What do ANZ Innovyz START companies receive?
Your company will receive $20,000 (assuming a team of 3 full time team members). You also get great perks such as free hosting and services, a nice place to work, and a lot more. The cost of the program is almost $1 Million for 10 companies, and the value of the perks is about $500K per program. So that’s $1.5 Million, PLUS the mentoring, advice, connections, and PR you’ll receive when your company is selected for our ANZ Innovyz START program. Add to that the opportunity to pitch to angel investors, venture capitalists and other investors during Investor Day at the end of the program, and you can see the value of this program.
What sorts of companies do you accept?
We accept companies with innovations that are globally relevant, and have the capacity to transform their industry category. For this program we are accepting applications from companies focused on web, mobile and software. We’re looking for companies that can grow big, fast. Please note that we don’t accept biotechnology companies, restaurants, consultancies, or other local service oriented companies. You can find out about the companies that have succesfully graduated from our accelerator program here.
Who’s behind the program and why are you doing this?
We are serial entrepreneurs who truly enjoy helping start ups grow fast. We think that in this new century, Australia will be the place to be! More About Us
ANZ is supporting this program because it wants to encourage and foster more entrepreneurship and innovation in Australia. ANZ is committed to the Australian small business sector and is a strong supporter of the start-up segment. The bank believes this program will accelerate the growth and development of start-up companies by giving the founders support, mentoring, expertise and funding to grow and commercialise their business.
Do you accept companies that are competitive with each other?
Not in the same class/program.
Why are you asking for stock in my company?
We, like you, are entrepreneurs. We believe the mentoring, learning, networking, and coaching provided by the program is of tremendous value. The ANZ Innovyz START program will provide you with knowledge, insights and connections that will significantly improve your chances for success and sustained growth. As an investor, we are very motivated to help you succeed. We’ll introduce you to people who can help, assist you with strategy, find more investors, and generally help you any way we can. That’s a good deal for both of us.
The ANZ Innovyz START program almost sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?
There’s no catch. We are members of the Global Accelerator Network, and we modelled our program after TechStars, who created the Network. We have successfully graduated twenty companies in one year and are looking for the next ten! You can check out the videos from our recent Summer 2013 accelerator program here.
Is my company “too far along” to apply?
We are interested in helping innovative companies grow. We expect to receive a lot of applications from start-up and early stage businesses, but if you can benefit from the program, the mentors, and the connections, and if you have a great innovation and an appetite for growth, then please apply. We add value to companies with developed products by helping them with their business model, culture, team, infrastructure, introductions, financing, and more. And we add value to early stage companies by helping them shape the products, pick the most appropriate markets, build their teams, and develop viable business models.
I’m thinking of emailing some of the mentors and telling them about what we’re doing.
The mentors are not involved in the selection process. They work with the companies we select. Please don’t contact them by email. It won’t advance your application, you’ll really annoy them, and they’ll complain to us.
Can I stop by your office to say hello?
Please don’t drop by our offices without an appointment. If you want to meet with us, please contact us, and leave a message that you’d like to make an appointment and tell us what you’d like to talk about. That way we’ll know who the best person to meet with you is.
Do I have to be there for the entire 3 month period?
Yes, we expect you to be in Adelaide, and to be working on your company, on site, during the program. This will enable you to take advantage of the learning opportunities, networking, mentoring and coaching that occurs each day. You will have 24 hour access to our accelerator so you can work as long as you want each day, night and even on week-ends. Three months is not a long time, and this is a unique opportunity for you to be able to focus, full-time, on your company and work with great mentors. ANZ Innovyz START is making a major commitment to you and your company, and we expect you to do the same.
Do I have to stay in that city when the program ends after 3 months?
No. It’s your company, and you can live where you want. But experience suggests that many founders choose to stay, after the program ends. They often rent space with other companies that were in the program. The friendships formed among founders, mentors and program staff are deep and last a lifetime.
Can I apply if our company or founders are not from the Australia? Can you help with Visa/immigration issues?
Yes. Anyone from any country can apply, as long as he/she is fluent in English. You don’t need a visa to apply, but you will need one if you are accepted into the program. After you are accepted into the ANZ Innovyz START program, we will provide the information you need and help with any legal/immigration issues you might have.
What else does Innovyz START provide? Office space, internet, legal, hosting, etc.?
We provide the office space, tables, chairs, working and meeting spaces, as well as a nice lounge, all with super-fast and reliable wireless Internet access, right in the middle of the Adelaide CBD. Here’s a list of perks that ANZ Innovyz START companies are entitled to. We want you to be able to focus on creating a great product while you’re here, and not have to worry about anything else.
Can you tell me more about the networking and educational opportunities?
Several times a week, we will organise an informal dinner and invite our mentors to speak on a relevant topic. The sessions will be about topics that are highly relevant to growth companies and will be presented by highly successful entrepreneurs, angel investors, legal experts, venture capitalists, bankers, and so forth. Sometimes, we’ll organize a brief talk with Q&A by a CEO or CTO of a well-known local start up. We’ll even venture out to some of these companies and do the session there. Generally speaking, they’ll be in the early evening. All of these sessions will be very informal, and you’ll have time to interact with the mentors and presenters, personally.
How can we get funded after the ANZ Innovyz START program ends?
