Grants for World Class Accelerator Programs FAQs

Update 24 June 2022

Are you able to please clarify when the pitch deck is required to be submitted? A pitch deck is required to be uploaded as part of the application, and this one must be submitted with the application by 27 June, 10am AEST. The assessors will review this pitch deck as part of the Stage 1 Assessment.

If your application is successful in proceeding to Stage 2, a five minute video pitch which includes a pitch deck must be submitted to us by 25 July 2022, and a Q&A session will follow this with the assessment panel and our Grants and Funding Committee on 1 August

In the funding section, are we applying for a grant over three years or are we applying for just the first year and we apply separately for years 2 and 3? In the funding section, please include the total amount requested over the three years, and the total cash and in-kind contributions for the entire funding period and then in the budget section please include a breakdown of the income and expenditure of the total amount into categories


Updated 10 June 2022

Is there a preferred or latest ‘start date’. Would it be appropriate to commence the program in early 2023? We require programs to launch within a reasonable time period after our anticipated contracting date (September), early 2023 would be reasonable.

Regarding the budget, should the expenditure only be for LaunchVic or cash spend? Can this include in kind? Also should the income-expenditure always equal zero? Please add all expenditures for the proposed project and you can note which ones will be covered by LaunchVic and which ones will be covered by cash/in-kind contributions etc. The income-expenditure should always equal zero (i.e., all costs have been accounted for and are covered by the requested grant funding and cash and/or in-kind contributions).

Would our program that we are delivering potentially be classified as an 'Accelerator' by LaunchVic and therefore worthy of a grant funding application in the forthcoming June grant funding round. LaunchVic defines an accelerator as a program targeted at established startups who want to scale their business. They are typically fixed-term, cohort-based programs, but may also be delivered in the style of an incubator that accepts startups on an ad-hoc basis. Accelerators (and incubators) are competitive – entry is by way of an application process – and successful startups can expect to receive mentorship and/or education, and introductions to customers and early-stage investors including through a public pitch event or demo day.

For the purposes of this grant round, the types of organisations that are eligible to apply include a:

a. registered company/organisation headquartered in the State of Victoria, Australia; or
b. registered company/organisation with offices in the State of Victoria, Australia; or
c. registered company/organisation located outside of the State of Victoria, Australia proposing a project to be delivered in Melbourne, Australia; or
d. unregistered company/organisation located in the State of Victoria, Australia that agrees to set up a registered company in Melbourne, Australia; or
e. international company/organisation that agrees to setup a registered company in Melbourne, Australia


INFORMATION SESSION QUESTIONS

Updated 31 May 2022

1. Is this funding round open to applications from a startup group situated within a university? Yes, we would welcome applications from startup groups within universities that meet the eligibility criteria.

2. Aside from Fintech, what are other sectors of particular interest/importance in the Victorian startup ecosystem? We want to hear from you what you think areas of interest or importance are in the Victorian startup ecosystem. We want to know the people who are running the accelerator are experts in whichever sector they're putting forward. If you're interested in understanding the depth of sector expertise in Victoria, you can see the full database of Victorian startups at findingstartups.launchvic.org.

3. What defines the shift from a pre-accelerator to an accelerator? Pre-accelerators are programs helping startups in their very early startup journey. An Accelerator is focused on helping established startups scale.

4. How would you define scaling exactly? Eg. Post product/market fit? Or revenue/users, etc.? It really depends on the cohort and/or sector you are looking at. We acknowledge that different style companies have different growth metrics. We're looking for programs that will be supporting startups that are on an upward trajectory.

5. Does the Accelerator Grantee or Grant Applicant need to be a Victorian registered company? Or can they be based internationally or interstate and have a Victorian branch office and location in Melbourne? We do welcome applications from companies based internationally or interstate, but we will require you to set up an office in Melbourne and have program staff based in Melbourne.

6. We are Geelong based Accelerator program. Are we eligible? If you meet the eligibility requirements for the grant round, yes, however, we would want to see that the program is accessible from Melbourne.

7. We understand that funding has already been invested into agtech pre-accelerators, is there an appetite to support agtech accelerator programs to complete the pipeline? This grant program is sector agnostic and we welcome applications focused on any sector, however we would want to see demonstrated in the application that there is a strong pipeline of startups at the right stage coming through, and a model to help them scale in whichever sector you are focused on.

