The Victorian government has spent more than $2.5 million to bring one of the largest startup accelerators in the world to Australian shores.
The investment in Silicon Valley-based accelerator program and VC firm 500 Startups comes from LaunchVic, the government’s $60 million innovation fund, and will see the organisation setting up a new program in Victoria, called 500 Melbourne.
The funding is the last to come from LaunchVic’s second round of grants. Neither party is revealing how much the state government will be providing the US-based company, but this seems a bit pointless given the total amount for the round already has been disclosed and some simple maths gives us the number.
LaunchVic’s second round of funding saw $4.9 million dished out to startup projects. The first funding grants announced at the end of January received a total of just under $2 million, meaning the Victorian Government has invested about $2.5 million in 500 Startups.
It is the first time LaunchVic has not directly disclosed how much money it is providing to one of its startup projects.
At least 40 Australian startups will participate in the 500 Melbourne program across two years, and 500 Startups will also provide access to its global network and illustrious list of Silicon Valley VCs.
This is the second global accelerator program to receive state government funding, with Startupbootcamp receiving $600,000 in LaunchVic’s first round of grants. These are the only international organisations to receive cash grants from the fund.
500 Startups is another in a long line of global tech firms opening up an Australian base in Melbourne, and Victorian minister for innovation Philip Dalidakis said it demonstrates the state’s dominance in the sector.
“500 Startups is one of the best accelerator programs in the world and that’s why we’re bringing it to Victoria – creating opportunities and jobs in our booming startup industry. This move is another vote of confidence in Victoria as a destination of choice for startup and tech investment across the Asia-Pacific,” Mr Dalidakis said.
500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure said the organisation already has a presence in Australia and is ready to expand its on-the-ground efforts.
“We’ve 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. We can’t wait to inspire more nerds like us to follow their entrepreneurial drive,” Mr McClure said.
LaunchVic has now handed out nearly $11.5 million in funding, with a focus on projects serving the wider community rather than providing cash to specific startups.
The independent government body is currently on the hunt for a new chair after embattled Australia Post boss Ahmed Fahour resigned last month. LaunchVic also lost its CEO last year, with Kate Cornick taking on the role at the start of this year.