In March this year, Chief Minister Katy Gallagher launched GRIFFIN Accelerator at the ANU Connect Ventures Innovation Showcase. The focus of the Canberra-based accelerator program is ‘Servicing Government’, and so it welcomed startups with solutions in the Government Software, Government Services, Defence, Education and Health space.
Forty teams applied to the GRIFFIN accelerator, which was whittled down to five over three months. Shortlisted applicants gained access to a 3-month programme with $25,000 for customer validation activities, in return for 10 percent equity. At the end of this 3-month block, a select number of startups will be invited to continue for another 3-month intensive program with an additional $25,000 instalment for a further 5 percent equity.
“Our core agenda is to form and support new innovative companies; providing a structured high growth path so startups exit the program with an investible proposition or revenue generation,” it states in a media release.
The teams that were accepted into the GRIFFIN accelerator presented to investors in Sydney’s ATP Innovations on Tuesday, as well as Canberra’s Capital Angels on Wednesday, and is said to have generated “substantial investor interest”. Across the two venues, teams received 46 expressions of interest, excluding the additional contacts made during post-pitch networking.
Jessica May from startup Enabled Employment said, “we are very excited to be making so much progress already filling jobs and growing so fast. The positive response from investors is a dream come true and we’re ready to start detailed discussions about how we’re going to grow this business even more rapidly”.
GRIFFIN mentor and investor Dr Craig Davis commended the quality of the pitches at both events: “We are delighted at the level of initial interest the companies are getting from investors. We feel we found five great teams and the accelerator added real value, but we’re astonished to have all five teams doing so well. Syndicates are forming but its not too late for investors who couldn’t make the presentations to get on board.”
The five startups are:
Enabled employment enables employers to tap into an untapped talent pool of Australians living with a disability using telework technology to remove barriers.
Madefor.me is a marketplace connecting designers, local manufacturers, and consumers who want unique, made to order 3D printed designs.
Symberra is a cloud-based data analytics platform that specialises in large-scale data modelling and simulations. Its optimised data storage and simulation algorithms enable domain experts to gain in-depth insights from big data in a fraction of the time required today.
Snapknock is the ‘Facebook for Auctions’ – with a motto “Social Local Fast”. Snapknock is a pre-loved belonging buy and sell platform built with social in mind from ground up. With emphasis on people, not items or businesses, Snapknock aims to take social commerce to the next stage.
The GRIFFIN Accelerator program is being run with the assistance from the ACT Government under the Strategic Opportunities Funding Program. The program has support from a wide variety of organisations including ANU Connect Ventures, ATP Innovations, The Australian National University, Australian Capital Ventures Limited, Capital Angels, CollabIT, CSIRO, eGov Cluster, Entry 29, Lighthouse, NICTA and the University of Canberra.
Hamish Hawthorn, CEO of ATP Innovations said they are “delighted” to support Canberra’s first accelerator programme: “There is a terrific group of mentors who have committed their time and expertise. We are now looking forward to seeing these five companies go on to become significant commercial enterprises”.