Four firms selected for Victoria’s new scaleup program


Brandon How
Reporter

The Victorian government-backed Cremorne Digital Hub has announced the four digital technology companies that will participate in its inaugural scaleup program, bringing global talent into the local innovation ecosystem.

Each participant will get access to $50,000 worth of services over six months, which will be delivered in partnership with accelerator program provider Boab, a subsidiary of Victoria-based Artesian Ventures.

Three of the four firms are based overseas, which Cremorne Digital Hub (CDH) chief executive Peter Osborne told InnovationAus.com is important to develop a “vibrant and energetic, top of the class ecosystem”.

“Everyone benefits, we’re attracting international businesses that are widely recognised for their expertise to set up shop locally,” Mr Osborne said.

Cremore Digital Hub chief executive Peter Osborne. Image: LinkedIn

CDH has received a $10 million investment from the Victorian government and has received several other financial commitments from consortium partners Artesian, REA Group, CAR Group (parent company of carsales), the University of Melbourne, La Trobe University, RMIT University and the Kangan Institute.

Artesian has also established a $50 million Cremorne Venture Fund to help commercialise technologies developed at the CDH.

The scaleup program itself is unstructured, with the $50,000 worth of services tailored to the needs of the participating scaleup, helping to provide access to capabilities that small to medium sized businesses may not have in-house.

Victorian-based Larki provides a 3D laser scan data and SaaS platform to help streamline processes for architecture, permits approvals, and construction.

Two firms are headquartered in Asia: Singapore-based CADS, which is developing a personalised online learning and workforce development platform, and Hong Kong-based FCC Analytics, which is developing a natural language processing platform for anti-money laundering and identity verification.

The final participant in the scale up program is Zepic, which provides software for hyper-personalised, multi-channel customer engagement experiences.

Mr Osborne believes that helping international companies to start and expand a Victorian presence will not only create jobs in the local digital industry, but provide a valuable experience to “people coming out of universities or in the early-stage of their career who…can really flex their intellectual and their skills muscle”.

“It’s like any endeavour or business, when you have a team or a group of teams that raise the bar, everyone benefits from it,” he said.

The scaleup program received 40 applications from companies based around the world, with the CDH selecting the four companies with the greatest commercial potential.

While there were “a couple of other companies” based locally that missed out on participation in this cohort of the program, Mr Osborne said the CDH could “engage with them and offer our help outside of the scaleup program”.

Mr Osborne formally began as chief executive of CDH in January after serving in several Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe and United States-based tech companies. This included nearly three years as the director of innovation and startup programs at the Massachusetts office of electronics giant Philips.

During his time as an expat, Mr Osborne observed an incredible “level of enthusiasm that Australia has to catch up and present itself as best in class…but there just seemed occasionally to be a little something missing, something that wasn’t quite igniting that fuel of potential”.

“I think what we do from the CDH where we connect the major pieces of the ecosystem all together and sit in that beautiful crossroads between industry scale ups, venture capital, education partners, and government agenda, really sets us apart and gives us an opportunity to create a great deal of value,” Mr Osborne said.

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