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2018 Accelerators: Springboard & Plus Eight announce cohorts, Curtin Accelerate graduates

Charlie Gunningham
Charlie Gunningham

While two tech accelerators announce their 2018 cohorts, the oldest one in town, Curtin Accelerate, shows off its five fresh graduates…

There was a time, not long ago dear reader, when Perth had no accelerators at all. A few of us bemoaned the fact, and some even wailed at the moon.

Happily, those days are long behind us, and in a short week, it was notable to see no less than two accelerators announce who had made it onto their program this year, while another one showed off its freshly minted graduates.


Originally an idea from the States, Springboard has been in Australia for 7 years and has had 45 companies run through its program, 81% of whom have raised around $180M capital, 2 have had IPOs and 4 have had exits.

The ‘accelerator for women in tech’ looks to assist women in leadership roles in scaling their businesses. Only 8 ladies are accepted each year Australia wide.

Past attendees have been Sharon Grosser (SEQTA), Sarah Mateljan (Course Genius) and Louise Daw (MiPlan). This year, the team from The Volte will represent WA (see main photo) on the program. The photo shows CEO Bernadette Olivier, and her team (left to right) Kym Atkins, Genevieve Hohnen and Jade Mulgrew.

The Volte has been called the ‘Airbnb of Fashion’, as it allows users to lend and borrow designer fashion.

Out of reach for ordinary folks (like me), individuals previous had no ability to rent designer purchases, let alone earn income from hiring them out. Unlike competitors Glam Corner or Rent the Runway, The Volte does not own stock.

Launched in May 2017, their inventory is currently valued at over $4 million and has over 7000 items listed from lenders all over Australia.

Some readers may remember seeing The Volte pitch their business at December’s Perth Angels event. Earlier this week The Volte closed off their first seed round.

They will be off to Sydney for Springboard’s BootCamp (9-12 April) and again at a Dolphin Tank, which is definitely not a Shark Tank, on 28th June. In between, participants have a 2-month coaching program.

Plus Eight muru-D

The second year of the Telstra muru-D/Spacecubed accelerator Plus Eight has announced the names of those startups who will receive a collective $400K in funding together with six months of mentoring and space on its 2018 program.

“The Plus Eight program partners with muru-D, giving Perth startups access to networks in Singapore, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane as well as connections in Silicon Valley, making the program truly global”, said Brodie McCulloch of Spacecubed.

2018 Accelerators: Springboard & Plus Eight announce cohorts, Curtin Accelerate graduates
The Plus Eight cohort for 2018

The startups are:

  • Hopolla – a team of three young founders who are passionate about travel. Before joining the program the trio was working from a beach in Thailand, connecting with the South
    East Asian hostel market. The team has relocated to Perth.
  • Udrew – a platform for homeowners without any technical skill to design, engineer and manage their own custom building project for 70% less cost and receive instant council approval.
  • Kooda – a tech-enabled food scrap collection service aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by food waste going to landfill.
  • SpacetoCo – makes it possible for individuals to easily list their space to an online marketplace. This marketplace then serves the general community by handling locational searches, availability, two-way reviews and payments.
  • Kin –  makes childcare simple by offering reliable, trustworthy and available carers‚ even at the last minute. Kin eliminates the hassle that comes along with hiring a babysitter, from scheduling to payment.
  • Mureus – a modular art startup that creates customisable magnetic modular art for large spaces. With Mureus you can decorate your space easily without damaging your wall.

Once again Entrepreneur in Residence and former Dropbox advisor Tim Brewer will be putting the teams through their spaces.

“We hope that the 2018 group of founders and their teams will go on to become role models, inspiring and enabling others to take their part in the thriving innovation culture in Western Australia, stepping up to take their place on the global stage, which is a critical part of our economic future,” said Tim.

Curtin Accelerate make the high five

Meanwhile, the free, ten-week program that is Curtin Accelerate showed off its five graduating teams on Wednesday night,

2018 Accelerators: Springboard & Plus Eight announce cohorts, Curtin Accelerate graduates
The graduating class of 2018 Curtin Accelerate program, together with organisers
  • Sunovate have developed a novel integrated solar photovoltaic and thermal panel that generates both electricity and heat, offering many exciting domestic, commercial and industrial applications. The team consists of Curtin mechanical engineering graduate Glen Ryan and alumna Cesira Leigh, who has a Bachelor of Social Sciences, with Honours in Sustainable Development.
  • Associate Professor Mihai Lazarescu from the School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematical Science, and his team of Curtin staff created the PEIMA software to prevent cyber-attacks (DDOS) similar to the attack on the Australian Census website in 2017. They harnessed powerful statistical techniques to identify and filter malicious traffic while keeping the online service running.
  • Landguide, comprised of Curtin alumni, have devised a system that provides on demand, real-time land data for builders to help quicken the home-buying process. The platform reduces the time, effort and drama involved in finding the perfect place to build a home. Landguide has already emerged as one of the largest land listing portals in Western Australia.
  • Curtin Coordinator, Strategic Partnerships and Engagement, Dr Melissa Langdon established BOSSMAMA to make it easier for women to return to work after parental leave. The service aims to help employers to address gaps in their gender equity policies and practices.
  • Curtin alumni Anthea Rodoreda and Andrew Tilley’s sweet business idea  – Gelavo – was to develop a unique dessert product utilising WA second grade produce, which they did while studying in Curtin University’s Food Science and Technology undergraduate course.

“I’m very proud of them,” Program manager Matt Macfarlane told Startup News, “They are another wonderful graduating class from Perth’s longest running accelerating program. We’ve graduated 25 teams over five years.”

The Curtin Accelerate 2018 program ran weekly and teams were required to contain at least one Curtin staff member, current student or former student. The program provided each team with $5,000 in grant funding as well as structured mentoring, networking and practical advice on establishing and growing a successful start-up business. Teams were given use of co-working space, meeting rooms, IT infrastructure and had access to key industry contacts and networks, including commercialisation experts, investors and potential partners.

Notable grads in previous years include Notis, a digitised noticeboard for students, Soter Analytics, a wearable workplace injury prevention solution, online marketplace for storage Storekat and workplace rating and improvement platform Rate My Space.

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Charlie Gunningham

Charlie Gunningham

Former co-founder, GM, CEO Business News and Accelerating Commercialisation adviser. Charlie has spent 20+ years in Perth's startup scene, as founder, mentor, adviser, writer and investor. There's nothing he likes more than helping early stage tech startups ... and drinking coffee, shiraz or playing in a blues band. Email Charlie here.
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