Sydney deep tech incubator Cicada Innovations takes out global award for top incubator

Cicada Innovations

Kirstie Chadwick, inBIA president, Britt Hartnett, Cicada Innovations business programs manager, and Jamie Coughlin, inBIA Chair. Source: Supplied.

An Australian “super incubator” has been given the  “Top Incubator in the World” award by the International Business Innovation Association (InBIA), cinching the title from more than 2200 other global competitors.

Founded in 2000 in Sydney, Cicada Innovations provides incubator services for the country’s deep tech entrepreneurs across industries such as medical, engineering, and IT web sciences. The incubator was conceived by four Sydney-based universities and has more than 70 companies and 400 entrepreneurs working out of its premises.

Companies that have gone through Cicada between 2015-2017 have raised over $110 million in capital, and the incubator’s largest disclosed acquisition was $344 million.

Applicants to the InBIA awards were ranked across their economic and social impact, with the global entrepreneurship body considering things such as the number of startup exits, investment money received, and the number of new products and services launched. Cicada was the only Australian incubator in the running.

“Our primary point of difference at Cicada is our program-driven leadership in deep technologies. These science-based innovations create solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing our planet today, such as food security, climate change, and an aging population,” Petra Andrén, Cicada Innovations chief executive, said in a statement.

“Being program-driven and taking a ‘create, validate, and incubate’ approach allows us to provide longer-term support until our promising startups reach scale-up phase, which can take many years.”

Cicada was also labelled as a “super hub” by InBIA, meaning the incubator successfully blends together “several models” of entrepreneurial growth to support its founders with various different services.

According to venture capital firm Artesian, a study of publically available information from November last year ranked Cicada as the 11th most active incubator or accelerator in Australia.

“Innovation is doing things differently and doing them better,” Australia’s chief scientist Alan Finkel AO said in a statement.

“Cicada is an innovator amongst incubators, doing it differently through their programs to attract the best commercialisable ideas, and doing it better by using alumni and industry experts to provide business, legal and financial acumen to the founders to support their validated scientific ideas.”

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