1. Why are you funding a world-class accelerator program?
LaunchVic’s forth funding grant round focuses on building capability and excellence, by funding organisation(s) to deliver world-class accelerator program(s) that will further enhance the Victorian startup ecosystem. While LaunchVic has invested in a number of accelerators to date, LaunchVic is seeking to invest in a world-class acceleration program that will support global excellence in the provision of services, and global connectivity to help accelerate the very best startups to achieve on an international scale. Attracting a world-class accelerator will strategically build capability and excellence into Victoria’s local startup ecosystem and replace the gap left by the termination of the 500 Startups contract in August 2017. LaunchVic is reinvesting the $2.9 million allocated for 500 Startups to another world-class accelerator program of the same calibre.
2. How many applications will be funded?
LaunchVic is seeking to invest up to $3 million per application. The number of applications that will be funded is dependent on the quality of applications received. Applicants will need to demonstrate their experience in delivering a world-class accelerator that will help Victoria’s best and brightest startups to achieve on an international scale to be successful.
3. My proposed program doesn’t fit the eligibility category, can I still apply?
LaunchVic is specifically looking to invest in organisation(s) that will deliver a world-class accelerator program that supports established early stage startups to scale their businesses. Programs that do not fit this category are ineligible to apply under this funding round.
4. How do you define a Startup?
We know startups mean many different things to different people, but it is important to have a shared understanding of who the funded organisation will support through their acceleration program. Our definition of a startup is a business with high impact potential that uses innovation and/or addresses scalable markets. Startups are not limited to just tech. Accelerator programs can support high growth businesses right across the economy. They aren’t small or micro businesses, or businesses with a small number of employees. Successful startups, also known as ‘scaleups’, are important in a startup ecosystem because they contribute to the economy and provide valuable role models for budding entrepreneurs.
5. Is it possible to have more than one submission?
It is possible to submit more than one application, however it is strongly recommended that you focus on one outstanding application that shows how you and your team can strengthen the ecosystem rather than multiple applications.
6. I applied in a previous round and want to apply for Round 4 – do I need to resubmit?
Any unsuccessful application submitted in a previous round may be resubmitted in Round 4, however applicants must use the LaunchVic online application system. Applications must be eligible and update the application as per the key assessment criteria to be assessed.
7. What other funding programs are you planning on running?
As a part of its revised strategy, LaunchVic will provide frequent funding opportunities, including grant rounds, for stakeholders to access funds to support programs that will grow the local startup community. Funding opportunities will address specific needs in the ecosystem, such as increasing diversity and inclusion and leveraging the key strengths of Victoria.
8. Are you going to run another open grant round?
In 2016, we received over 700 applications in Round 1 and Round 2 that included an array of ideas which contributed to our thinking during our strategy review in early 2017. We want to make sure we are best placed to provide more support to founders and investors, address any identified market failures inhibiting the growth of the startup ecosystem and meet our goals of:
1) Engaging the Victorian community in the startup ecosystem
2) Positioning Victoria as an internationally recognised startup ecosystem.
So, between 2017 – 2019 we plan on running a number of funding programs to achieve our goals.
9. What is a startup ecosystem?
The startup ecosystem is made up of founders, investors, startup teams, community organisations, corporates and government. Working together, we can collectively create a pipeline of successfully scaling startups that contribute to jobs and Gross Domestic Product.
10. Do you fund Startups?
LaunchVic invests in the infrastructure of the startup ecosystem that in turn supports startups and startup entrepreneurs in Victoria. Our role is to enhance competition, collaboration, and quality in the ecosystem, and advocate for the sector. LaunchVic is specifically looking to invest in organisation(s) that will deliver a world-class accelerator program that supports established early stage startups to scale their businesses.
11. Can I have a phone conversation or meet with a LaunchVic team member to ask a few questions about the program and discuss my proposal?
LaunchVic is not offering calls or meetings for applicants under our open program based on our probity policy – operating under a fair and transparent process for all applicants. However, if anything is unclear in the program guidelines please contact us via this email address email@example.com and we can clarify any issues.
