Western Australia is getting a government-back nature and biodiversity accelerator thanks to Founders Factory

- April 11, 2024 2 MIN READ
Black Swan, Perth
Startups in Western Australia looking to address biodiversity and the environment will get a helping hand thanks to a $7.2 million grant from the state government.

The global tech investor and accelerator Founders Factory is setting up shop in Perth, as its first Australian base, with the funding.

The WA government’s investment of $2.4 million annually over three years is for the Founders Factory nature and biodiversity tech accelerator program. Its key areas of focus include reforestation and protection, land management, regenerative agriculture, water and coastal regions, sustainable infrastructure, and the circular economy.

Mining giant Rio Tinto is also involved, investing more than $15 million into a separate accelerator program to back the development of breakthrough technologies in decarbonisation, exploration processing and remediation.

That gives Founders Factory a total of $21.6 million to invest across 72 startups, either already operating in WA or looking to deploy there.

Founders Factory will build a local team in Perth who will provide a four-month program supporting startups with product development, operations, commercialisation, data science, partnerships, and fundraising.

The firm will also draw on its global influence to attract international founders to WA for investment, testing and scaling of locally produced technology.

Premier Roger Cook said bringing Founders Factory to Perth is a major coup for our state.

“This is the first time the tech accelerator has operated in Australia, providing a springboard for innovative local businesses to reach an international audience and maximise their chances of success,” he said.

“My government is committed to decarbonising our economy by 2050 and it’s vital that we support local start-ups developing the technology to reach this goal.

“This three-year partnership will further cement WA’s position as a global leader in research and development, helping to diversify the economy and create the jobs of the future.”

Founders Factory launched in 2015 and runs programs in cities including London, Milan, Berlin, Johannesburg and New York, and has backed more than 300 companies globally.

WA innovation and the digital economy minister Stephen Dawson said the new funding provides more targeted support for our local nature and biotech startups.

“It’s fantastic that Rio Tinto is also investing in supporting local startups. This is another significant and strategic stepping stone in building our innovation infrastructure and ecosystem and setting up Western Australia as a place of choice for world-leading researchers and innovators,” he said.

“Investing in initiatives that fuel ideas and solutions leads to the development of new markets, supports diversification of the WA economy and creates more jobs for Western Australians.”

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