In the six weeks since Malcolm Turnbull became Prime Minister, boosting the Australian startup ecosystem has seemingly risen to the top of the government’s agenda. Only a couple of weeks after Innovation Minister Chris Pyne sat down with StartupAUS and Wyatt Roy ran PolicyHack, the government has announced a partnership with startup incubator Pollenizer to deliver DataStart, an open data initiative to support data-driven innovation.
DataStart will see 20 startups pitch their ideas to a panel of judges from government and industry, and investors. The winning startup will then take part in Pollenizer’s nine month-long Success Core Program, where it will go from concept to delivery.
It will be supported by a team working out of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who will help the startup access government data, customer discovery, and technical support.
The successful startup will also have the chance to secure seed funding of $200,000 from Pollenizer Investments and Right Click Capital.
Daniel Ringrose, a partner at Pollenizer, has welcomed the launch of the initiative, explaining that the government’s approach to DataStart is vastly different to that of policies implemented by governments in the past.
“The focus is not on just ‘starting’ companies. By sponsoring an incubation program it allows founders runway to find a globally scaleable and valuable business model, and not just initiate projects and just hope they scale. Government now understands that a fast failure should create learning insights, and new ideas can pivot,” he said.
“The thought leadership has been entrusted to experienced startup founders, rather than well intentioned public servants with big organisation mentality. This brings credibility and empathy to the state of tech startup founder challenges. Partnership with world class private-equity startup VC investors also ensures the right questions are asked when making decisions to find high-growth potential opportunities.”
He said that founders are now being given the freedom and support to create.
“Founders can pursue their big vision without restrictions to comply with mandated themes or outcomes. It’s founders, not the data, that will make this program succeed.”
DataStart comes just a couple of months after the NSW Government launched a ‘whole-of-government’ data initiative, giving startups access to government data through an analytics centre in the hopes that they will create smart solutions to societal problems.
The DataStart initiative is sponsored by Optus and Google, with support from CSIRO’s Data61, Rozetta, and the Australian Information Industry Association. PwC has been named as strategic advisor.
Information nights will be held in capital cities this month. Interested startups can find more information here.