Those who complain that Australia's internet start-up sector lacks the venture capital it needs to get off the ground might need to eat their words. A new seed fund dubbed 'Startmate' just opened its doors and is looking to dole out funding packages and mentoring.
The fund has been created by Homethinking founder, Niki Scevak, who has also been involved in a number of other start-ups such as the BookmarkBox. The fund surfaced today at the Tech23 event held in Sydney, which highlights 23 up and coming companies and connects them with investors, mentors and the press.
The group has opened its doors to applications (including video pitches) from entrepreneurs looking for funding to start their own companies, it will dole out a handful of investments of $25,000 to get start-ups off the ground, representing 7.5 percent of each company's equity.
Ultimately Startmate's aim is also to provide a great deal of mentoring support to the start-ups it supports, through its panel of experienced entrepreneurs. And it's even offering free legal advice from high-profile law firm DLA Phillips Fox.
It follows a similar model to other programs in the US like Techstars and Y Combinator. Applications are due by the end of November, and those who are successful will be enmeshed in a three month program in Sydney from January 2011 through April, involving mentoring and events. The aim of this will be to help startups develop their business model and win their first customers.
The culmination of the project will be two demonstration days -- one in Sydney and one in Silicon Valley in the US, where the startups will pitch their products in front of potential investors.