KPMG Australia and Australian global innovation network, Advance, the largest network of high achieving Australians and alumni of Australian universities worldwide, recently launched the 2016 elevate61 accelerator, opening up applications to tech start-ups ready to conquer the US market.
First launched in 2015 following two years of Advance Australia-US innovation programs, the accelerator is the only Australian program to focus on later-stage ventures in the enterprise space.
Last year’s participants ranged from fast-growing marketing and ad-tech startups such as FiveFaces to more established technology companies looking to launch new products or services to the US, such as SimPRO Group.
What is elevate61 all about?
Participants join intensive workshops and receive one-on-one mentoring from KPMG and Advance mentors, followed by a 10-day programmed visit to San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York City.
Three days of intensive workshops to help companies refine their value proposition, identify their target market and further develop their ability to effectively reach and sell to potential clients, partners and investors.
The tour is a highly immersive and interactive experience featuring workshops with key players in the technology sector and startup eco-system, and the opportunity to learn from Australian founders who have experimented, sometimes failed, learned and eventually found success in the US.
During a packed 2015 elevate61 tour, amongst other activities participants honed their design thinking with renowned consultancy IDEO, heard from the Intuit team how they transformed their approach to innovation and revitalised their business, learned how a small start-up can grow to a US$635 million acquisition from OpenDNS, and engaged with top VCs at Accel Partners.
Out of nine start-ups who returned from the tour in May this year, two are in the process of opening US offices, and others are in the process of restructuring their business and strategy for international expansion.
Bridging the gap from Australia to Silicon Valley
Serafina Maiorano, Global CEO of Advance, said, “When it comes to entering the US, It is not as simple as booking a ticket and turning up at a Silicon Valley mixer. Australian start-ups can most definitely not afford to be under-networked, under-prepared and over-there.”
“elevate61 exists to help Australian start-ups hack international expansion. By working with the most promising enterprise tech start-ups, and giving them the support, insight and access they need to break into the world’s largest technology market.
“By harnessing the influence, knowledge, and networks of our globally successful Aussies in the US, alongside our important strategic alliance with KPMG Australia, we hope to foster the next generation of global Australian companies in Australia.”
James Mabbott, Head of KPMG Innovate said, “Beyond working with individual companies, elevate61 aims to up skill the entire startup eco-system.”
“Becoming a globally successful startup does not necessarily mean having to relocate overseas. But it does mean having a global mindset and an understanding of how to successfully sell into international markets.”
“From our first program, we’ve learned that is not the quality of technology or product that is holding back Australian startups from international expansion – it is a lack of market specific insight and know-how.
“Now more than ever there is capital and clients on the table for Australian startups in the US market, and elevate61 helps them take advantage of this massive opportunity.”
Who should sign up for elevate61?
The program is targeted at later stage start-ups – post-seed funded, technology enabled, enterprise start-ups who are currently experiencing or preparing for rapid growth in Australia and are ready to expand to the US.
Ideally, applicants will have secured seed funding of at least A$100,000, have proven traction in the local or overseas markets, with preference given to startups that have annual revenues in the region of A$500,000.
Startups kick off the process by applying online, with applications closing 14 December 2015. The selection process involves completing an online form at www.elevate61.com.au, followed by interviews with specialists, and a face-to-face selection panel interview.
Unlike the traditional accelerator model, elevate61 does not seek equity in participants or provide funding directly but over the past years, 55 start-ups and more than 100 entrepreneurs have already benefited from Advance’s Innovation programs.