Telstra nabs Pollenizer's Liubinskas for Muru-D accelerator

The lines between corporations and startups continue to blur, with one renowned startup advocate taking on a position within Telstra.
Written by Michael Lee, Contributor

Pollenizer co-founder Mick Liubinskas has moved on from the startup incubator that he has spent the past five and a half years building, taking on a corporate-sponsored accelerator program instead.

Liubinskas explains the arguably out-of-character tangent into the corporate world in a blog post on Pollenizer's website, expressing his initial doubts over Telstra's Muru-D accelerator program, but saying he believes it can be successful.

Muru-D is a six-month accelerator program for up to 10 startups. It provides AU$40,000, a workspace (which includes a gym), and access to Telstra experts and networking in return for a 6 percent equity stake. It is currently open for its first intake.

Rather than seeing himself as a Telstra employee, Liubinskas said he is the second team member for Muru-D. The creation of another accelerator comes shortly after PushStart closed the doors to its.

At the time, PushStart founder Kim Heras said he would soon be joining a commercially driven initiative, but has since confirmed that it is not Muru-D.

Liubinskas believes that another accelerator is a great initiative for the Australian startup industry, stating that the more organisations can invest, the better it is for everyone.

"We need, and I hope we get, dozens more companies like Pollenizer, Startmate, Fishburners, Blue Chilli, and need every large company participating to make a strong industry," he wrote.

More corporations are taking an interest in startups than ever. Optus has its own Innov8 program and it sponsors the co-working space Fishburners; the Commonwealth Bank created its own startup to develop its MyWealth platform; and ANZ has the Innovyz "Start" program.

Although his newest challenge will see him focus more on the Telstra-backed program, Liubinskas will remain on the board of Pollenizer and startups Oomph and WooBoard. He will also stay on as a mentor of StartMate and Founder Institute, and continue to talk about his passion around focus.

In the meantime, although Liubinskas now wears a corporate security badge, he jokes that he won't wear a tie anytime soon, preferring to hang on to his Threadless shirts.

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