The Australian start-up scene is set to receive another boost with the launch of a new mentor-driven investment fund, PushStart, which will offer a free year-round mentoring service.
It's a twist on the original model established by Y-combinator in Silicon Valley, where a handful of new web-based business ideas are nurtured via the finances and talents of a group of entrepreneurs that have successfully commercialised businesses.
Pushstart co-founder Kim Heras said the fund's investment terms would be comparable with Y-combinator and other similar funds like StartMate, the first Australian mentor-driven investment fund (launched last year), where founders invest $25,000 for a 7.5 per cent equity stake in a start-up.
Targeting technology servicing the web and mobile space, Pushstart will first launch in April with "the mentor collective": a year-round service which matches budding bootstrappers and start-ups with 50 tech entrepreneurs and businessmen.
The collective itself is open to any entrepreneurs, but they must be vouched for by two existing members and they must commit to providing time to the start-ups they're matched with.
Pushstart's Start-up Accelerator, which selects ideas to invest funds in and mentor, will then launch in the second half of 2011. The program will run for three months.
The fund is being announced today at the Sydstart networking event by Heras, who is the editor of start-up industry blog The Next Web. Heras also founded the Open Coffee networking event.
He co-founded Pushstart along with venture capitalist John Haining and technology executive Roger Kermode, who has previously worked for iPrime and Motorola.
Heras said Pushstart hopes the mentoring service will be just as useful despite not offering funding.
"While we understand the value in connecting local mentors, early stage investment and other start-ups in a highly focused accelerator program, we're also keen to see what happens if we iterate on that model, strip out the pure mentoring components and see what happens when we make that available, through a separate, complimentary service, 365 days a year to any start-up that asks for help."