Canberra based accelerator program launched by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher

27th March 2014 – Chief Minister Katy Gallagher today launched the ‘GRIFFIN Accelerator’ at the ANU Connect Ventures Innovation Showcase. Focussing on ‘Servicing Government’ the accelerator program is seeking applicants with solutions in the Government Software, Government Services, Defence, Education and Health space. Targeting a cohort of 10 program participants, the program is now open for applicants.

Nick McNaughton, spokesperson for the accelerator said “This accelerator program is another building block in the early-stage innovation eco-system in our city. Last year we launched Entry 29 the Co-Working space which has attracted over 125 paying members since launch in May 2013. The success of Entry 29 demonstrated the demand for an accelerator program and we are pleased to now be open for business”.

The program is being run in collaboration with Ignition Labs part of ATP Innovations. Hamish Hawthorn, CEO of ATP Innovations said “We have extensive experience in running accelerator programs in technology, health and energy sectors. Leveraging our capability and expertise to launch other regional programs is of significant interest to us. Partnering with the impressive innovation community of the ACT to launch this in Canberra demonstrates the collaborative spirit that will make this program a success”.

The program has been named the GRIFFIN Accelerator to celebrate the contribution of the city’s founding father Walter Burley Griffin. Applications open today and close at the end of May. An evaluation and selection process then occurs with enough spaces for 10 program participants.

“We are looking for quality not quantity” said McNaughton “If we don’t see the quality in our applicants we will offer fewer than 10 places”. The program’s focus is unique to Australia and leverages the city’s strengths. “We are so much more than a politics, public service and tax town. We have a huge customer on our door step (the Federal Government) and we have significant research and domain expertise in the themes selected for this year’s program”.

In late 2013 the ACT Government announced the ‘Invest Canberra’ initiative and identified the themes that the City is good at. The GRIFFIN Accelerator focusses on these themes. “Our objective is to create industry building capability outside of our current pillars of industry and generate new industries for the decades to come”, McNaughton said.

During the launch the Chief Minister announced a $70k grant to assist with the running of the program. The Chief Minister said “The GRIFFIN Accelerator is a program that delivers on the objectives of the ‘Invest Canberra’ initiative bringing smart people and investment dollars into our city. All of the research institutions involved in this program contributes expertise, people and resources to the program participants. In addition we have some of the largest customers for these products in services right here in Canberra.”

The program has broad 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.

In total $300k has been raised for the GRIFFIN Accelerator from local investors who will mentor the participants during the 12 week program. Stage one of the program runs from 1st July – 30th September 2014 and will be based at the NICTA Research Labs in the heart of the City. Phil Robertson, Chief Operating Office of NICTA said “We are excited to be providing the space for this first group of start-ups. NICTA is all about bringing research and industry together and growing businesses, like we have done with our Canberra-led eGovernment Cluster. These lucky start-ups will be surrounded by the large intellectual pool of NICTA researchers and PhD students to help them solve curly issues on the spot’. Participants who get through to stage two will continue in an additional period from October to December.

Each successful stage one participant will receive $25k for 10% equity. If they are successful and make it through to stage two they will be offered an additional $25k for 5% equity. A demo day will be held at the end of September where a range of investors will have the opportunity to see the participant’s pitches.

For further information, please the GRIFFIN Accelerator.

 

About the GRIFFIN Accelerator

The GRIFFIN Accelerator is a start-up accelerator in Canberra, Australia. Once a year we invite entrepreneurs to apply for a place in the 3+3 program for the opportunity to validate their idea, develop networks and fine-tune their business model. The GRIFFIN Accelerator model is unique: shortlisted applicants will gain access to a 3 month program with $25,000 for customer validation activities, in return for 10% equity. At the end of this 3 month block, a select number of Griffin start- ups will be invited to continue for another 3 month intensive program with an additional $25,000 instalment for a further 5% equity. Our core agenda is to form and support new innovative companies; providing a structured high growth path so start-ups exit the program with an investible proposition or revenue generation. The GRIFFIN accelerator, Canberra, draws experience from a pool of mentors, each with entrepreneurial experience, skills and experience in the government sector, or a significant technology industry network. GRIFFIN mentors get involved. They provide sage advice and get their hands dirty when projects need a boost. A mentor is married to each project, acting like a case manager to ensure the participants are headed in the right direction.

Additional background information

The GRIFFIN Accelerator is a start-up accelerator in Canberra, Australia. Once a year we invite entrepreneurs to apply for a place in the 3+3 month program for the opportunity to validate their idea, develop networks and fine-tune their business model.

The GRIFFIN Accelerator model is unique: shortlisted applicants will gain access to a 3 month program with $25,000 for customer validation activities, in return for 10% equity. At the end of this 3 month block, a select number of Griffin start-ups will be invited to continue for another 3 months of intensive validation, with an additional $25,000 instalment for a further 5% equity.

GRIFFIN’s core agenda is to form and support new innovative companies; providing a structured high growth path so start-ups exit the program with an investible proposition or revenue generation.

GRIFFIN technology accelerator, Canberra, draws experience from a pool of mentors, each with entrepreneurial experience, skills and experience in the government sector, or a significant technology industry network. GRIFFIN mentors get involved. They provide sage advice and get their hands dirty when projects need a boost. A mentor is married to each project, acting like a case manager to ensure you’re always headed in the right direction.

Partners

The GRIFFIN Accelerator is the product of collaboration between several of Canberra’s innovation- led institutions:page3image12448page3image12608

  • ANU Connect Ventures
  • ATP Innovations
  • Australian National University Australian Capital Ventures Limited. Capital Angels
  • CollabIT
  • CSIRO
  • eGov Cluster
  • Entry 29
  • Lighthouse
  • NICTA
  • University of Canberra

The GRIFFIN accelerator program will consider a spectrum of products and scalable services where government is a target customer. Examples of eligible technology sectors include:

  • Software for Government
  • Services for Government
  • Defence
  • Health
  • Education
  • Other offerings for Government

Applications open on Thursday 27th March 2014 and close on Friday 23rd May 2014. For more information and to apply visit www.griffinaccelerator.com.au – Applicant screening takes place in June 2014 with the program starting on Tuesday 1st July 2014.