The Optus Innov8 Seed Program has opened applications for its second season following the success of the inaugural round in 2012, which saw two start-ups secure a total of $700,000.
The program, launched by Optus and SingTel in June last year, provides tech start-ups with cash, mentoring, networking and co-working spaces.
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The first Australian start-ups to receive funding were Venuemob and 121cast, which pocketed $450,000 and $250,000 respectively. Both start-ups launched in 2012.
“Now that the dust has settled, we’re opening up applications again,” Optus wrote on its Innov8 blog.
The next round, dubbed Season 2, will be kept “pretty much the same”. Only two small changes have been made to the application process. One of these changes relates to referees.
“Last time we required start-ups to seek referrals from our partners to be eligible to apply,” Optus said.
“Feedback we received was that it was sometimes hard for start-ups to find a partner that had the time to review their application.
“We also recognised the limited time our partners had to vet and vouch for applications.
“This time we’re asking start-ups to provide two referees; referees should be familiar with the start-up’s business and also have relevant experience.”
Next week, Optus will hold several information sessions for start-ups to outline how the program works and answer any questions. Applications for Season 2 close on February 4.
On February 20, Optus will announce the start-ups that have made the shortlist.
“We’re anticipating that there’ll be around 10 to 12 selected,” it said.
“These start-ups will be invited to present to some of Australia’s leading tech innovators along with our investment partners from SingTel Innov8 at Optus Campus Sydney.”
Held on February 26, this is a half-day event where there will also be an opportunity to network with other start-ups and tech investors once the pitches have finished.
“In the past, we’ve followed up with some of the start-ups the following day.” Optus said.
“We understand this might be difficult for start-ups that are coming in from outside Sydney and, in that case, we’re happy to connect up via teleconference.”
This will be followed by investment negotiations, which commence in March.