QIC to partner with five accelerators to boost QLD startups

QIC to partner with five accelerators to boost QLD startups

UQ head of entrepreneurship Nimrod Klayman who leads UQ Ventures, one of five accelerators the QVCDF grant will support.

The Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC) expects more than 160 early-stage startups in the state will be supported to become venture capital (VC) investment-ready thanks to accelerator programs delivered through a $130 million state government fund.

The QIC is managing the Queensland Venture Capital Development Fund (QVCDF), which is initially putting its weight behind five accelerators: Farmers2Founders, EnergyLab, UQ Ventures, Lumina X, and 77 Venture Challenge.

Today's news follows the announcement this week that the fund would be investing into VC firms Antler, Five V, CSIRO-affiliated Main Sequence, Mandalay and Salus, which thanks to conditions of the program would bring up to $200 million in matched funding according to Queensland Treasurer, Cameron Dick.

QIC Private Equity Partner Nicholas Guest says investing in Queensland accelerators is crucial for cultivating a robust and thriving venture capital industry.  

“Through the Queensland Venture Capital Development Fund, we are partnering with venture capital investors to build early-stage investment capacity and capability in our local innovation ecosystem,” Guest explains.

"But to sustain growth in the number of early-stage investors in Queensland, we know we need to be growing the number of investment-ready opportunities too. 

“That’s exactly what the fund’s accelerator programs are designed to do, providing start-ups with mentorship and operational advice to steer a path toward financial investment."

Guest emphasises that developing a pipeline of early-stage businesses ripe for venture capital investment not only increases deal flow for investors but fosters maturity in the local start-up sector.  

"In turn, this will attract more capital into Queensland and encourage more innovative companies to establish, grow and remain in Queensland," he says. 

“The first five accelerators to be provided operational funding will do that job exceedingly well.”

Over a two-year delivery period, accelerators funded by the QVCDF will support a total of 18 cohorts with an estimated 168 companies. 

Programs will leverage relationships across the Queensland university network and will support regional founders across Toowoomba, Gladstone, Cairns, Townsville, Airlie Beach, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Hervey Bay. 

Every accelerator program is designed to reduce the challenges faced by early-stage companies and provide exposure to investors to allow better access to financing. 

LuminaX will see its HealthTech Accelerator supported by the QIC in partnership with City of Gold Coast, Mater, Griffith University and LX Health, with this year set to have the largest cohort yet with up to 14 slots available.

LX Health director Dren Xerxa sees the partnership as a significant step for the health-tech industry, nurturing new digital health companies that have the potential to scale globally and advance technology-enabled healthcare in Australia.

"Each startups understand the hurdles in securing funds or gearing up for investment. So, it’s incredible to see a program of this scale up and running in Queensland, and VCDF’s commitment to helping these startups in the LuminaX HealthTech Accelerator," Xerxa says.

"This will result in positive health outcomes for the community at large, as well as significantly elevate the entire ecosystem for years to come."

Nimrod Klayman, head of entrepreneurship at UQ, says the university will deliver a commercially focused program to help close the early-stage funding gap in the state, throwing a lifeline to innovators operating in and competitive environment.

“The accelerator funding from QIC will be transformative for local founders. Through strategic partnerships and dedicated efforts, we are poised to drive tangible economic growth and foster innovation that transcends boundaries,” Klayman says.

“This initiative is an unprecedented opportunity for UQ – a global top-50 university with a strong reputation throughout the state’s entrepreneurship ecosystem – to equip and empower founders both within and outside of our university community.

“By leveraging UQ’s established expertise and networks, we aim to elevate the number of aspiring founders, amplify deal flow, and catalyse the creation of hundreds of new jobs. It will benefit Queensland and Australia now and well into the future by building a pipeline of innovative companies and amplifying the venture capital industry.”

The university will use the funding to support founders to advance commercial strategies and growth through four tailored accelerators: Digital and Software as a Service (SaaS); Female Founders; National Security and Dual Purpose; and UQ Affiliates.

Each qualifying business will receive expert guidance to enhance business skills, grow networks and boost scaling plans to help participants prepare for significant fundraising.

The Momentum Accelerator will conclude with a pitch to top investors, offering direct funding opportunities. Hosted by UQ, it’s open to all and not limited to UQ students or university affiliates.

Meet the 5 accelerators backed by the Queensland Venture Capital Development Fund

Farmers2Founders

A female founder-led company that was established in 2018 to accelerate the development, commercialisation and adoption of agritech solutions, Farmers2Founders delivers a unique multi-stage accelerator program pathway that supports and invests in purpose-driven agtech startups and founders, from early venture creation through to global expansion. Through this pathway, their vision is to contribute to the ongoing growth, prosperity and sustainability of Queensland and Australia’s agricultural and food industry, by putting farmers at the centre of innovation. They achieve this by supporting and working across the global agrifood ecosystem, including farmers, agritech startups and entrepreneurs, investors, government, commercial business, industry and researchers. 

EnergyLab

EnergyLab is Australia’s largest clean energy and climate tech startup accelerator and innovation network dedicated to reaching net zero emissions, operating since 2017. EnergyLab will deliver the Queensland Climate Tech Investment Ready Program to support Queensland climate tech startups to become investment ready.

UQ Ventures

The University of Queensland's (UQ's) Ventures Momentum Accelerator, in partnership with QIC, has launched a next-stage program for startups with initial market success. UQ is supporting founders to advance commercial strategies and growth through four tailored accelerators: Digital and Software as a Service (SaaS); Female Founders; National Security and Dual Purpose; and UQ Alumni. Drawing upon 24 years of experience in entrepreneurship, UQ runs some of Queensland's largest and most successful accelerator programs.  

Lumina X

Founded in 2021 in Economic Development Queensland’s Cohort Innovation Space, LuminaX has swiftly built a reputation as a home for healthtech founders in Queensland. Supported by QIC, LuminaX will offer an accelerator program for startups to fast-track their growth through mentoring, coaching, capital and industry connections.

77 Venture Challenge

Led by Queensland venture capital firm 77 Partners, the 77 Venture Challenge will actively support 40 frontier tech ventures to accelerate from pitch ready to investment ready. The program leverages the network of the 77 Partners team, extending from over 25 years of experience across the venture ecosystem in Queensland to Silicon Valley in a strategic partnership with leading US venture capital firm Bee Partners. It will build on the early successes of program alumni in Queensland, including Y Combinator-backed GreaseBoss and high-growth venture Kurloo, and enable scale support from some of the most successful founders and investors worldwide. 

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