Sydney-based business incubator ATP Innovations is preparing to launch Ignition Labs, an accelerator program inspired by Startmate, which will be aimed solely at clean tech companies.
ATP Innovations, which partners with technology-based businesses, has worked with more than 80 businesses in the past five years, helping them raise funds and sell their products globally.
ATP supports mentor-driven seed fund Startmate, which recently unveiled the eight start-ups for its next program. Startmate companies are often based in the ATP Innovations building.
Inspired by the Startmate program, ATP Innovations is launching Ignition Labs, an accelerator for clean tech companies, which will include a three-month program and a two-week road show.
The accelerator will be aimed at enabling technologies that are software-based or low-cost hardware, rather than infrastructure-intensive solar panels, wind farms or wave energy machines.
Andrew Stead, director of business development at ATP Innovations and co-founder of Sydney Angels, says Ignition Labs will initially take on five teams.
“We’ve rounded up a group of people who have start-up experience, especially in lean technology… We’re modeling it on Startmate,” Stead says.
“The mentor group will be involved over three months… The concept of the period of time is to create an absolute focus of the business.”
“The challenge of all start-ups is that there are lots of opportunities and places they could go, but this is about focusing them on one goal for the program, that proves the market to some extent.”
Mentors include Sydney Angels member Stuart Fox, DLA Piper partner Richard Horton, TM ventures director Tony Romagnino, and Neill Miller of Global Carbon Systems.
“It’s two-pronged. There will be the focus part – who they are, what problem do they solve and why are they better than what’s out there now,” Stead says.
“Then it’s about building the product, getting people to use it, changing the product, changing the market, etc. It’s about the market and the story.”
The three-month mentoring program will be followed by a two-week road show. Participants will spend one week in Australia and one week in San Francisco.
“For some companies, it might not be appropriate [to go to the US]. They might have enough market here anyway… The aim is to get to an established point,” Stead says.
“[Ignition Labs is open to] early stage businesses with an idea that has some validation in the market, to a business that has possibly started making sales.”
“We’re asking for expressions of interest… to get a sense of the types of businesses that might be interested. Then there will be a more formal process,” he says.