8. Do accelerators have to be technology product accelerators? We define startups as technology-based businesses with high impact potential, that use innovation, are typically disruptive and are either accessing or targeting global markets. We generally see that products and services are the key areas within this. We are certainly not looking at small business accelerators that might be focused on, for example, restaurants or consulting models or other fields that are often geographically constrained.

9. Are there any specific global markets for scaleups that you are focusing on? Can we look at a few programs targeting emerging markets? We are very open to any applications that come forward however we would emphasise the importance of having the expertise within your team to deliver the programs. If you’re looking to bring people in globally to run the programs, we want to understand who those key personnel will be.

10. Would only physical startups located in Victoria qualify to participate in the Accelerator programs? What about a mix of local, national and global startups targeting market entry into Victoria? As we are the state government entity responsible for growing the local Victorian ecosystem, our targets will be based on the number of Victorian startups being supported by the program. However, we also recognise the benefits of bringing interstate and international startups to Victoria and generally we will require that 75% of the participants are Victorians leaving an opportunity for interstate and international startups to participate in the program.

11. Is the focus on scaling for growth international or within Australia? This will depend on the design of your accelerator program. We define a startup as a company that is targeting international markets, so we are interested in global markets however we also recognise that many young companies need to prove themselves within Australia first so the accelerator program may help them to target international but focus locally first.

12. Could the program also help support Victorian startups to scale through overseas market entry? Absolutely, we have previously funded programs that have done this however there is a balance with this and as we are focused on supporting the local industry, we are not looking to support programs that help support startups to move headquarters overseas.

13. Will you only fund the operating cost of the accelerator program, or will you fund an investment too? We would also consider funding an investment too and we have done this previously.

14. Can part of the grant be given to the participant as a cash investment in addition to the service? Absolutely. We have supported programs previously that have done this, and we are open to this type of model. This will also help influence the amount of investment we take if you put this model forward.

15. We are applying for the grant to help support the scale-up stage of an accelerator program, and part of the program is a bootcamp which allows manufacturing process validation (which is the first step towards scaling-up for a startup). Is this supported? We are looking to help startups to scale not establish so the focus of your application should be on this component of your program. In this grant round, we are not looking to support bootcamps, we are seeking to support longer programs that typically run for at least 12 weeks, if not longer.

16. To clarify the definition of a scaleup, must the startups have their product/service launched in market? Are there any other criteria (e.g., revenue-generating, years of operation? etc) There are many definitions of a scaleup, and ultimately this depends on the sector you are focused on. Typically, we would define a scaleup as post-Series A and this grant funding round is focused on supporting those startups that are pre-series A and getting ready to scale.

17. Does this mean cohorts for the accelerator programs can only include pre-Series A startups that have products/services in market? If they are post Series A, are they ineligible to participate in the accelerator program? It really depends on the type of startups you are supporting. Ultimately, we want you to show us your understanding of the target market and what your eligibility criteria are for the startups going through the program. Applications that we will not consider funding in this grant round are those that support startups to establish, we will only consider programs that are helping startups to scale.

18. Is there a specific number of startups per cohort per year that should be supported by the program? No, but we are certainly looking to help a number of startups and generally, we would not look favourably on less than 10 per cohort. However, ultimately it will depend on the program and the quality of services offered.

19. How should the budgeting be balanced in terms of administration costs for the accelerator and funding for startups going through the program? This will be for you to determine, and it will also depend on how much funding you are receiving from other sources. We have funded 100% of administration costs for some applications, and a portion of administration costs along with a cash component for startups going through the program for other applications.

20. Is there a minimum level of funding? No, we will fund applications that are well thought through and come in much less than the $2 million budget.

21. For this grant round, are all 19 accelerator programs previously funded by LaunchVic ineligible? This grant round is not suitable for existing grant recipients seeking refunding for their programs. We are seeking to fund new accelerator programs and would only be open to funding an application from an existing accelerator program grant recipient if the program is different from your existing program (an example may be if your program was sector-specific and is now sector agnostic and targeting a greater number of startups). We have other mechanisms that support refunding existing grant recipients.

22. Can we apply for funding for an accelerator program (Melbourne based) that already exists and is currently running, with a new program is about to start? We would like to understand why you now need LaunchVic funding for the program. We need to see that you would be bringing something new to market (a stepped change to your existing model) that would not happen without this funding support.

