Startup News & Analysis

From custom AI to a Key Squirrel: Meet this year’s participants in the SPARK Deakin accelerator programme

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Giuliett Moran and Louise Johnston, co-founders of Empowering Parents, on of the startups participating in the SPARK Deakin 2018 Accelerator. Source: Supplied.

Deakin University’s SPARK Deakin entrepreneurial hub has announced the ten startups participating in its accelerator class of 2018, with this year’s diverse cohort working on everything from customised AI solutions to cake creation.

The accelerator – which last year supported Vollie founders Tanya Dontas and Matt Boyd who featured in SmartCompany’s 30 under 30 list in 2018 – received the largest number of applications since it started three years ago.

Each of the ten teams will receive $10,000 in seed funding, with no equity obligations, as well as mentorship from the likes of Dontas, Language Your Way founder Pawan Lalwani, and president of Linux Australia Kathy Reid.

They will also have access to co-working space at Deakin University’s corporate centre in Melbourne, and free in-house legal guidance through clinics from Deakin Law School.

In a statement, SPARK programme manager Daizy Maan said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to support such a strong and diverse cohort of teams for SPARK Deakin’s 2018 Accelerator program.”

“This year’s teams are talented entrepreneurs who have come to us with unique selling propositions and innovative solutions to everyday problems, eager to compete and set themselves apart.”

The startups participating in the SPARK Deakin 2018 Accelerator are:

Aiii.io: A platform allowing business to find, test and implement AI algorithms, connecting users with developers to design customised solutions.

CycleCups: A startup helping to reduce landfill by creating reusable and returnable takeaway drinks cups.

DifAbility: A programme offering online training for parents of children with autism.

Empowering Parents: A scheme offering support and training designed to help parents manage childcare challenges from bedtime routines to anxiety.

Key Squirrel: A key exchange service, verifying and delivering keys to short-term rental guests.

LendMyTrend: A clothing lending service for high-end fashion items, pairing clothing lenders and renters throughout Australia.

Netik Quick Clinic: A healthcare subscription service providing affordable, convenient and fast remote healthcare to a population in rural India, who have previously not had easy access to medical care.

Ruwi’s Cakes: An online 3D design platform for custom-made and personalised cakes.

Staffah: An online platform designed to make hospitality recruitment easier.

Treiner: A booking platform connecting Australian football coaches with players that need them, matching them based on experience, cost, availability, and area of expertise.

NOW READ: On the MAP: Meet this year’s cohort for the Melbourne Accelerator Program

*This article was edited at 1pm on 14 June 2018.

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is a reporter at StartupSmart.

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