The University of Wollongong’s iAccelerate program has this week launched a $10 million seed fund for early stage Australian startups.
Backed by Artesian Venture Partners, the fund is hoping to attract investors passionate about the country’s startup sector.
All companies accepted into the uni’s iAccelerate program will be eligible to apply for seed funding, a barrier which organisers said should lower investment risk due to the assessment process startups have to run through to participate.
iAccelerate runs a co-working space for the development of early stage ideas, those participating in the program can apply for up to $40,000 in seed funding for up to 10 per cent of equity.
Companies in the program’s advanced stream can pitch for up to $200,000 in funding in return for up to 20 per cent equity.
iAccelerate CEO Elizabeth Eastland said launching the fund comes at a time when many tech entrepreneurs are heading offshore in search of investment.
“Historically, early stage venture funding in Australia has been difficult to source. Despite Australia having a GDP of about 10 per cent of the United States, Australian venture capital funding over the past 10 years is only 1 per cent of the amount raised by the US,” Eastland said.
Artesian Capital Management partner Jeremy Colless said the fund will provide support for the development of a regional startup community in the Illawarra.
“This seed fund will give start-ups a great financial leg up, while the iAccelerate programs will support them through education, coaching and mentoring. We believe this multi-faceted support will attract some great entrepreneurs,” he said.
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