Techstars, the global ecosystem that empowers entrepreneurs to bring new technologies to market, has announced the launch of its first Asia-Pacific based accelerator in Australia – Techstars Adelaide.
Techstars Adelaide is designed to support early-stage companies advancing state-of-the-art applications in Internet of things (IoT), big data, sensors and robotics, with potential to developing and commercialising technologies connected to the defence and security sectors.
Located in Adelaide, the state capital of South Australia, the program will connect 10 startup teams from all over the world to an established network of community leaders, founders, mentors, investors, and corporate partners including seven of the world’s top defence industry companies: BAE, Thales, Austal, SAAB, ASC, Rheinmetall and DCNS.
Techstars co-founder and co-CEO David Cohen said: “Defence research has driven some of the most transformative consumer innovation the world has seen, from the internet and GPS to superglue and digital photography. We are excited to invite entrepreneurs to join a program that will help them develop and commercialise cutting-edge products in collaboration with the defence industry.”
What do entrepreneurs have to gain from Techstars?
Companies selected for the program will gain access to some of the most advanced technologies and research through our partners. They will also collaborate with accomplished leaders working to advance the capabilities of a host of technologies being developed by the defence and security industries.
Adelaide is poised to become a global centre of excellence for the defence sector with over AU$100 billion worth of major industry projects in the pipeline. Recent investment in innovation in South Australia includes an AU$230m Centre for Defence Industry Capability backed by the Australian Federal Government.
Mr Cohen said Adelaide is attractive for far more than just its status as a global defence hub.
“When we were scouting Asia Pacific for potential locations for our first accelerator in the region, we knew we wanted to find a place that would not only attract terrific founders, but also had all the hallmarks of a successful Techstars host city. We started in Boulder, Colorado, and have seen it develop into a major North American startup hub – so we know that Techstars can play a major role in building great startup eco-systems.
“Adelaide fits the bill perfectly. Not only is it ranked by the Economist Intelligence Unit as the fifth most liveable city in the world, it has been recognised by the G20 for its coordinated support for entrepreneurship. It is a tech-forward city that is building sophisticated infrastructure for startups. Last year it became the first international ‘GigCity’, and Cisco’s only ‘Lighthouse City’ for innovation in Australia,” he said.
Companies entering Techstars Adelaide will receive mentorship from a panel of globally recognised technology and business experts. It will be led by an Australian-based Managing Director, currently being recruited.
Defence industry collaboration opportunities will be supported by Techstars Adelaide corporate partners, including BAE, Thales, Austal, SAAB, ASC, Rheinmetall and DCNS.
South Australia’s Manufacturing and Innovation Minister, Kyam Maher, said Techstars Adelaide would provide an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to showcase their wares on a global level and attract the best talent to the state.
“We welcome the fact that Techstars has picked Adelaide as the home for its first Asia-Pacific based accelerator program. On the back of our Gig City and Commercialisation Funding initiatives, it shows we are succeeding in our mission to position South Australia as the default place for smart new businesses to start and grow. By attracting the best talent to South Australia, supporting entrepreneurship and building local businesses, we are growing the economy and creating jobs,” he said.
Applications for Techstars Adelaide are open, with submissions closing on 9 April 2017. The program is slated to kick off in July.