Techstars to make Tech Central Sydney home after govt subsidy

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

One of the world’s largest pre-seed investors, Techstars, will move into Sydney’s Tech Central district and run its flagship accelerator program for emerging technology companies after receiving a three-year support package from the state government.

The US-headquartered Techstars offers its accelerator programs in several cities around the world and has graduated more than 3000 companies with a collective market cap of nearly US$97 billion, according to the company.

From the middle of this year, it will operate its flagship mentorship-driven Accelerator Program from Tech Central to service the Asia-Pacific region.

The program is being subsidised by the New South Wales government until 2025, when Techstars is expected to continue operating the accelerator program without state support.

Terms of the government support package, including its total value are unclear, with Investment NSW declining to provide further information due to “commercial in confidence” reasons.

Sydney’s Tech Central district. Image: Investment NSW

The accelerator group’s previous forays into Australia include a defence focused program in Adelaide and a sports tech accelerator in Melbourne. However, the Australian-based programs are open to participants from around the world, drawing criticism about the value to the local startup scene.

Only one of the 10 companies Techstar backed out of its Melbourne sports tech accelerator this year was from Australia.

The new Techstars Tech Central Sydney Accelerator will focus on seed and early-stage founders who working in artificial intelligence, fintech, advanced manufacturing, cloud computing, robotics, cyber security, quantum computing, creative tech, and climate tech, according to the government announcement on Monday.

Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade Alister Henskens said landing Techstar at the Sydney innovation district is “a major coup for Tech Central”.

“Already home to global powerhouses such as Atlassian, Canva, ROKT and Safety Culture, Tech Central will support the growth of next generation cutting-edge companies with the addition of Techstars, one of the largest pre-seed investors in the world,” Mr Henskens said.

“Techstars graduates include 20 $1bn+ companies, startups that went on to raise millions of dollars, employ thousands of people and list publicly on stock exchanges around the world.”

Since appointing Maëlle Gavet as chief executive in 2021, Techstars has pushed further into international locations, establishing programs in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

“Techstars firmly believes anyone, anywhere can be a world-changing entrepreneur,” Ms Gavet said.

“From our location in Tech Central, founders will have the opportunity to participate in an accelerator program that will build upon their entrepreneurial skills, help them find product market fit, and uncover innovative solutions that can make lasting impact across the community.”

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