We provide a great environment and a lot of resources to help you get started and grow, but you’ll likely need more funding to keep growing. On the last day of the program, we have our Demo Day where angel investors, venture capitalists, and sophisticated individual investors will come, listen to your pitch, talk with you and check out your product and your technology. A significant number of investors will be there. We’ll coach you ahead of time and help you develop an effective presentation, and we’ll do everything we can to help you get follow on funding. But there are no guarantees. Some companies have secured millions, and others have not gotten any additional funding. It all depends on your ability to pitch, the quality of your team, and the speed at which you can grow your markets and customer base.
What if my company doesn’t ultimately succeed?
As you know, very few people get accepted to these kinds of programs, so the fact that you did is an important data point. And the contacts with mentors, other founders and other smart and well-connected people can be very useful in the next chapter of your life – whatever that may be.
What sort of control am I giving up by granting equity to Innovyz START?
Innovyz START wants to be viewed as a co-founder. We expect to have all the same rights as any other founder, relative to our minority ownership position. In a nutshell, we don’t want any special or controlling interests in your company. We won’t ask for a board seat or for any uncommon investor rights. You are still in charge and responsible for the success of the company. We’re there to provide knowledge, advice and support; you’ll need to “make it happen”.
I’m a single founder. Can I get accepted into Innovyz START, or do you only look for teams?
Experience suggests that companies with a single founder are less likely to succeed than those with multiple founders – because there’s much more to growth than a single person can do. We look for great, balanced teams with a full range of skills. If you’re a single founder, we strongly advise you to seek co-founders who balance your skill set before you apply – and definitely before applications close. For example, if you’re a strong developer, you might consider adding someone with business and/or marketing experience. On the other hand, if you’re a great business evangelist with no developer, you’ll need to find a great developer co-founder before applications close. Having a solid and committed team, of at least three, is critical!
My team outsources software development. Can we still apply?
We’re happy to consider an application from any company that meets our criteria. Just remember that the quality of the team is a major factor in our selection of companies for the program.
Where will we live while we’re there?
That’s up to you – we don’t provide a place to live. If you’re accepted into the ANZ Innovyz START program, one of our program staff will send you information about housing options. We’ll be happy to help, as needed, but you need to find your own housing.
Is my age a factor in your selection process?
The age of founders selected for our accelerator program range from 25-40+ years old, but younger founders and older founders are welcome to apply, as long as the company and the team meet our criteria
How do you choose which companies to accept into the program and to fund?
We will choose great founders who are proposing products that solve real problems or create meaningful break-through innovations. As we’ve said before, the team is critically important. If you want to strengthen your application, be sure to:
- Round out your team with business, technical, and other necessary skills.
- Make progress on your prototype or product and reference progress in the application.
- Show us you’ve really thought about your business, have actually talked with customers, and have something that’s worth the investment we’ll be making if we select you for the ANZ Innovyz START program.
Do I need to send in a business plan?
No. All we ask is that you complete our online application. At this point we do not want to see your business plan.
When is the deadline to apply and what’s the overall timeline?
Check the schedule for details. Once you have submitted your application you won’t be able to go in and edit the fields, but the application page allows you to add notes, video URLs, and details about your progress in the notes section. This way we can see the progress you are making in your thinking or development of the product.
Where is the ANZ Innovyz START workspace located and what’s it like?
We’re located in the central business district of Adelaide SA Australia. We’ll have a large open office where all the companies are co-located, a small kitchen, lounge, and private meeting rooms for conversations with mentors, customers, and each other. Adelaide is a beautiful city with friendly people, many parks, restaurants and coffee shops, a bustling mall, good public transportation, three universities, half hour from the beach and one hour from three world-famous wine regions: Barossa, Clare, and McLaren-Vale.
What will a typical day be like for an ANZ Innovyz START founder?
Since you only have three months to jump-start your company, you’ll be working hard on your product every day, just like all of the other founders in the program. You’ll be spending most of your time at the ANZ Innovyz START facility, working quietly in the shared workspace on your product, doing market research on the web, or talking with the program director, your team, and your mentors in the meeting rooms. Two or three nights a week, we’ll organise informal education and networking sessions with our mentors. We will have a lot of mentors working with companies during the first month of the program, but we’ll also have mentors coming in during the second and third months of the program. By the end of the first month, we expect you to have identified two or three mentors you’d like to have as “lead mentors” to work with you for the remainder of the program. Every week you’ll talk with your mentors via Skype, teleconferences and/or e-mail. We won’t tell you what to do, but we will provide some guidance regarding timelines for development, and we work hard to create an environment and find mentors that will help accelerating your growth. Watch these videos to get a sense of what it’s like to be a founder in an accelerator. You can also watch the Bloomberg videos of the New York TechStars accelerator to get a sense of what happens during the three months in a TechStars Accelerator. While ANZ Innovyz START is not Techstars, our program is patterned the same so hopefully this will give you a feel for how things might work.
Can I apply if I’m not from the Australia?
Yes, as long as you and your team can be in Australia, legally, for the three months of the program. While we expect a high proportion of applications to be from Australian companies, we’ve designed this program to be regionally and globally relevant, with mentors from several countries. In fact, our first applicant was from Italy!
I’m concerned that if I apply, you won’t protect my intellectual property.
Our application does not ask for your “secret sauce” and there is no reason for you to disclose this to us if you’re not comfortable doing so. Since we review hundreds of applications, some with similar ideas, we don’t sign NDAs. But understand that we’re not in the business of stealing ideas, and when the chips are down, the success of your company will depend as much on execution as it will the idea.
Do you ever offer internships to people interested in Innovyz START?
Yes, fill out our contact form if you are interested in being an Intern. Tell us why you are interested in being an intern and what value you could add to the program. We will contact you if we want more information or would like to interview you.