$10m funding boost for Queensland tech startups

A joint initiative between the University of Queensland’s ilab incubator and Artesian Capital Management is set to pump AU$10 million into the state’s early stage tech startup scene.

The University of Queensland's ilab incubator and Artesian Capital Management are set to throw AU$10 million into supporting the state's early stage high tech startup companies, with a new joint initiative that is set to begin operating later this year.

The fund is a joint initiative of the ilab incubator, a division of the the University of Queensland's commercialisation arm, UniQuest, and Artesian Capital Management, along with support from the Queensland government.

Queensland's Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts Ian Walker said that the state government could continue supporting the fund until 2019, referring to ilab as one of the state's success stories.

"One of the big issues for our startups is getting that all-important early stage support to assist them in developing into investment-ready companies," he said. "It [ilab] has incubated more than 100 start-up companies since 2000, helping them raise more than AU$70 million in grant and investment capital to fund their growth, and generating nearly 400 technology jobs."

The fund will be managed by Artesian, while ilab will select and guide the startup companies through its operational programs, facilities and networks.

UniQuest chief Dean Moss said the funding agreement was a strong endorsement of the ilab program and would enable selected local startups to overcome early stage obstacles.

"It is a way to further bolster Queensland-based innovation and continue to source and guide these early stage companies through the difficult initial business validation stages and subsequently helping them look to global markets," said Moss.

Artesian Venture's Jeremy Colless believes that ilab had developed "robust" processes for attracting, screening and mentoring young businesses in Queensland, and said it was positive to see the incubator expanding its expertise to regional Queensland as well.

"With that pedigree, ilab is producing start-ups that are developing a steady stream of highly scalable businesses that are attractive to investors," said Colless. "As a result of ilab's successes and expansion, we are excited to be building a AU$10 million tax-effective fund to invest in ilab's startups at all critical stages of their development.

"This will provide important support to Queensland's early stage startup businesses, as well as unparalleled opportunities to invest in the burgeoning Queensland tech startup community," he said.