Famous US startup accelerator 500 Startups has appointed former Eventbrite Australia managing director Rachael Neumann to lead its new Australian arm.
500 Startups co-founder Dave McClure was in Melbourne this week to cut the ribbon on its Australian operations, which will take in 20 to 25 startups from across the Asia-Pacific for the first intake, starting “late” this year.
“500 Startups is already involved in the Australian tech community, having invested in 20 local companies like Upguard, Canva, HappyCo, and most recently, Gilmour Space Technologies,” said McClure.
“The Australian ecosystem is at an inflection point, with more venture funding available than ever before and government championing an innovation agenda that legitimises and supports startups.”
The US accelerator, which manages over $US350 million of investments into 1800 startups, received a reported $2 million to set up in Melbourne from the Victorian state government, via its innovation promotion vehicle LaunchVic. Neumann has departed from the LaunchVic board to take up the position of head of Australia for 500 Startups.
“The Australian startup scene is still relatively young, but has so many of the right raw ingredients already in place,” she said.
“500 is hoping to do its part to help the ecosystem reach its full potential by sharing expertise and best practices from around the world for both founders and investors alike.”
Neumann, who is also a partner and mentor at investment firm Startmate, first came to Australia in 2009 after an extensive corporate career in her native United States with companies like Bain & Company, LeapFrog Investments and Eventbrite.
In the longer term, 500 Startups stated it aims to invest in Australian startups and collaborate with local angel and venture capital investors. Its accelerators historically have had acceptance rates lower than 4%, which it says is harder to get in than “Harvard, MIT or Stanford”.