12. Can two organisations lead an application, or can we nominate only one?
There can only be one lead applicant, you can enter details on the partners under Part B section 5 in the application form.
13. Over what time period will the grant support the Accelerator program?
At this stage there is no preference. Applicants are required to propose a start and end date for the funded program in-line with the request of funds as part of the application.
14. Is LaunchVic looking for an international provider or at the very least a local provider partnering with an international provider?
The program is open to local (Australian) accelerators, international accelerators and teams with proven track records of success.
14. How many startups should the program attract over time? This is dependent on the applicant’s accelerator methodology and the proposed Melbourne program.
15. In submitting a proposal for accelerator funding, what information will be required of the team members and their credentials and backgrounds?
Applicants are required to provide details on the key accelerator personnel (program management and delivery team members etc.) who will be involved in the Melbourne program and outline their roles, relevant experience including experience establishing new programs. Please include LinkedIn profile links and/or website links.
16. Is the expectation that LaunchVic receive equity from each startup that gets admitted to the program?
LaunchVic does not take equity from startups going through LaunchVic funded accelerators.
17. I am a current LaunchVic funding recipient, am I eligible to apply?
Current recipients of LaunchVic funding can apply in this round.
18. What is the desired ratio for the cash and in-kind contribution versus the grant amount?
Applicant contributions are mandatory. Details on the applicant’s contributions need to be entered under section 5 in the Key Assessment Criteria.
19. Can you please share with us what success will look like for this program?
LaunchVic views success in two segments, in the long term, success is based on a sustainable program producing highly successful companies and in the short term success is the number of companies going through the program, the quality of the program they are receiving and additional programming for the Victorian startup ecosystem.
20. Do you have a minimum number of startups in mind that need to go for the program?
No. However the assessment committee will review how many startups are proposed to be accelerated against the funding requested and the quality of the program.
21. Is there a limit to the number of slides accepted in the pitch deck?
There is no limit but as an accelerator we expect applicants to provide an outstanding pitch. LaunchVic suggests a pitch similar with an investor pitch.
22. What type of format should the pitch deck be supplied in and how big?
A PDF file up to 25MB can be uploaded however we ask that you please keep files to a maximum of 10MB – the larger the file, the longer the upload time.
23. Can you provide examples of what you’re looking for regarding additional programming?
We want to hear from you on what you propose as your vision for the Victorian startup ecosystem.
24. Are you looking for an accelerator for all sectors-or if a (high quality etc) accelerator was focused on one sector, would it still be considered?
We are looking for a breadth (general) accelerator however outstanding sector focused accelerators will be considered.
25. On the matching funding: can it be matched by in kind?
Yes however cash investments will be reviewed more favourably than in-kind investments.
26. Can we request funding to go towards investment into the companies we select?
When we support accelerators, who invest in companies for equity, those accelerators have used their own capital or raised separate funds. Our strong preference is that the LaunchVic funding supports operations and additional programming.
27. How big is your shortlist likely to be?
We cannot comment on how big the shortlist is likely to be howevever we expect this to be highly competitive round.
28. Would you accept an accelerator particularly focused on success building companies targeting products for a particular region eg US or Asia?
Yes. LaunchVic recognises that Melbourne is a global gateway and that the accelerator may want to leverage opportunities abroad, however LaunchVic is here to grow the local ecosystem and it is expected that the accelerator program would do the same.
29. Can not-for-profit organisations apply?
Yes. But we would like to see a sustainable operating model.
30. Can an international partner with a local entity for a joint venture?
Yes. Joint venture applications can apply however the application must be led by one organisation.
31. What is the definition of a new accelerator entity?
A new company that is completely new. The first deliverable will include the setup the company, board etc. The application will need to be led by key personnel significant experience working in an accelerator to meet the eligibility requirement.
32. What is the timeline for start and delivery of the successful applicant?
LaunchVic is looking for the assessment to be completed before the end of 2017. LaunchVic would expect that the program to launch in early 2018 however the exact start of the program can be negotiated with LaunchVic.
My question doesn’t appear in the above, how can I seek help?
Please contact the LaunchVic Grants Team firstname.lastname@example.org We are a small team but we will do our best to get back to you within 1-2 business days!