Pushstart adds a new start-up seed accelerator to the Australian tech scene


Today at the excellent SydStart event is the official launch of Pushstart, adding to the increasingly rich network of support available to tech start-ups in Australia.

There are two key elements to Pushstart: a mentor matching service, bringing together a pool of currently over 50 mentors with start-ups through the year, and a Start-Up accelerator, which will offer a small amount of capital, mentoring, and some physical space for a 3 month program.

The reference points for the start-up accelerator are of course the (primarily) US-based Y Combinator and TechStars

There is already a similar organization in Australia, StartMate, which got some great coverage earlier this week on TechCrunch (An Incubator from Down Under: Meet StartMate’s First Batch of Aussie StartUps. Startmate was established by some of the most successful tech entrepreneurs in Australia, such as Simon Baker, Mike Cannon-Brookes, Ian Gardiner, Adrian Giles, Chris Hitchen, Bart Jellema, Dean McEvoy, Phil Morle, and Adrian Vanzyl, all with major successes to their name. 

One of the key differences between StartMate and PushStart is that StartMate’s investors are its mentors, while PushStart is looking for external capital and largely separating the mentor and investor role. 

StartMate invests A$25,000 for 7.5% of its member companies, with similar amounts for PushStart, which is somewhat more generous than the major US programs.

PushStart draws from a broader pool than StartMate in its mentor program. Some StartMate mentors have leaped at the opportunity to participate in PushStart as well. Many mentors are successful entrepreneurs, others have specific expertise to offer. I’m looking forward to finding out what I can contribute and learn in my role as one of the mentors.

Some have questioned whether PushStart will be competitive with StartMate, but that’s crazy thinking. There is no shortage of talent, ideas, or latent start-ups in Australia, so I would be amazed if these two networks together do more than scratch the surface of what needs to be supported, especially given StartMate currently only takes in 5 start-ups in each round.

There is no question that the Australian start-up scene has accelerated out of sight in just the last two years, not least with many initiatives such as SydStart, Startup Camp, and Silicon Beach, as well as the key role played by Pollenizer. StartMate and PushStart are important additions to the landscape. Hopefully this is just the beginning of something that will make Sydney and other Australian cities solid hubs in the network of the global tech start-up scene.

A closing note on SydStart today: very inspiring – I continue to hear about more and more local entrepreneurs and successes, all of whom are keen to share. Which bodes very well for the local scene.