Best Startup Accelerators Australia 2024

startup Accelerators

Australia’s vibrant startup scene is complemented by a robust support system designed to foster innovation. Startups frequently turn to accelerators and incubators for a competitive edge, tapping into their wealth of knowledge and mentorship opportunities.

Before delving into our selection of the top 12 startup accelerators and incubators, let’s briefly explore some of the usual incentives behind participating in such programs.

Why join a startup accelerator?

There can be numerous advantages to enrolling in the short-term growth programs offered by startup accelerators and incubators including:

  1. Seed Capital: Many startup accelerators provide initial funding to support your business during its crucial early years in exchange for equity – usually via a SAFE Note.
  2. Startup focused training and workshops: These programs often offer intensive training sessions conducted by industry experts, equipping you with invaluable insights into the intricacies of running a successful business.
  3. Workspace Solutions: Some accelerators go the extra mile by offering dedicated office spaces or coworking environments, giving you an ideal setting to kickstart your venture.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Joining a cohort provides an excellent chance to connect with like-minded entrepreneurs and innovators, fostering valuable relationships. You can usually also tap into an extensive alumni network for ongoing support.
  5. Pitch and Demo Opportunities: Accelerators typically culminate in pitch or demo days, where you can showcase your startup to potential investors.

As thriving global startup hubs, cities like Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney attract entrepreneurs and investors from around the world. Explore the some of the best startup accelerators and incubators in Australia dedicated to empowering new startups on their path to success.

Exploring the Top 12 Startup Accelerators

1. Startmate: Startup Accelerator

Supported by some of Australia’s most accomplished venture capitalists, Startmate has provided funding for over 170 startups, resulting in a combined portfolio worth $2 billion. Their reputation is built on a commitment to supporting only those enterprises with genuine promise. Annually, they receive approximately 600 applications, from which they narrow down to a shortlist of 40, ultimately selecting 25 to back.

What they seek:

Startmate’s visionary founders are in search of equally ambitious entrepreneurs, with a focus on both tech and tech-enabled ventures.

What they provide:

Their comprehensive 12-week program includes personalised coaching, access to co-working spaces, and informative content sessions. Additionally, they offer exclusive opportunities, such as a week-long trip to San Francisco. At the program’s outset, all startups receive $120,000 at a $1.5 million post-money valuation if their founders haven’t secured prior funding rounds. For founders who have, Startmate matches the latest valuation with a $75,000 investment in exchange for 7.5% equity.

What sets them apart:

Startmate distinguishes itself as a mentor-driven seed fund. Every mentor within the program personally invests in the Startmate fund, which, in turn, supports the startups.

Where to find them:

Startmate is headquartered in Sydney & Melbourne, Australia.

2. Founder Institute: Startup Accelerator

Founder Institute aspires to globalise the spirit of Silicon Valley, offering a hands-on approach to nurture and advance startups. Their comprehensive training program incorporates practical business-building tasks, open to participation from the pre-seed stage onward.

With a portfolio valued at approximately $30 billion, Founder Institute’s accelerator programs have been instrumental since 2009, aiding more than 5,000 entrepreneurs in securing over $1.5 billion in funding. This achievement firmly establishes them as the world’s largest pre-seed startup accelerator.

What they seek:

Founder Institute extends its welcome to both solo entrepreneurs and teams at the pre-seed or ideation phase, including those in the pre-incorporation stage.

For those already equipped with initial funding, you might want to explore the offerings of other startup accelerators mentioned in this context.

What they provide:

Their mission is to empower all tech and tech-enabled enterprises in building enduring businesses through a combination of assignments and expert feedback.

What sets them apart:

Distinguished by their part-time engagement model, Founder Institute stands out from the majority of startup accelerators. This means aspiring founders do not need to relinquish their current employment to embark on their entrepreneurial journey here.

Where to find them:

Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Founder Institute boasts a global presence with over 90 chapters worldwide, including locations in Sydney and Melbourne.

