Optus commits to help fund 10 Aussie startups

In the latest round of its seed funding program, Optus has shortlisted 10 Aussie startups in a bid to help them find pre-series A-round funding, and will contribute AU$250,000 of its own to kick things off.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Optus has selected 10 Australian startups that it will put through the second season of its Innov8 seed funding program.

The program attracted over 92 startups, each of which had to sit through a 34-question application and provide an investor presentation. Each application was reviewed by a team of at least three different team members, and those that did make it to Optus' shortlist were scrutinised by at least seven team members.

Optus will invest up to AU$250,000 into startups that emerge out of its program, but is aiming to make this money travel farther by co-investing with other early stage investors, to bring the total funding round to between AU$400,000 and AU$900,000. It would be equivalent to what Optus calls "pre-Series A-round funding".

In addition, it will offer three months of rent at co-working spaces in Melbourne's York Butter Factory and Sydney's Fishburners, which it also sponsors.

Optus acknowledged that applying for its program can be a bit of a "time sink" for startups that are frantically working to get their product or service to at least a minimum viable product stage, but empathised with founders. Optus said it is a good opportunity for entrepreneurs to see what their business looks like through investors eyes, and to help craft a pitch.

It's a concern that has been raised before by personal finance startup Pocketbook. Last year, founders Bosco Tan and Alvin Singh told ZDNet that it's difficult to know which programs and accelerators to invest the time in, so that their pitch is most effective and they don't neglect their existing customers.

Fortunately, Optus' program is one that they applied for, and Pocketbook is now among one of the 10 shortlisted startups that will receive funding.

Joining them are:

  • Shiftr

  • Kinderloop

  • MooresCloud

  • Ollo Mobile

  • Good Call

  • Recruit Loop

  • Stackla

  • Storyberg

  • OrionVM.

These startups will now go on to participate in Optus' pitch day next week.

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