Your guide to apply to the Melbourne Accelerator Program

Abi Ward
Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP)
3 min readApr 11, 2022

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Jordyn Evans, Founder Mingle Seasoning | Simon Murphy, Co-Founder RefLIVE

Each year the Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) receives a stack of applications — we’ve got the challenging job of whittling the list down to just 10 successful teams.

There are a wide variety of criteria that help us to define what a successful MAP team looks like, with startups and founders from a range of industries and stages to give us a rich, diverse cohort.

As the Chief Entrepreneur in Residence at MAP, I’ve had the opportunity to sit through various application stages at MAP — here are few things that I observed among the startups that make it to the final cohort.

Ditch Uber

One of the biggest misconceptions is that we want to hear about how you’re the “Uber of x”. While this might be helpful to provide context into what your startup does, original ideas extracted from your direct experience with a problem you’re frustrated with will get our attention.

Explain the problem and associated frustration in detail and tell us why you’re the best person to solve it. Ideally, the problem will be experienced by a lot of potential customers who would be willing to pay for your solution.

Real traction

The best way to ensure that your application progresses is to provide real evidence of traction. Depending on the nature of your startup and your business model, this can vary from anything from revenue, customers, users, or anything else that shows you’ve made progress with your startup.

A common pitfall in many applications is failing to accurately describe your traction or being vague. Try to tell us as much as you possibly can about the traction you’ve made and avoid vague language such as:

  • Conversations with industry partners
  • Getting lots of web traffic
  • High levels of engagement on social media
  • Positive reactions from investors

Good examples of traction include:

  • Revenue
  • Customers
  • Users
  • Detailed research with customers
  • Received investment

Pinpoint problems

Great founders have an understanding of each element of their startup and the surrounding problem you’re solving. We want to see that you’ve spent time thinking and working on solving this problem and there is no one way to prove this.

Regardless of whether or not you currently have customers, provide very specific information about who your ideal customer is. Starting with a targeted group of small customers, delighting them and proving that your solution solves their problem is a better way to launch a product than to create something that’s built for “everyone”.

Think big

Given the dynamic environment within a startup, it can be hard to make a long-term plan with any certainty. We want to know your overall vision and what you think you can achieve within the next 12 months. Too many startups lack ambition at this stage and provide a timeline for being profitable or cash flow positive. While that’s important, we want to hear about your big vision for how you’re going to create an enormous impact in the world.

Be authentic

Most of all, don’t try to tell us what you think we want to hear. Given the numerous stages and people involved in the judging process, the genuine pitches are the ones that stand out. MAP is an early stage startup accelerator; we will never have a team enter the program who has everything figured out, so don’t feel like you need to when applying.

Good luck!

By Simon Murphy | Chief Entrepreneur in Residence, MAP

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