US startup accelerator MassChallenge to reach Australian soil with govt funding

The Australian federal government have paid AU$280,000 (about $218,867.60) to bring MassChallenge, a US-based non-profit startup accelerator, to the country, according to a report.

That is only a portion of the overall funding amount for a bridge to the MassChallenge programme, said a spokesperson, who declined to disclose how much the accelerator is raising. Other contributors include the South Australian government and Microsoft. The accelerator programme is still looking for more supporters to help, having raised over AU$500,000 for the bridge so far.

MassChallenge, which will partner with Microsoft Australia in assisting local companies accelerate their businesses through its network of mentors, workshops and competitions, will not take any stake in the startups that participate in its accelerator programme.

“Accelerators are an important component of the ecosystem and boost the skills of participating startups through training, mentoring, and exposure to investor networks,” said Christopher Pyne, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

Pyne added, “That is the kind of opportunity we want to create for startups here in Australia whilst also helping upskill the Australia innovation ecosystem.”

The minister also said that accelerator will help “high-potential startups realise their economic potential and global ambitions”. He also believes that MassChallenge will be able to provide startups with access to additional capital and networks.

The accelerator claims to have helped 835 startups raise $1.1 billion in funding and create 6,500 direct jobs, it said in a release. “Their impact is truly impressive, and I am very glad we can bring their experience here to Australia,” said Pip Marlow, managing director, Microsoft Australia.

“We are so excited to work with Microsoft and governments within Australia to support entrepreneurs​ and connect them with our global network across the U.S., Europe, Israel, Latin America​, and beyond,” said Mike LaRhette, President at MassChallenge.

LaRhette added, “This allows us to gain a valuable connection to the thriving startup scene in Australia and we’re looking forward to working with key players here to exchange best practices and help the ecosystem to flourish.”

Launched in April 2009 in Boston, the accelerator has expanded globally, having opened offices in the UK, Israel, Switzerland and Mexico.

The Australian government has become increasingly supportive of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country, as it established its Landing Pads initiative last year to give market-ready startups a chance to go global.The Landing Pads programme will be hosted in five metropolitan cities — starting with San Francisco and Tel Aviv — where participants can go for a collaborative workspace within an established startup accelerator for up to 90 days, the government agency said.

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.