3. INCUBATE: Startup Accelerator Sydney

Conceived by two university students in 2012, INCUBATE emerged with the mission of transforming the startup aspirations of University of Sydney students into tangible realities.

It provided students with the opportunity to nurture their entrepreneurial talents and chart their professional trajectories. Several years later, INCUBATE has cultivated a vibrant community featuring over 100 mentors and played a pivotal role in launching 135 successful companies.

What they seek:

INCUBATE is on the lookout for dynamic and ambitious university students who aspire to make a meaningful impact in both the business world and society at large.

What they provide:

The INCUBATE 14-week Accelerator Program offers a comprehensive package, including workshops and events led by industry leaders, equity-free seed funding of $5,000, mentorship from Australia’s foremost entrepreneurs, and 14 weeks of on-campus co-working space. These resources empower you to create a significant market impact with scalable solutions.

What sets them apart:

As an acclaimed startup incubator in Sydney, INCUBATE stands out due to its unique approach—it is entirely run by student entrepreneurs who serve as inspirational role models for prospective participants. INCUBATE extends funding to more than 15 promising teams each year.

Where to find them:

INCUBATE’s startup accelerator is headquartered at the University of Sydney.

4. The Melbourne Accelerator Program

Established in 2012 and often referred to as MAP, the Melbourne Accelerator Program operates in partnership with the University of Melbourne. Open to aspiring and talented individuals, their five-month program is dedicated to fostering businesses that generate significant positive change.

What they seek:

MAP is on the lookout for tech or tech-enabled businesses willing to dedicate themselves full-time to their comprehensive five-month program. To apply, there are two pathways: you must either have a connection with the University of Melbourne, such as being an alumni, or your startup must have a core focus on social impact.

What they provide:

Their offerings include a range of resources such as workshops, co-working spaces, and masterclasses. Additionally, they offer the Velocity program, tailored for early-stage founders, and highlight the Franklins network, which supports female founders.

What sets them apart:

MAP stands out by providing $20,000 in equity-free seed funding to 10 startups. They’ve also recently unveiled a new co-working space in partnership with YBF, located at the University’s innovative precinct, Melbourne Connect.

Where to find them:

This startup accelerator is headquartered at the University of Melbourne.

5. CyRise

CyRise, a startup accelerator, specializes in the field of cybersecurity and is dedicated to establishing itself as the premier cybersecurity accelerator in the Asia-Pacific region.

What they seek:

CyRise seeks out startups and cybersecurity entrepreneurs in the Asia-Pacific region who are dedicated to developing innovations and solutions in the field of cybersecurity.

What they provide:

This Melbourne-based startup incubator offers a comprehensive 14-week program, including $50,000 in seed funding, access to Deakin University researchers, and mentorship from industry experts in the cybersecurity sector.

What sets them apart:

CyRise sets itself apart by offering participants the opportunity to embark on a transformative journey with trips to Israel and the United States, providing valuable insights into the global cybersecurity landscape.

Where to find them:

This startup accelerator has forged partnerships with Deakin University and Japanese technology services provider NTT, conducting its programs both in Melbourne and virtually.

6. Cicada Innovations: Startup Incubator Sydney 

Cicada Innovations explores the realms of deep tech, agtech, and medtech. It is jointly owned by four prominent Australian universities: the Australian National University, the University of New South Wales, the University of Sydney, and the University of Technology Sydney.

What they seek:

Cicada Innovations, the Sydney-based startup incubator, extends a warm welcome to startups operating in the fields of agriculture and healthcare.

What they provide:

Their offerings include access to cutting-edge prototyping labs, facilitating the development and testing of your technology. Cicada Innovations runs two primary programs: Growlab, focusing on agricultural transformation, and Medlab, dedicated to advancing healthcare solutions.

What sets them apart:

Cicada Innovations boasts a remarkable record, having been twice honoured as the ‘Top Incubator in the World’ by the International Business Innovation Association. Since its inception, they have assisted over 300 companies in securing more than $900 million in funding.

Where to find them:

Cicada Innovations Incubator is headquartered in Sydney.

