A new seed fund dubbed "Startmate" has just opened its doors and is looking to dole out funding packages and mentoring.
The fund has been created by Homethinking founder Niki Scevak, who has also been instrumental in the genesis of a number of other start-ups such as the BookmarkBox. Former Realestate.com.au chief Simon Baker is also involved, as well as the two founders of local firm Atlassian Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar. Atlassian itself recently took $60 million in funding from US venture capitalist firm Accel Partners.
Also in on the gig are Bart Jellema, who recently sold his company Tjoos; Ryan Junee, whose company Omnisio was bought by YouTube; Mick Liubinskas, the co-founder of local start-up consultancy Pollenizer; Phaedon Stough, the managing partner of recruiter MitchelLake; and Bill Bartee, a general partner at Southern Cross Venture Partners.
The group has opened its doors to applications (including video pitches) from entrepreneurs looking for funding to start their own companies. It will dole out a handful of investments of $25,000 to get start-ups off the ground, representing 7.5 per cent of each company's equity.
However, Startmate's ultimate aim is to provide a great deal of mentoring support to the start-ups, through its panel of experienced entrepreneurs. And it's even offering free legal advice from high-profile law firm DLA Phillips Fox.
It follows a similar model to other programs in the US like TechStars and Y Combinator. Applications are due by the end of November, and those who are successful will be enmeshed in a three-month program in Sydney from January 2011 through April, involving mentoring and events. The aim of this will be to help start-ups develop their business model and win their first customers.
The culmination of the project will be two demonstration days: one in Sydney and one in Silicon Valley in the US, where the start-ups will pitch their products in front of potential investors.