500 Startups secures funding from LaunchVic to set up 500 Melbourne

Philip Dalidakis

Former Victorian Minister for innovation Philip Dalidakis.

Melbourne will soon be home to a global startup accelerator and venture capital seed fund with $US200 million ($259.6 million) in assets, with 500 Startups securing grant funding from LaunchVic to establish local operations.

On Saturday, Victorian minister for small business Philip Dalidakis, LaunchVic chief executive Kate Cornick and 500 Startups founder Dave McClure revealed part of the $4.9 million announced in January to fund startup projects will go towards establishing 500 Melbourne.

“This is massive,” Dalidakis tells StartupSmart. 

“This has the opportunity of being an absolute game-changer for our sector at home and the way we’re perceived abroad. Without any doubt 500 Startups is the absolute crème de la crème.”

In January, only some of the grant recipients were revealed in Launch Vic’s second funding round, with Dalidakis stating larger projects would be unveiled  in coming months.

On 500 Startup’s request for commercial confidence, LaunchVic declined to disclose the exact amount of funding it’s providing to the project.

However, with almost $2 million already allocated from LaunchVic’s $4.9 million funding round, the investment in 500 Melbourne could be as much as $2.9 million.

500 Melbourne’s key goal will be to accelerate at least 40 startups in the next two years, drawing on support from 500 Startups’ extensive network, which includes Silicon Valley venture capitalists. The Melbourne operations are expected to open later this year.

“This is not about an either or proposition,” Dalidakis says.

“This is about what we’re doing in the best interest of turbocharging our ecosystem … with the best and brightest in Australia … and the world.”

Dalidakis says the establishment of 500 Melbourne is vote of confidence, not just in Victoria but in Australia’s whole startup sector.

“If 500 Startups didn’t think Australia has much to offer, they wouldn’t be here,” Dalidakis says.

Dalidakis hopes 500 Melbourne will be a magnet for the best talent across the Asia-Pacific region and a way to leverage opportunities for interstate collaboration.

Startup Victoria chief executive Georgia Beattie tells StartupSmart she can’t wait to start working with McClure.

“I believe this will create a rising tide for Melbourne startups which will lift all boats in the ecosystem,” she says.

“David McClure will be an asset in Melbourne … The wave of support and opportunities for our entrepreneurs in Victoria has us holding on white knuckled at Startup Vic.

“There really hasn’t been a better time to make the jump into entrepreneurship.”

In a statement, McClure said the 500 Startups team has “had our eye on Australia and have already invested in 20 Aussie startups”.

“Partnering with Melbourne and LaunchVic helps us bring a slice of Silicon Valley to Australia through our startup, investor, and corporate programs,” McClure said.

“We can’t wait to inspire more nerds like us to follow their entrepreneurial drive.”

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