23. We are a business looking to scale our technology internationally. Are we eligible? Unfortunately, you are not eligible as we are looking to fund accelerator programs that will help support businesses like yours. We would recommend contacting an accelerator program. The list of accelerator programs funded by LaunchVic can be found on our website here: https://launchvic.org/programs...

24. Can product engineering and consultation costs be covered? Can we create vouchers that will pay for the startups to establish their supply chain, get manufacturing and automation consultations? Potentially yes, as long as the accelerator program is supporting startups and not SMEs to grow.

25. What is the total funding LaunchVic is providing through this grant round? We will be funding up to $2m per application, and ultimately it depends on the number of high-quality applications received.

26. Where can we find a list or landscape of the existing accelerator programs located in Melbourne? All accelerator programs that have been funded by LaunchVic are listed on our website here: https://launchvic.org/programs/accelerators-and-incubators-1.

27. Are we eligible for this round of funding if LaunchVic has already funded one of our pre-accelerator programs? Yes, we would welcome your application, however you will need to demonstrate in the application that you have the experience and expertise to deliver a world-class accelerator program.

28. Are there templates for applying? There is a template for applying for this grant round, which can be previewed and downloaded from this webpage: https://launchvic.smartygrants...

29. Can the program commence before the grant has been awarded? No, the program will need to commence after the grant has been awarded and the funding announced which is expected to occur in early September.

30. Can the pitch be delivered from overseas (given that we will be on a study tour during that time)? We are Melbourne based. Yes, you are welcome to deliver the pitch from overseas, however there will be a set time so you will have to work within this schedule.

ROUND QUESTIONS

1. Why are you funding a world-class accelerator program? This funding grant round focuses on building capability and excellence, by funding organisations to deliver world-class accelerator programs 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.

2. How many applications will be funded? LaunchVic is seeking to invest up to $2,000,000 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 programs that will deliver a world-class accelerator that supports established startups to scale their businesses. Programs that do not fit this category are ineligible to apply under this funding round.

4. Are there any key areas you want to see addressed in the Accelerator program? Accelerator programs may wish to concentrate on an area of strength and growth in Victoria’s startup ecosystem or can be sector agnostic. For more information about the sector strengths of Victoria’s startup ecosystem visit findingstartups.launchvic.org.

5. How do you define a Startup? Startups are technology-based businesses with high impact potential, that use innovation and/or address scalable markets. Their product/service/platform/hardware is driven by technology. Examples of technology include software / applications, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, advanced manufacturing & robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, augmented / virtual reality, 3D printing, advanced materials, genomics & life sciences (including biotech & medtech) and autonomous vehicles.

6. What is the definition of a new accelerator entity? A new company that is completely new. The first deliverable will include the set-up of the company. The application will need to be led by key personnel with significant experience working in an accelerator to meet the eligibility requirement.

7. Over what time period will the grant support the Accelerator program? LaunchVic is seeking to invest up to $2 million per application for up to three years. Applicants are required to propose a start and end date for the funded program as part of the application.

8. How many startups should the program support? This is dependent on the applicant’s accelerator methodology and the proposed program, but the number of startups the program will be supported should be outlined in your application. The assessment committee will review how many startups are proposed to be accelerated against the funding requested and the quality of the program.

9. 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. 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.

10. 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.

11. Can an international partner apply with a local entity for a joint venture? Yes. Joint venture applications can apply however the application must be led by one organisation.

12. Can I speak to someone at LaunchVic to discuss my proposal? LaunchVic is not offering calls or meetings for applicants under this grant 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 or you are unsure if you are eligible to apply, please contact us via email on grants@launchvic.org. We generally respond to emails within 48 hours during the working week.

APPLICANT & PARTNER CONTRIBUTIONS

1. Is there an advantage in providing matched funding? Does the lead applicant need to have matched funding? Cash and/or in-kind contributions are required and must be included in your proposal. We would encourage you to include a letter of support for any cash or in-kind contributions committed.

2. Are there restrictions on what type of partner organisations can provide contributions? Contributions are welcome from a variety of partners and institutions, which can include government, university and research organisations, commercial or other parties, who support the proposed project. We would encourage you to include a letter of support for any cash or in-kind contributions committed from partners.

3. Do the cash / in-kind contributions need to add up to a similar ‘value’ as being requested? No, however, LaunchVic is very much in favour of higher levels of contributions.