Successful Silicon Valley accelerator “Acceleprise” has announced it is expanding to Melbourne in early 2018, and will be Chaired by serial founder and Catapult Sports Executive Chairman Dr. Adir Shiffman. It will be operated by Executive Director Rohit Bhargava, founder of the popular Startup Playbook Podcast and owner of growth agency Playbook Media.
Like its US partner, the Australian accelerator will focus specifically on Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies targeting corporate and enterprise clients. Applications for the Acceleprise Australia program are now open, with the first cohort to launch in February 2018. The Australian program includes one month co-located in the San Francisco Acceleprise working space alongside US startups. It aims to to invest in 30 to 40 startups over the next 3 years.
The local startup ecosystem has produced a wave of global enterprise and B2B SaaS startups, creating perhaps the most successful Aussie and Kiwi category of tech companies. Companies such as Atlassian, Xero, Aconex, Wisetech, and Catapult are all prime examples of this phenomenon and are now valued at hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. There are also dozens of private SaaS startups in Australasia valued at over $10m.
What is Acceleprise out to achieve in Australia?
“We see a tremendous opportunity to leverage this national and regional competitive advantage by focusing on accelerating high-potential enterprise SaaS startups”, said Chairman Dr. Adir Shiffman, who will be an active mentor and has founded over a dozen startups.
Since its establishment in 2014, US-based Acceleprise has invested in over 60 startups, creating hundreds of jobs and is delivering strong returns to its investors. It recently raised a further US$7m fund to invest in startups and also opened an accelerator in New York City.
Acceleprise Australia was more than a year in the making, and is a partnership that will build on the success achieved by founder Mr. Michael Cardamone and Acceleprise General Partner Ms. Whitney Sales. Acceleprise Managing Director, Michael Cardamone said: “It’s become apparent that the SaaS ecosystem is rapidly expanding across the globe. Supporting early stage entrepreneurs in growing SaaS markets like Australia is the best thing we can do to help in building the global SaaS ecosystem and the next generation of great SaaS companies.”
Prior to Acceleprise Mr. Cardamone was an early employee at Box.net. Ms. Sales in a highly experienced SaaS VP of Sales and has been a mentor at well-known angel Jason Calacanis’ Launch program.
Acceleprise Australia is focused squarely on accelerating a select group of “early traction” companies to help them achieve long-term competitive differentiation and global success, with the initial cohort based in Melbourne.
What can startups gain from Acceleprise?
The four-month program will provide startups with $75,000 in funding, free workspace, a range of services such as legal and accounting, one month in the San Francisco accelerator alongside US enterprise SaaS startups, and unmatched expert mentoring both in Australia and the US.
Each startup will also have the chance to present at the large and established Acceleprise US investor demo day, as well as an Australian investor demo day. The program is open to any enterprise (or B2B) SaaS startup with some traction, located in Australia, New Zealand, and SE Asia, provided they are located in Melbourne for the program.
“These startups will benefit greatly from expert guidance on how to scale effectively, particularly into international markets, and access to client introductions to build their revenue”, explained Acceleprise Australia Executive Director Rohit Bhargava.
To this end the accelerator has recruited an unprecedented group of successful mentors to deliver these outcomes. They will provide their time to the startups free of charge and include: several startup founders who have built $50m+ companies, a number of C-level enterprise SaaS executives, and at least one ASX-20 CEO and CIO. Further details on the specific mentors will be provided in January 2018, as well as information on the corporate sponsors who are participating.
“Acceleprise Australia provides startups with an authentic Silicon Valley and US gateway, which is a major asset for these early traction startups”, said Dr. Shiffman. “I’ve personally been involved in the pain of scaling enterprise SaaS companies globally, and I would have loved to have had this support and access. Together with our outstanding mentors and our US partner, we believe that Acceleprise Australia can materially improve a startup’s chances of achieving international scale and dominance. That is our aim”.
The program is now open for applications through the Acceleprise website and AngelList.