High tech, a fantastic cause and a bit of spice: Meet MAP’s 2018 cohort.

A high-tech road-safety camera system that can detect drivers distracted by their phone and a facial recognition system that vastly improves the accuracy of roll call in classrooms are among the 10 new startups selected to take part in this year’s Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP)
 
The 10 startups, who were picked out of 75 applications, are set to present their companies at the MAP’s 2018 Accelerator launch on May 30.
 
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 $20,000 in funding (with no equity taken) to help them accelerate their startup growth.

The University of Melbourne backed initiative, now in its 7th year, has become renowned as one of the most outstanding accelerator programs in Australia, having supported 44 companies who have raised over $30 million in funding, created over 300 jobs and generated over $40 million in revenue.

Mingle Co-Founder Jordyn Evans with MAP Interim-Director Paul Jensen

It is one of very few accelerator programs that does not take equity in return for their support — a strategic decision that interim-Director Paul Jensen says reflects the ethos of the program which has a strong focus on social impact, and has helped create a highly diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem which will be further enhanced by the diversity of this year’s teams.

“We made the decision very early on that we wanted this program to be different, and this was about empowering entrepreneurs to create impact, not equity for us, and I think our MAP community is so much richer because of that,” said Jensen. 
 
“We’re one of the very few accelerators that has employed a full-time social impact manager, and I believe the diversity of this year’s cohort reflects a group of founders who are set to make a truly powerful impact in this world.”
Social Impact Manager, MAP — Abena Ofori

The program boasts an alumni that includes some of Australia’s most well-known startups including Brosa, Phoria, CNSDose, Honee, Relectrify and Carbar, and according to MAP Accelerator Manager Maxine Lee, this year’s teams have the potential to become just as influential in the years to come.

“Competition to get into the program is fierce and the calibre of businesses we accept goes up every year,” Lee said. 
 
“We’ve seen this year that the startups applying for our program have demonstrated stronger levels of traction than what we’ve typically seen in the past, and I think it’s a great reflection of the thriving startup ecosystem in Australia and the role of pre-accelerator programs in ensuring startups understand what is required from them when they finally make that leap and apply.”

One of these such programs is MAP’s pre-accelerator Velocity Program, which has proven a strong feeder for the MAP Startup Accelerator.

“In the past two years, four of the teams who’ve been accepted into our Accelerator have actually come through the Velocity program — with Tremolo and Nudie Glow part of this year’s cohort, and Umps Health and Mimictec part of MAP17,” explained Lee.
“It’s become so important for our community to know that even if they don’t make it this year they can take part in the Velocity program and ensure they are ready when the time comes in the future.
“Syncio’s Jimmy Zhong is a great testament to this, having applied in three consecutive years, before finally being accepted into this year’s cohort.”

It’s a rigorous selection process, which involves a number of interviews, presentations and scrutiny from a selection panel which feature some of Australia’s most-respected entrepreneurs and investors, but Lee explains it has evolved over the program’s 7 years to really ensure that those who make the final selection are able to really thrive when they enter the program.

“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 alumni teams, which Lee says is critical when helping teams realise that making the program 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.
Our alumni provide mentoring to the new teams as they 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 2014, 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 MAP18 Startup Accelerator cohort.

Acusensus: A sophisticated camera technology aimed at reducing road trauma by detecting drivers distracted by their phone.

Acusensus, Co-Founder — Alexander Jannink

Atticus: A cloud-based legal document management system, aiming at assisting the drafting of complex financial documents.

Atticus Co-Founders — Misha Wakerman, Saul Wakerman & Mitchell Brunton (Left to right)

LoopLearn: An advanced facial recognition technology to accurately determine the presence of students in classrooms and spaces in schools.

Looplearn, Co-Founder, Zoe Milne

Mingle: A food company supplying consumers with natural spice blends that contain no fillers.

Mingle, Founder — Jordyn Evans

Nudie Glow: Australia’s online destination for premium Korean beauty and skincare products.

Nudie Glow, Founder — Ruby Wang

OwlTail: An online community and platform for friend or interest based podcast recommendations.

Owltail , Co-Founders — Duncan Anderson & Mel Liu

Pride Cup: Harnesses the power of sport to send a strong message of hope, inclusion and acceptance to LGBTIQ+ athletes, officials and supporters.

Pride Cup, Co-Founders — Jason Ball & James Lolicato

Sleigh Group: A company that assists Hollywood movie producers in the localisation of global blockbuster films.

Sleigh Group, Co-Founders — Peter Novacco, Ivy Novacco & Daniel Ting

Syncio: An e-commerce multi-store app that syncs inventory from one store to another with one click.

Syncio Co-Founder — Jimmy Zhong

Tremolo: A global marketplace for event music artists, making it easy for customers to find perfect live music for their wedding, party or gig.

Tremolo, Co-Founders — Jake Johnson & Pav Chudiak

Meet these teams in person at the MAP18 Accelerator Launch.

Make sure you get your tickets to the MAP Accelerator Launch to see these teams take the stage to present their successful pitches in what is one of the largest startup networking events in Australia.

For any media enquiries please contact 
Heath Evans 
Marketing & Communications Manager — MAP
heath.evans@unimelb.edu.au.