Australia call Cicada Innovations home. One thing’s for sure, it’s the people and team behind invention that correlates most strongly to their success.

We love it when we see those more science-minded take their know-how and harness the grit to solve big problems, turning great research into a great business. There are many science-minded folks within our community that is evidence of this:

  • Michael De Nil and Andrew Terry from Morse Micro
  • Dr Tony Weiss from Elastagen
  • Dr Anastasia Volkova from Flurosat
  • Dr Ali Fathi and Terence Abrams from Trimph
  • Dr Elisa Mokany and Dr Alison Todd from SpeeDx
  • And too many others to name!

But it’s not easy. Teams that work are a combination of skills, experience, personalities and old fashioned chemistry. There is no one formula.

At GrowLab, we want to help teams that already have great science and technology with some of that commercial magic and marketing pizazz that’s needed to build a great startup.

So we are running this pilot program, to see if we can either:

1. Bring teams together than wouldn’t otherwise startup

2. Supercharge teams that already exist

What we are doing about it

Step 1. Finding the best agrifood breakthroughs

There are so many amazing technologies, concepts and curious people throughout the Australian innovation ecosystem. It can be tough to identify these technologies, and even tougher to identify the right way to get these technologies to market.

In 2019, we are doing a few things to help you answer that first, pivotal question: is a startup even the right way to get your technological breakthrough to market?

# Workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs in foodtech

For technologists (honours, PhD or academic) that don’t know where to start, we will be coming to centres of research excellence in agriculture and food and providing free half day workshops to see if this could be the right path for you.

In just a few hours you’ll learn the basics of Lean Startup Methodology, meet like-minded people and sharpen your idea. You’ll come away with a clear set of next steps to take if a startup is right for you and your technology.

Foodtech workshops

Sydney Foodtech startup masterclass — February 6, 2019

Melbourne Foodtech startup masterclass — February 21, 2019

Adelaide Foodtech startup masterclass — February 27, 2019

Agtech workshops

Melbourne agtech startup masterclass — February 22, 2019

Adelaide agtech startup masterclass — February 28, 2019

Sydney agtech startup masterclass — February 26, 2019


Have we missed something? Would you like us to run something in your area? Is there a specific meetup or group you’d like us to support? Reach out and let us know! Or if you’re wanting to get involved in agrifood startups register your interest now.

Step 2. Bringing technical and commercial people together

Ok. So now we’ve identified all the coolest technologies and -ists. Next up we will make it easy for commercial gurus to matchmake with these amazing inventors.

We’re looking for curious, passionate and experienced commercial people looking to make their mark on the world. If you’re wondering why agrifood is so exciting check this out.

  • Are a serial tech entrepreneur looking for a truly ‘meaty’ problem to solve?
  • Or maybe you’ve spent the last decade or more in an executive role in a corporation and have always harboured a desire to launch your own venture?
  • Are you just finishing an MBA from one of Australia’s top unis and want to forge your own destiny?

We are looking for you!

Now the fun begins! It’s time for us to play cupid and make it super easy for you all to find each other and create some seriously game-changing teams.

# Supporting a national network of meetup groups

Through meetups (as well as with the help of the GrowLab mentors and alumni) we will be bringing together the best and brightest commercial and technical minds that want to get into agrifood tech startups. If that sounds like you let us know!

  1. We are setting up a Synthetic Biology Meetup network across Australia (Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide) If you’d like to to partner with us to make this a reality, drop us a line!
  2. Supporting Foodtech meetups across Australia
  3. Supporting Agtech meetups across Australia

Once we have vetted both technologies (no pipe dreams) and commercial people (no dentists) we will bring these groups together. We will do this in two ways:

  1. “Speed networking” style events where hand-picked commercial and techies come together.
  2. One-to-one matchmaking: where we think it’s appropriate, we will make individual introductions.

So, are you a technical guru? A commercial expert passionate about agrifood? Now is the time to let us know, we would love to get to know you!

Step 3. Taking the first steps as a newly formed team

So you’ve found your match made in heaven and now have the basis of (what could become) a company. Great! What’s next?

We won’t lie: there’s a ton of possible ‘next steps’. There’s incorporating a company, applying for grants and… well you get the drift. Where do you begin?!

We are laying out the steps to make life as easy as possible for your new team to have the confidence to leap in full time or decide it’s not the right thing for you just yet.

We begin with a weekend bootcamp to help you and other teams think through the highest priority matters and set you on a track to build an awesome startup.

Now you’re on track to build a world class agrifood startup we hope you will make GrowLab your next step from fledgling venture to world-changing company.


Our door is always open — If you’re curious to know more or can’t make it to one of the events we’re holding around Australia click here to register your interest all year-round or get in touch directly anytime.