Incubator works Melbourne start-up scene

A new Melbourne incubator called AngelCube will dish out a total of $80,000 seed funding to four start-ups, which were selected from a field of over 130 applicants.
Written by Mahesh Sharma, Correspondent

A new Melbourne incubator called AngelCube will dish out a total of $80,000 seed funding to four start-ups, which were selected from a field of over 130 applicants.

The first class of start-ups will be based out of the co-working space Inspire9, and they will also have access to a network of 30 successful entrepreneurs — including Leni Mayo from 99 Designs, as well as Guy King and Bevan Clark from RetailMeNot.

The four businesses selected for the three-month incubation program are: RentWant.com (location based, peer-to-peer rental platform); Lexim.com.au (SaaS learning management system for higher education); TestPilot.me (automated, continuous integration for Ruby); and Goodfil.ms (leveraging the social graph for better film reviews).

AngelCube takes a 10 per cent stake in each company. Fund manager Andrew Birt said that 15 companies were shortlisted, and that there was an emphasis on having a clear business model.

"We were blown away by the talent, passion and commitment of some of the teams — it made selecting just four incredibly difficult," Birt said.

"In the end, we had to take a portfolio approach — selecting a combination of B2B and B2C companies — with a bias to companies that were closest to revenue generation or clear exit paths."

The other co-founders are: CEO Andrew Stone (serial entrepreneur who exited his US and Australian companies in 2006); CTO Nathan Sampimon (founder of web development business and co-working office Inspire9); and CTO Richie Khoo, web developer.

The incubator's initial seed capital was provided by its directors and external funding sources. Stone said that AngelCube is about to close its first fund-raising round of $1 million.

In November, the start-ups will also pitch to members of the angel investor network Aurelius Digital.

"Our aim is to get these start-ups to a level where they can improve many aspects of their business, and talk comfortably to next-round investors," Stone said. "They need to be able to show traction, a clear path to revenue, affordable customer acquisition and that there's a logical acquirer one day in the future."

The companies

  • RentWant.com — location-based, peer-to-peer rental platform

    RentWant.com takes the familiar idea of peer-to-peer rentals, but adds a new twist: location. Using RentWant.com's mobile application, you can find household items to rent from people who live within 350m, 600m, 2km or 25km radius of your location. With peer-to-peer platforms like AirBNB, TaskRabbit and GetAround.com growing rapidly, RentWant.com is aiming to be the global go-to marketplace for renting idle assets.

  • Lexim.com.au — SaaS learning management system for higher education

    Universities, colleges and TAFEs all use Learning Management Systems (LMS) to distribute course materials and communicate with students; however, the systems are often outdated, expensive and difficult to use. Lexim is an SaaS-based alternative designed to be fun and easy to use for both students and teachers. Whilst the site's currently in closed Beta, the start-up has received many testimonials from teachers around the world ready to make the switch.

  • TestPilot.me — automated, continuous integration for Ruby

    When building software, most developers now use continuous integration servers (CI) to prevent bugs appearing in their code via real-time warnings. This saves a lot of time and heartache for developers. TestPilot.me is a simpler, easier way to do CI for one of the world's most popular languages, Ruby.

  • Goodfil.ms — leveraging the social graph for better film reviews

    Goodfil.ms is a film rating and review site that believes that the best recommendations for movies come from your friends, not from film critics. Goodfil.ms is based on the successful GoodReads.com, which has grown to over 3,000,000 monthly visitors and has become a vital marketing tool for publishers looking to reach influential readers. With sites like Flixster.com being purchased by Warner Brothers for $84 million in 2010, social film reviews have become big business for studios, cinemas and rental sites such as Netflix.com.

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