Startup agency LaunchVic has announced a new grant that offers up to $300,000 for organisations to run pre-accelerator programs designed to help women founders build a minimum viable product and find their first customers.
The new funding option builds on the firm supporting women via its $10 million Alice Anderson Fund, which was launched in mid-2021 and invests between $50,000 to $300,000 in early-stage startups led by Victorian women.
The additional support comes almost one month after Folklore Ventures and Cut Through Venture’s State of Australian Startup Funding revealed the share of total funding for women-led startups dropped to 10 per cent in 2022– a level not seen in many years and significantly below the global average.
It also found roughly 33 per cent of angel and seed-stage funding went to startups with female founders, while only eight per cent of Series B and later funding was received by women, down from 20 per cent in 2021.
“The latest funding reflects LaunchVic's enduring commitment to building the pipeline of women-founded companies and ensuring a diverse startup ecosystem,” LaunchVic CEO Dr Kate Cornick said.
"We're pump priming the Victorian startup sector with the next generation of women entrepreneurs and ensuring, through initiatives like The Alice Anderson Fund, that they receive support at every stage of growth.”
Over the last six years, LaunchVic programs have upskilled more than 11,600 entrepreneurs looking to break into the startup world.
One example is ReciMe co-founder Ivy Nguyen, who launched a recipe discovery app billed as the ‘Spotify for home cooks’.
Recently completing LaunchVic’s CivVic Labs pre-accelerator, ReciMe has closed a $500,000 pre-seed funding round to help its 15,000 monthly users share and discover recipes from around the world.
The company has also received support from the Alice Anderson Fund, which has backed 21 emerging women-led companies within the last 18 months, as well companies like Amble Outdoors, Neighbourlytics and One Key Access.
Ivy said the pre-accelerator program’s focus on customer discovery had helped the team refine its value proposition to a Gen Z audience.
“The CivVic Labs program helped us unpack the problems with cultural and health food accessibility,” Nguyen said.
“We were able to apply our learnings to better develop a product that inspires young people to cook healthy meals at home and embrace cultural foods.”
In October 2022, LaunchVic also committed $3.1 million towards three accelerator programs focused on supporting local startups in industries such as technology, health and sustainability.
Startmate and Tattarang join forces to support women-led startups
The announcement from LaunchVic comes around a fortnight after Tattarang – the investment vehicle of Australian billionaire Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest and his wife Nicola – revealed it was partnering with Startmate to focus on supporting women-led startups with bold visions.
As part of the initiative, Startmate invests $120,000 into each startup and gives participants access to mentors, investors and operators across Australia and New Zealand.
Female founders in this year’s program include Raj Bagri, the founder of Kapture – a Melbourne-based company that is looking to decarbonise 83 million diesel generators worldwide, as well as Kelpy founder Fionnuala Quin, who is replacing single-use plastics with compostable seaweed biopackaging.
“The disproportionately low share of venture capital received by women stalls economic progress and prosperity,” Nicola Forrest said.
“It is refreshing to see Startmate taking a truly equitable approach and we want to help them back female founders.
“There is a strong correlation between gender equality and organisational success and when female-led businesses succeed it benefits all of society, both women and men.”
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