From underwater robots to recycled bottles made into raincoats: Meet MAP’s 2020 cohort.
Unmanned underwater robots that could save marinas millions, and a fourth-generation farmer building software that can manage your livestock from your lounge room, are among the 10 startups selected to be part of this year’s Melbourne Accelerator Program.
These 10 startups were chosen from over 300 teams and will now prepare to present their successful pitches at the MAP’s 2020 Launch. This year the event will be delivered in partnership with Ticker TV and for the first time be held entirely online with tickets now available for the June 10 show.
Over the next five months these teams will receive mentoring from some of Australia’s most brilliant business minds, as well as access to a global network of advisors, channel partners and investors, and receive $20,000 in funding (with no equity taken) to help accelerate their startup growth.
This year, however, will look a little different and as Executive Director of the Melbourne Entrepreneurial Centre — Professor Colin McLeod explains the MAP team have already made the significant shift to an entirely online program, and believe real opportunity exists in embracing the constraints all Accelerator Programs are facing right now.
“A lot of the value we provide for Founders is through the people in the MAP community who have the skills and experience to help these teams on their entrepreneurial journey.” said McLeod.
“While there are obvious benefits in face to face activities, the rapid growth and acceptance of electronic communications has meant that we are casting the net far wider than ever before and are really pleased with the response we are getting.
“As a major University, we have so many leaders nationally and internationally who have such a wealth of experience and can add so much value to these emerging entrepreneurial talents and are also looking to give back, so it’s a shift that opens up new opportunities and one we are eager to embrace.”
The University of Melbourne backed initiative, now in its 9th year, has become renowned as one of the most outstanding accelerator programs in Australia, having supported over 150 companies who have generated over 117 million in revenue, raised over $85million in funding, and created over 1400 jobs.
MAP’s alumni include some of Australia’s most well-known startups including Nura, Brosa, Phoria, CNSDose, Relectrify, Acusensus, Scratch, and Carbar, and according to MAP Accelerator Manager Laxmi Pun, this year’s teams have the potential to become just as influential in the years to come.
“Every year we see the standard rise to another level, and the calibre of businesses this year is no exception,” said Pun.
She said for some of this year’s cohort it would not be the first Accelerator program they’ve participated in, and believes this is a sign that these pathways are working and encouraging for the ecosystem as we see teams applying who are more aware of what it takes to grow their business to the next level.
“We are seeing more interest in our programs than ever before and I think it is a great reflection of Australia’s thriving startup ecosystem and the role of pre-accelerator programs, like our Velocity Program,” said Pun.
“The teams who are applying are showing they really know how to validate their solutions and demonstrate the traction they’ve garnered to date, and have an understanding of what is required when they finally make that leap and apply for a program like MAP.”
Each team was put through a rigorous selection process which included a number of interviews, presentations, and scrutiny from a selection panel which featured some of Australia’s most-respected entrepreneurs and investors.
With this selection process taking place within a week of Victoria moving into lockdown it certainly presented some challenges however Pun said it was a wonderful chance to embrace the constraint and the response had been overwhelmingly positive to the solution that was delivered.
“The second stage of our selection is always the pitch night, an in-person presentation to 50 of our most influential stakeholders which helps us determine who should proceed to the next round,” explains Pun.
“When all of a sudden this had to become virtual, we had to think quickly on our feet, but we managed to pull it off with over 60 judges in a zoom room reviewing the pre-recorded presentations from all the teams.
“It really just showed how much opportunity there is for us to explore doing things differently, and gives us much to consider around how we deliver each of these stages in future as well.”
As these teams prepare to enter the program which begins in the coming weeks, Pun said a determining factor in their selection remained to ensure that those chosen are able to really thrive when it all starts, and shifting to an online format hadn’t changed that focus.
“We look for companies who have a clear vision, are scalable and could genuinely use our support, and then we connect them with experts in the areas they need to focus on and the results we’ve seen year-on-year speak for themselves.”
Among these experts are members of the program’s alumni, which Pun says is critical when helping teams realise that being selected is only the first step — the hard work is still to come.
“Many of our alumni remain heavily involved in the program, and they make really great mentors as they understand what it’s like to build a company from the ground up,” said Pun.
“Our alumni provide mentoring to the new teams as they continue to define their vision, grow their business, and prepare for investment. Their involvement has really helped us build a unique MAP ecosystem that gets stronger every year.”
In 2016, the program was ranked the 8th best university accelerator program in the world by Swedish research firm UBI Global and has become renowned as one of the strongest accelerator programs in Australia.
Meet the 2020 MAP cohort.
Exergenics creates software that reduces the energy costs and environmental impacts of commercial air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
Recovawear fills a present day void in the rehabilitation process, offering clothing to the injured and post-surgery patients.
Team Timbuktu is a sustainably made apparel brand, recycling plastic bottles into clothing made for the outdoors.
Strong Room — Powering a secure digital gateway to quickly and safely access specialised treatment plans for patients.
Scribe enables you to effortlessly create, curate, and maintain your team’s long-term knowledge in one central hub.
Insight Infrastructure Solution is an innovative unmanned robotic system aimed to provide inspection and in-water cleaning to the underwater assets and vessels.
Envision Systems enables transport authorities to better manage traffic flows and congestion, by developing advanced wireless AI sensors that provide real-time data.
DiaperRecycle is a company committed to making a positive environmental impact by diverting nappies from landfill, recycling them and making new products for existing markets.
Scriibi is an online tool teachers use to develop their students’ written communication skills.
Mobble helps farmers around the globe become more profitable, productive and environmentally sustainable — by accessing real-time data to improve daily decision making with our livestock farm management software.
Meet the teams at the 2020 MAP Launch.
Secure your tickets to the 2020 MAP Launch to hear the successful pitches from these teams who’ve been selected to be part of our 2020 cohort.
In 2018 we took over the Plaza Ballroom, in 2019 packed the Meat Market to the rafters, in 2020 it’s a chance to bring the Launch to every corner of this country (and beyond) for an experience you’re not going to forget.