7. Hatch

Taronga holds an unwavering dedication to wildlife conservation, both within Australia and on a global scale.

The organisation is deeply committed to the preservation of native species, actively participating in breeding and release initiatives, habitat restoration, as well as the rehabilitation and release of injured or orphaned wildlife.

Taronga also prioritizes the safeguarding of Legacy Species, which comprises ten crucial species found in Australia and Sumatra.

Furthermore, Taronga is resolute in its efforts to protect and maintain wildlife within its natural habitats. This commitment is reinforced through the provision of support for on-ground conservation work via national and international partnerships, field grants, and fellowships.

What they seek:

This program is available to individuals aged 18 and older across Australia. Please note that spots are limited, and participants will be selected based on merit.

What they provide:

The Taronga HATCH Pre-Accelerator Program is open to individuals who have an early-stage initiative aimed at making a positive impact on wildlife or the environment and possess the determination to advance their concept into a startup venture. HATCH stands ready to assist you in launching your innovative idea and establishing the essential groundwork for a successful startup journey.

What sets them apart:

The primary focus of the HATCH Accelerator Program is to provide robust assistance to ecopreneurs in turning their visionary concepts into tangible realities. If you happen to be a founder of a not-for-profit or social enterprise, and your venture is poised to make a significant impact on wildlife and environmental well-being, our program boasts an exceptional network of seasoned mentors and experts ready to support you in transforming your vision into a reality, expediting your journey toward achieving your objectives.

Where to find them:

They are located in Bradleys Head Road, Mosman, NSW.

8. x15 Ventures

x15ventures is dedicated to crafting the next wave of solutions for a customer base of 15 million. This mission is achieved by harnessing the untapped potential within CommBank’s assets through strategic collaboration with the tech and innovation community.

What they seek:

Blending the strengths of both startups and enterprises, x15ventures collaborates with top-tier global corporations to provide continuous expertise and assistance to digital innovators.

What they provide:

They specialize in building, acquiring, and investing in startups that could leverage connections to Australia’s leading bank and have the potential to enhance the lives of its customers.

What sets them apart:

x15 represents a convergence of careers, ideas, and expertise. The organisation comprises a group of problem solvers, tech enthusiasts, and startup enthusiasts who joyfully explore the intersection between corporate and startup realms.

Where to find them:

They are based at The Foundry, which is situated within the CommBank campus, adjacent to the historic railway workshops in South Eveleigh, Sydney.

9. Remarkable

Remarkable is the foremost accelerator in Australia, dedicated to startups developing technology that empowers human potential and enhances the lives of individuals with disabilities. Their intensive 16-week accelerator program provides early-stage startups with a package that includes $75,000 in seed funding, expert coaches and mentors, access to user testers, and the essential skills required to transform into successful businesses that generate positive social impact.

What they seek:

For individuals constructing startups aimed at making a positive impact on the lives of those with disabilities and utilising a universal design approach in developing assistive technology, Remarkable’s worldwide accelerator program is available to provide support. Remarkable offers programs both in Australia and the United States to assist these innovative ventures.

What they provide:

Remarkable operates as the startup venture division affiliated with Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA) and Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation (CPARF).

Their primary mission is to advance Disability Tech startups through investments and partnerships, with the ultimate goal of fostering a world characterized by increased opportunities, accessibility, and potential for individuals with disabilities.

What sets them apart:

While there are numerous accelerator program options available, finding one that truly comprehends the vision for your company can be a challenge. Remarkable distinguishes itself as one of the world’s longest-running Disability Tech accelerators. Over the past seven years, they have propelled nearly 50 companies dedicated to creating assistive technology for the disability, aging, and health sectors. Their program offers the essential content, support, and access to mentors necessary for scaling your business.

Remarkable operates dual accelerators, enabling you to gain insights into bringing your product to market in both Australia and the United States. Unlike some larger accelerators, Remarkable keeps its cohorts small, ensuring you receive personalized support and mentorship while engaging with a carefully selected community of fellow entrepreneurs tackling similar challenges.

