Optus and SingTel Innov8 have launched a program to fund and support digital start-up companies in Australia, hoping to reverse the tide of entrepreneurs leaving the country for the Silicon Valley.
Optus and Innov8 have teamed up with Fishburners in Sydney and York Butter Factory in Melbourne to supply dedicated co-working space to start-ups that qualify for the program, providing up to $250,000 in funding per start-up investment.
Optus and Innov8 are seeking co-investors to help out with the program.
In addition to seed funding, the Optus Innov8 Seed Program aims to give Aussie start-ups working on digitally-delivered solutions access to mentoring, networking, and office sharing resources.
The telcos will seek start-ups that are working in the mobility and convergence space with a focus on certain industry verticals, according to Optus digital communities and ecosystems vice-president, Austin R. Bryan.
Australian tech start-ups are leaving the country in droves, preferring to establish themselves in Silicon Valley where there are more opportunities to flourish. Optus is hoping to change that.
“We are hoping this program will complement existing initiatives to keep home grown talent on our shores and give them the incentive to grow their businesses in Australia and ideally be a stepping stone to venture capital funding in the future,” said Bryan.
To qualify for the program, start-ups must be a registered company based in Australia with an established team. They must also have “developed solid business strategies, be able to demonstrate a working prototype and meet the program’s key digital focus areas.”
Optus Innov8 will also aid start-ups in bringing their solutions to the wider Asia-Pacific region through its 445 million global customer-base.
Both Optus and Innov8 are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Singapore-based telco giant, SingTel. The telco recently went through a major restructure which resulted in three distinct business units.
This new initiative is from the Digital L!fe business unit.