Incubator options for Australian startups will expand next month, with the announcement on Friday that “venture technology company” BlueChilli has acquired growth funding from early stage venture capital fund FCDF.
If the names BlueChilli and FCDF sound familiar it’s because BlueChilli is the venture of serial entrepreneur (and 30under30 veteran) Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin. FCDF is the product of another well-heeled player in the Australian startup scene, Domenic Carosa.
According to a media statement, “BlueChilli is currently launching a new online business every two months and has projections to increase this to one new start-up every month in 2012.”
It doesn’t require the prescience of, say, a Silicon Valley VC to second-guess why Carosa would be interested in this type of business, despite being quite vocal about his fund’s preference for revenue positive startups (or “upstarts” as he calls them).
The model is attractive to organisations at the earliest stages of development — nascent companies with ideas but without technology expertise. This model provides an obvious first rung to the FCDF ladder.
When asked yesterday about how much capital BlueChilli had acquired and the terms of the investment, Sebastien Eckersley-Maslisn elusively told Anthill, “Enough to invest in six new startups and launch two incubators.”
For most Australian business builders, this second purpose is the more exciting — the addition of two new physical locations for innovators to set-up shop, within a collegial environment, with the support of advisers (i.e. the incubator model).
The incubators will be located in Melbourne (or more likely in Richmond) and Sydney (most likely in the CBD).
Eckersley-Maslin says collaboration will be key, and a strong differentiator. And, unlike, most other incubators, participating startups will be able to work alongside and be able to “tap into the knowledge” of larger “upstarts” that have raised capital through FCDF.
“Every week, the CEOs will give their elevator pitch and state what they did the week before, what they plan to do this week and what they need a hand on. So, other CEOs will be able to offer support, contacts and assistance … and hold each other accountable for progress.”
“Every friday afternoon, BlueChilli will bring in influential speakers and provide beers. This will be open to everyone in the Aust startup scene.”
BlueChilli will be the only Australian private incubator with physical space in two states.