Canberra based accelerator program launched by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher


Chief Minister Katy Gallagher today launched the ‘GRIFFIN Accelerator’ at the ANU Connect Ventures Innovation Showcase. Focussing on ‘Servicing Government’ the accelerator program is seeking applicants with solutions in the Government Software, Government GriffinServices, Defence, Education and Health space. Targeting a cohort of 10 program participants, the program is now open for applicants.

“This accelerator program is another building block in the early-stage innovation eco-system in our city. Last year we launched Entry 29 the Co-Working space which has attracted over 125 paying members since launch in May 2013. The success of Entry 29 demonstrated the demand for an accelerator program and we are pleased to now be open for business,” said Nick McNaughton, spokesperson for the accelerator.

The program is being run in collaboration with Ignition Labs part of ATP Innovations.

“We have extensive experience in running accelerator programs in technology, health and energy sectors. Leveraging our capability and expertise to launch other regional programs is of significant interest to us. Partnering with the impressive innovation community of the ACT to launch this in Canberra demonstrates the collaborative spirit that will make this program a success,” said Hamish Hawthorn, CEO of ATP Innovations.

The program has been named the GRIFFIN Accelerator to celebrate the contribution of the city’s founding father Walter Burley Griffin. Applications open today and close at the end of May. An evaluation and selection process then occurs with enough spaces for 10 program participants.

“We are looking for quality not quantity,” said McNaughton.

“If we don’t see the quality in our applicants we will offer fewer than 10 places.”

The program’s focus is unique to Australia and leverages the city’s strengths.

“We are so much more than a politics, public service and tax town. We have a huge customer on our door step (the Federal Government) and we have significant research and domain expertise in the themes selected for this year’s program.”

In late 2013 the ACT Government announced the ‘Invest Canberra’ initiative and identified the themes that the City is good at. The GRIFFIN Accelerator focusses on these themes.

“Our objective is to create industry building capability outside of our current pillars of industry and generate new industries for the decades to come,” McNaughton said.

During the launch the Chief Minister announced a $70k grant to assist with the running of the program.

The GRIFFIN Accelerator is a program that delivers on the objectives of the ‘Invest Canberra’ initiative bringing smart people and investment dollars into our city. All of the research institutions involved in this program contributes expertise, people and resources to the program participants. In addition we have some of the largest customers for these products in services right here in Canberra,” the Chief Minister said.

The program has broad support from a wide variety of organisations including: ANU Connect Ventures, ATP Innovations, The Australian National University, Australian Capital Ventures Limited, Capital Angels, CollabIT, CSIRO, eGov Cluster, Entry 29, Lighthouse, NICTA and the University of Canberra. In total $300k has been raised for the GRIFFIN Accelerator from local investors who will mentor the participants during the 12 week program. Stage one of the program runs from 1st July – 30th September 2014 and will be based at the NICTA Research Labs in the heart of the City. Phil Robertson, Chief Operating Office of NICTA said “We are excited to be providing the space for this first group of start-ups. NICTA is all about bringing research and industry together and growing businesses, like we have done with our Canberra-led eGovernment Cluster. These lucky start-ups will be surrounded by the large intellectual pool of NICTA researchers and PhD students to help them solve curly issues on the spot’. Participants who get through to stage two will continue in an additional period from October to December.

Each successful stage one participant will receive $25k for 10% equity. If they are successful and make it through to stage two they will be offered an additional $25k for 5% equity. A demo day will be held at the end of September where a range of investors will have the opportunity to see the participant’s pitches.

For further information:
Go to for more information and application details.

Nick McNoughton
Communication Spokesperson, ANU Connect Ventures
M: +61413-227711

About the GRIFFIN Accelerator
The GRIFFIN Accelerator is a start-up accelerator in Canberra, Australia. Once a year we invite entrepreneurs to apply for a place in the 3+3 program for the opportunity to validate their idea, develop networks and fine-tune their business model. The GRIFFIN Accelerator model is unique: shortlisted applicants will gain access to a 3 month program with $25,000 for customer validation activities, in return for 10% equity. At the end of this 3 month block, a select number of Griffin start- ups will be invited to continue for another 3 month intensive program with an additional $25,000 instalment for a further 5% equity. Our core agenda is to form and support new innovative companies; providing a structured high growth path so start-ups exit the program with an investible proposition or revenue generation. The GRIFFIN accelerator, Canberra, draws experience from a pool of mentors, each with entrepreneurial experience, skills and experience in the government sector, or a significant technology industry network. GRIFFIN mentors get involved. They provide sage advice and get their hands dirty when projects need a boost. A mentor is married to each project, acting like a case manager to ensure the participants are headed in the right direction.

About ATP Innovations
ATP Innovations, Australia’s most successful technology incubator, was established by the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales, the Australian National University and the University of Technology Sydney to enable the accelerated growth of Australian start-ups and multiply their chances of success. Today it is home to over 60 technology based start-ups, employing more than 400 people. The portfolio has raised $113 million from private investors since 2006 and 8 of its businesses have exited through either trade sale or IPO.


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