Governor of Victoria Startup Awards - LaunchVic

Governor of Victoria Startup Awards

Celebrating the outstanding contribution of Victoria’s $103 billion startup sector

Award Categories

Five award categories will recognise Victorian startup achievement.

Individual Categories

  • Ecosystem Hero of the Year
  • Investor of the Year

Company Categories

  • Best Newcomer
  • Startup of the Year
  • Scaleup of the Year

Selection Criteria

Individual Categories (Nominated by the public) 

  • Ecosystem Hero of the Year
    • Must be a resident of the State of Victoria.
    • Demonstrated contribution to the development of the Victorian startup ecosystem that is above and beyond their current role.
    • This is an individual award. Organisations are not eligible.
  • Investor of the Year
    • Must be a resident of the State of Victoria.
    • Must have made at least one early-stage investment (defined as being less than $7M) into a Victorian startup or scaleup in 2023
    • This is an individual award. Organisations are not eligible.

Company Categories

  • Best Newcomer
    • For firms less than three years old.
  • Startup of the Year
    • For those that have raised a minimum Series A in the last four years and meet one of the following:
      • a) Have raised less than or equal to $10 million to date*, OR
      • b) Have less than or equal to 50 employees
  • Scaleup of the Year
    • For firms less than ten years old that meet one of the following:
      • a) Have raised more than $10 million to date*, OR
      • b) Employ more than 50 people.

*For the period ending 31 December 2023

The awards for Best Newcomer, Startup of the Year and Scaleup of the Year categories are selected from a shortlist of the top 30 Victorian startups based on criteria that include: money raised, age of the firm and job creation or number of employees.

This data comes from LaunchVic’s startup database, dealroom.launchvic.org, powered by global startup and VC platform dealroom.co.

Shortlisted applicants provide a written submission assessed by an external expert panel.

For the Investor of the Year and Ecosystem Hero of the Year awards, LaunchVic invites nominations from the public.

Nominations closed 10am Thursday 29 February.

Ecosystem Hero of the Year

Emily Casey

Founder, What the Health

Regional Ecosystem Hero of the Year

Dr Elena Kelareva

CEO, GippsTech

Investor of the Year

Joint Winner

Nick Crocker

General Partner, Blackbird

Investor of the Year

Joint Winner

Rachael Neumann

Co-Founder, Flying Fox Ventures

2024 Finalists

Ecosystem Hero of the Year

Investor of the Year

2023 Finalists

Ecosystem Hero of the Year

Regional Ecosystem Hero of the Year

  • David Hughes, Bendigo Invention & Innovation Festival
  • Ilena Young, CEO Startup Shakeup
  • Linda Wong, RunwayHQ
  • Paz Pizarski, Co-Founder, The Community Collective
  • Investor of the Year

    Past Winners

    2022

    FAQs

    Is there a fee to enter?

    No, there is no fee to enter or participate in the Governor of Victoria Startup Awards.

    Why is there no regional ecosystem hero of the year category this year?

    This year, we have consolidated the regional ecosystem hero with the ecosystem hero of the year category.

    In previous years, we’ve found many of the same individuals were being nominated for both awards and are worthy of being assessed in the same category regardless of their location.

    Can I nominate myself?

    The Best Newcomer, Startup of the Year and Scaleup of the Year categories will be selected using quantitative data from LaunchVic’s startup database, dealroom.launchvic.org, rather than a nomination process.

    However, you are welcome to nominate yourself, or someone you believe is worthy for the Investor of the Year and the Ecosystem Hero of the Year categories. The top nominations for each category will then be put to an external expert panel to decide the winner.

    I’ve been nominated, but I don’t want to participate. What do I do?

    LaunchVic will advise you if you have been shortlisted for a specific category at which time you can communicate your wish to be involved.

    I live interstate – can I nominate someone?

    Yes, as long as you are nominating a Victorian-based startup, scaleup, investor, or community builder.

    How are the finalists chosen?

    The Best Newcomer, Startup of the Year and Scaleup of the Year categories will be selected using quantitative data from LaunchVic’s startup database, This data comes from LaunchVic’s startup database, dealroom.launchvic.org rather than a nomination process.

    For the Investor of the Year and Ecosystem Hero of the Year, LaunchVic will invite nominations from the public.

    The LaunchVic team will shortlist the top nominations for each category based on the eligibility criteria, and our external expert panel will assess this list to determine the winners.

    Can I win again if I was a winner last year?

    No, not in the same category.

    What is the prize for the Governor of Victoria Startup Awards?

    There is no ‘prize’ (monetary or in-kind). However, the winner receives ‘acknowledgment’ of the highest order from the Governor of Victoria for being #1 ranked in front of their colleagues and peers.

    What is LaunchVic's role in the awards?

    LaunchVic, as Victoria’s startup agency, is coordinating the Awards Process, using both quantitative (Dealroom) and qualitative (Victorian expert panel) metrics to evaluate nominations.