Where to find them:

Remarkable is headquartered in Sydney.

10. Antler

Antler represents a genuinely global community comprising founders, advisors, and investors. This unique composition positions the organization as the premier destination for discovering outstanding co-founders, facilitating accelerated and streamlined growth for its portfolio companies. Moreover, this global reach enables Antler not only to invest in companies right from their inception but also to provide ongoing support throughout the entire lifespan of these businesses.

What they seek:

The organisation takes immense pride in its role in assisting founders to swiftly develop, validate, and commence scaling their ideas and business models. This support is extended through their residencies across the globe, and they emphasize that their commitment doesn’t end with the launch but rather continues throughout the entire life cycle of their founders’ companies, from inception to achieving greatness.

What they provide:

Established upon the principle that human innovation is the cornerstone of forging a brighter future, Antler collaborates with outstanding founders on over six continents. Their mission is to launch and grow startups that tackle significant opportunities and challenges, striving to make a positive impact on the world.

What sets them apart:

In Australia, the organisation has collaborated with numerous exceptional founders. Driven by a commitment that transcends conventional investment approaches, they offer extensive support to founders and establish partnerships with startups. Their support encompasses co-founder matching, rigorous business model validation, initial financial backing, assistance with expansion, and subsequent rounds of funding.

Where to find them:

Sydney, New South Wales.

11. Melt

Creating exceptional hardware products can be a challenging endeavour for startups. It’s essential to recognize that a great product doesn’t automatically translate into a great business. The Melt provides startups with everything they require to develop outstanding hardware products while simultaneously ensuring that the business model is robust, sustainable, and positioned for success.

What they seek:

The Melt Accelerator is designed for early-stage startups focused on developing hardware products, often featuring mechatronic or embedded software components. These startups can join the program at various points in their development journey. Some may enter at an initial stage, even before creating any prototypes, while others may join at a more advanced stage, where small-scale trials have been conducted and the product is poised for large-scale production.

What they provide:

Melt Ventures offers successful startups an initial investment of up to $150,000, with the potential for subsequent follow-on investments of up to $1 million.

What sets them apart:

The Melt was established to address a market need for accelerating hardware-based ideas within a commercially viable and low-risk setting. As Australia’s inaugural hardware accelerator and industry prototyping lab, it boasts an extensive network of partners and backers.

The organisation provides a structured, stage-gated process, complemented by cutting-edge industrial engineering tools and a team of technical experts.

Where to find them:

The Melt, Warners Bay, New South Wales.

12. CSIRO On Program

ON Accelerate is a no-cost program that equips teams with the necessary skills and assistance to validate and cultivate a high-potential innovative venture.

The program places its primary focus on critical areas such as business models, market validation, capital raising, and effective storytelling.

What they seek:

The program places its emphasis on areas such as business models, market validation, capital raising, and storytelling. It offers comprehensive support and facilitates integration with venture capital partners, ensuring the infusion of capital and the provision of a clear path forward for participating companies.

What they provide:

ON Accelerate represents a structured accelerator program designed to support research teams in the validation and development of high-potential innovative ventures.

What sets them apart:

The program’s core areas of concentration include business models, market validation, capital acquisition, and the art of effective storytelling. Additionally, they offer robust support and collaborate with venture capital partners to infuse capital and secure the next-stage runway for participating companies.

Where to find them:

Their primary location is in Clunies Ross Street, Acton, ACT.

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur with dreams of bringing your business concept to life or currently managing an early-stage startup, considering engagement with these accelerators and incubators might be a good idea. As a startup, it’s essential to explore all available avenues for support. Also visit our founder’s guide to tax accounting regarding accelerators.

Here at Fullstack Advisory, we help you streamline your progress and equip your company with financial success. We are a full suite of financial & advisory services to help you get to the next level. Reach out to us to connect for startup accounting and R&D funding.

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Stuart Reynolds is the founder of Fullstack Advisory, an award-winning accounting firm for businesses leading the future. He is a 3rd generation accountant who specialises in tech & online companies.

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