Startup accelerator and incubator BlueChilli is expanding its Melbourne presence and plans to increase the number of Melbourne-based startups in its portfolio by 25 to 30 in a year’s time.
The first 10 startups BlueChilli added to its portfolio of investments all were Sydney-based, but in the past year about a third of the startups entering the portfolio were Melbourne-based. While BlueChilli does have a Melbourne presence, with its Melbourne community manager Ren Butler and general manager Sophie Hose, chief growth hacker Alan Jones says the lack of its own physical space means its Melbourne-based startups were missing the benefits of co-working.
Part of BlueChilli’s investment comes in the form of developer resource. Its team of roughly 40 developers work side-by-side with its Sydney-based startups in BlueChilli’s York St office. It will be building a team of developers of a similar size in Melbourne.
“The startups who joined before we had a space in Melbourne usually worked from home, and would join us from Skype, or Google Hangouts, and we’d travel down to Melbourne,” Jones says.
“But we’d always rather have startups in our physical space. There’s an enormous amount to be gained from working at a place dedicated to work, as opposed to your kitchen table or laundry.”
BlueChilli’s Melbourne offices will be based in the top floor of 520 Bourke Street, Melbourne in partnership with the Teamsquare co-working space. It features an open skylight ceiling, team offices, creative spaces, meeting rooms and 45 open-plan co-working desks, which will be available on both short-term and long-term basis.
Jones says the strength of Melbourne’s startup meetup scene makes it a natural expansion site for BlueChilli.
“Organisers of startup meetups in Sydney are generally happy with 30-50 people coming along. In Melbourne it’s more typical to see crowds of 100 or more,” Jones says.
“When you survey the room (in Melbourne), there’s a lot more people in the crowd looking for a way to get into startups. In Sydney, the ratio is more people that are already in startups looking to meet other startups.”
BlueChilli will be running a regular program of startup events at the new space. You can find out more here.