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Accelerators everywhere: news from Springboard, Harvest, EnergyLab, Free Electrons and Latin America

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Charlie Gunningham

You want Accelerators? We got accelerators. Startup News attended last night’s launch of Springboard Accelerator and also brings you Harvest, Energy Lab, Free Electrons and a WA mining startup winning a place on a Latin American accelerator…

There was a time when tech accelerators were as rare as classy Superbowl halftime shows, but now there seems to be bucket loads of choice for the startup entrepreneur looking for some mentors, perhaps some cash and connections to put their business on an Elon Musk rock ship trajectory (“the Tesla Roadster will be orbiting for a billion years!”).

In addition to the Remarkable accelerator and CSIRO’s Kick-Start funding Startup News announced last week, we have news of no less than 5 other accelerators …


Startup News attended the packed out launch of the Springboard Accelerator last night at the yet to be opened Tank Stream Labs (another co-working space coming to Perth soon) located in the EY Building.

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.

This author remembers the first cohort of WA women entrepreneurs that went through Springboard in 2013, and one of them, MiPlan cofounder Louise Daw was there on hand last night to tell the crowd her stories of Sydney bootcamps and the amazing networks she could tap into. These came in handy, she said, when they were approached by Hexagon Mining (a Swedish firm headquartered in Tucson, Arizona) for what turned out to be a trade sale.

“This was a great deal for us,” said Louise, “and only became possible because of the amazing people we could draw on to help us with the negotiations.”

That deal happened in early 2017, and Louise, her husband Robert and 10 staff went on to work for Hexagon.

Also on the panel,  moderated by Sheryl Frame, was Springboard alum Sarah Mateljan from Course Genius.

Applications for Springboard are now open (until February 23rd) with regional interviews taking place 5th-8th March. The accelerator takes place in Sydney during its 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.

10 women entrepreneurs from across Australia will be selected to take part.


On Fri 23rd February the first cohort of WA’s agtech accelerator, Harvest, will be announced.

This 9-week program is targeting late stage startups and SMEs looking to scale their businesses in the agtech sector.

Harvest is backed by the Department of Primary Industries & Regional Development, Plum Grove, Agworld, CSBP among others. The program is run by Agristart, headed up by Dr Natasha Ayers, Peter Rossdeutscher and Grant Sanderson.

Accelerators everywhere: news from Springboard, Harvest, EnergyLab, Free Electrons and Latin America
Harvest accelerator mentors Ally Bishop, Peter Rossdeutscher, Dr Natasha Ayers, Grant Sanderson, Greg Riebe & Stuart Kidd. (Photo –

2 clean tech accelerators

Applications for Australia’s first clean energy start up accelerator, EnergyLab, has launched.

EnergyLab applications are open until 18 February, with up to $50,000 in seed funding available, along with a range of additional mentoring and support.

Even though the website talks about 4 Aussie cities, and does not mention Perth, Startup News has been assured by the organisers that Perth startups in the clean tech space are welcome to apply. If selected for interviews, these can happen via video conferencing or phone, so no need to travel. However, if you get onto the program, then you will have to relocate to Sydney to attend the accelerator itself, and it looks like that is for 6-24 months, starting in May this year. Please check with the organisers for more details.

Additionally, applications remain open for the global Free Electrons accelerator until February 23 – an international program which will see a cohort of twelve startups competing for a US$200K prize.

Living la Vida Loca!

Meanwhile, ten of Australia’s best tech companies have been announced as finalists in a Latin American accelerator program. After extensive mentoring, the finalists will battle it out in front of judges in Santiago in April.

One of the 4 finalists in the mining category is WA’s own HI Mining. They have developed the ‘HE22 Hustler’, a world-first all-hydraulic hand-held mining drill and leg (jack-leg/air-leg). If you want to know what one of these things looks like, watch this video.

Industry leading Aussie innovators in the agtech, energy, mining and water sectors are represented in the LatAm Market Entry Accelerator 2018.​

The program was launched to connect Australia to the rapidly growing markets of Latin America, with an initial focus on Chile. Finalists include companies providing smart ear tags for cattle, portable solar solutions, mine safety equipment and water treatment technologies.

‘The Judges were looking for Australian technology companies with the greatest chance of building significant export markets in Latin America,” said John O’Brien, the Program founder.

The Program is supported by the Australian Government through the Council on Australia Latin America Relations (COALAR) and will be delivered by Australian CleanTech.

Being highly WA-parochial, we wish HI Mining well.

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Picture of 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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