BlueChilli launches in Melbourne with new recruits

Sydney-based accelerator and venture capital fund BlueChilli has launched it Melbourne office and scooped up a general manager and community manager to head-up its Victorian operations.


The Melbourne office will be based out of co-working space The Cluster with the aim of growing the city’s healthy startup scene by bringing entrepreneurs without a technical co-founder into the ecosystem.


BlueChilli founder and chief executive Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin told StartupSmart the move south is the latest step in BlueChilli’s growth strategy, having previously closed a $5 million funding round led by Myer Family Investments and Simon Hackett last year.


“BlueChilli’s model is now at a stage where we can support a large number of startups,” he says.


“We’ve got our model down pat and started 55 companies. Now it’s about getting our model into other areas and communities and supporting them and building awesome startups.”


The next step for BlueChilli is to take the business model to overseas markets.


“BlueChilli is in negotiations with a number of existing incubators and accelerators overseas for licensing our model and taking the BlueChilli concept to a global audience,” Eckersley-Maslin says.


“The idea is having a full network of mentors and funding all around the world supporting the startup no matter where they were funded, seeded or grown… So truly building a global network of entrepreneurs.”


Eckersley-Maslin describes the two employees heading up the Melbourne operations – Sophie Hose and Ren Butler – as “kick-arse” and “awesome”.


Speaking to StartupSmart this morning, Sophie Hose – general manager of Blue Chilli Melbourne – said the accelerator will host “chilli chats” every Tuesday afternoon.


“It’s extra support for early stage founders who are navigating the difficulties of starting up either alone or with a small team and want a founding board to help them succeed,” she says.


“As part of having a really healthy startup culture in Australia we need to have a lot of early stage startups to put through that pipeline. So supporting people with ideas and helping them make decisions and allocate their resources early is key for us to building the ecosystem the whole way through.”


Hose says having an all-female team in Melbourne will be “an interesting experiment” to see if that will translate into more female founders coming out of Melbourne.


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