AngelCube takes tough love approach with 2012 incubator class

Melbourne-based incubator AngelCube has announced the eight start-ups that have joined its 2012 program, all of which are now being put under the microscope by “tough love” mentors.


Following the success of AngelCube’s first program in 2011, which included, Lexim and Test Pilot, the 2012 participants will benefit from an expanded mentor network.


There will also be an emphasis on a much tougher, milestone-driven program.


“Since our 2011 launch, I have been invited to a number of international start-up and accelerator events,” AngelCube co-founder Andrew Birt says.


“Every accelerator CEO that I’ve met has emphasised the importance of tough love.”


“Based on that experience, I’ve realised that we probably let last year’s teams focus too much on building product versus market and customer validation.”


“AngelCube 2012 now has strict milestones that each team must hit each week, and every one of the teams is focused on testing their assumptions and business model by involving customers from day one.”


AngelCube’s 2012 investee companies are:

AngelCube’s mentor network includes Guy King and Bevan Clark of RetailMeNot, Leni Mayo and Mark Harbottle of 99designs and Andrew Twaits, former chief executive of BetFair.


In addition to the 13-week program and mentorship, AngelCube provides each start-up with $20,000 in seed capital and office space at Melbourne co-working space Inspire9.


In addition to pitching opportunities in Australia and Silicon Valley, the 2012 program also includes $100,000 worth of perks from the likes of Microsoft, Amazon, PayPal and Rackspace.


Ivan Lim, founder and managing director of Vinspi, says the program has been running for a few weeks and is already proving extremely helpful.


“It’s been helpful in terms of putting together priorities and breaking down business models and how we’re meeting the customers’ needs… We’re breaking down the business to its bare bones,” he says.


“[The mentors encourage us to] critically look at things like ‘Are you making assumptions about your customers?’ and ‘Have you tested those assumptions?’… It’s a tough-love thing.”


“The guys here are really wanting to push you… They’re testing our limits, and helping us to develop as business owners and [develop] the business itself.”


AngelCube lead investor Adrian Stone says it’s exciting that Australia has gone from having no start-up accelerators following the Y Combinator model to four in less than 18 months.


“It’s a great time to be a tech entrepreneur in Australia – the scene is really taking off here,” he says.


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