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Regional projects a focus in LaunchVic’s first $6.5 million funding round

LaunchVic, the Victorian Government’s independent startup body, has today announced the first recipients of a funding boost, with 18 companies or projects to share in $6.5 million.

The funding ranges from $30,000 for a ‘small idea’, Fintech Melbourne, through to $1.25 million over four years for a ‘large idea’ called Runway, an initiative that will look to turn Geelong into a major global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship through the establishment of networks and provision of training, mentoring, and access to funding.

Regional innovation is a bit of a theme, with La Trobe University’s regional accelerator program also among the big ideas receiving funding. The accelerator will look to boost the state’s regional economy and agricultural jobs with $1 million in LaunchVic funding.

Another $450,000 grant from LaunchVic has also been given to Dimension Data and Deakin University to establish a cybersecurity incubator at Deakin’s Waurn Ponds campus, to go along with the cybersecurity degree the university is launching next year.

Ahmed Fahour, chair of LaunchVic, said, “LaunchVic’s first round of funding celebrates the fact that entrepreneurship comes in many shapes and sizes – there is no one ‘face’ that represents the startup ecosystem in Victoria.

“We will continue to work to enhance competition, collaboration and quality in the ecosystem, not duplicate what others do.”

Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade Philip Dalidakis said the projects selected will help young companies and ideas develop to create jobs and industries that “will support Victoria for decades to come”.

LaunchVic was established last year as the vehicle for the $60 million startup fund the Andrews Government promised during its last election campaign, with the $60 million to be provided over four years from the Premier’s Jobs and Investment Fund.

The competition for the funding is fierce: the 18 projects receiving funding in this first round were selected from over 400 applications.

Another project receiving funding is Startupbootcamp, a global network of industry-focused accelerators founded in Copenhagen in 2010.

With $600,000 in funding for 2016 and the potential for follow-on funding over the next few years, Startupbootcamp will be opening a hardware lab in Kydo, Melbourne’s IoT and datatech space, and help fund the launch of an accelerator program in 2017.

Trevor Townsend, founding partner and managing director of Startupbootcamp in Australia, said the vision is to create a thriving IoT and datatech ecosystem in Melbourne.

“We believe that IoT is the third wave of the internet, where it gets physical, and coupled with AI, Big Data and ubiquitous comms, it will have a profound disruptive effect on industry and our personal lives,” he said.

Applications for the second funding round will open next month. You can check out the full list of round one funding recipients here.

Image: Ahmed Fahour. Source: Australia Post