A home for brilliant minds, where world-changing ideas become a reality.
Open to both for-profit and impact startups, the MAP Accelerator Program is the flagship entrepreneurial initiative of the University of Melbourne.
Our goal is to turbocharge the growth of 10 high-potential startups per year. Our startups progress through an intensive 5 month journey centred around a series of bespoke masterclasses and mentoring sessions, which are paired with unrestricted access to our world-class professional networks. Each startup also receives $20,000 of equity-free seed funding, as well as dedicated space in MAP's co-working office in Melbourne's CBD.
Each startup also becomes part of the extended MAP alumni family. To date we have supported over 100 startups who have collectively raised over $70 million in funding, generated $100 million in revenue, and created more than 1,000 jobs.
We’ve seen the impact of our program time and time again. We'll provide you with the support you need, at the moment you need it.
We are deeply passionate about creating the best experience for our founders and fostering an environment that supports those startups making significant positive impact in the world. To ensure this, we have a number of criteria to be eligible for the accelerator program, however not all of these criteria are required for social-impact startups.
At least one founder must be a student, staff or alumni from the University of Melbourne. For social impact startups, this criteria is waived.
For startups solving pressing issues in society or the environment, we do not require the founders to have a connection with the University of Melbourne.
At least one founder must commit to working full-time in the MAP office for the duration of the program (June - October).
The 2019 application process is 4 stages, and is detailed at length on the Apply page. There are 10 startup places available, with successful applicants announced early May 2019.
Taking to the stage at Australia's largest startup networking event, our 10 startups debut their pitch to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. After pitching, founders have an opportunity to mingle with prominent investors, venture capitalists, and mentors.
We welcome the 10 startups into the MAP family with an intensive induction week held in early June. It is a chance for the founders to get to know each other, our mentor and investor networks, and the MAP team in more depth.
The accelerator program commences in early June, with startups moving in to the MAP office. Over the following 5-months, startups will participate in a series of workshops, mentor masterclasses, and networking events - all with the goal of rapidly accelerating growth and progress.
The accelerator concludes with a demo day, where startups will present their progress and accomplishments to a curated audience of investors and industry leaders. This marks the formal transition of the MAP19 founders to alumni!
The MAP team are here to help you, and we encourage you to visit our team page and connect with us if we can help in any way. For instant answers, browse out comprehensive FAQ section below.
Applications close on Sunday April 7th at 11:59PM.
MAP is industry-agnostic, meaning we accept applications from startups in all industries. To be eligible for MAP, you will need to qualify under at least one of the following criteria.
1. University of Melbourne affiliation. One of your founding team must be a graduate, employee, or current student of the University of Melbourne.
2. Social impact. If you're a startup working on solving some of the most pressing problems in one of these areas:
- People and Place (Improving the lives of under-represented communities through equity, access or inclusion.)
- Health and Wellbeing (Innovations that improve health outcomes and the quality of care delivery.)
- Sustainability and Resilience (Innovations in energy, transport, urban infrastructure, and water or food security.)
Yes. While we focus on a startup's team, we do take solo founders who have deep knowledge of the problem they are solving and the ability to deliver it.
We have had many first-time founders during the program. We support you by surrounding you with people running companies at similar stage to yours, MAP alumni founders who run similar companies, sharing networks, and sharing expertise.
That’s a great idea! You can book an Office Hours chat with our team.
Absolutely not. All information you submit to us throughout the selection process will remain strictly confidential and private. Please note that if your startup application is successful, there will be publicity associated with the launch of the 2019 accelerator program that will reference you and your startup.
You are welcome to submit more than one application if you want to submit multiple startups for consideration, but please note that we will ask you to select only one if both make it past the second round of applications (MAP Team Interview).
Unfortunately we can’t accept late applications past the deadline date.
Our application process is very straightforward. We ask you questions around topics such as:
1. The problem you are solving.
2. Your solution to this problem.
3. The market for solving this problem.
4. Your business model.
5. Your progress to date.
6. The competitive landscape.
7. Your team of co-founders (if applicable).
8. How MAP can assist your startup.
While most of our startups are at or beyond product-market fit i.e they have a minimum viable product, have tested and validated most core features, are building up a version that customers will pay for and working towards finding a repeatable and scalable business model. We work with startups in finding that repeatable and scalable business model, be it user acquisition and conversion funnel optimised, value proposition refined, or other ways to grow your business. We do accept startups with innovative solutions, transformative ideas and scale for impact directly to our Program. Our Velocity Program supports earlier stage startups that are at problem-solution fit where startups are focused on validating whether they are solving a meaningful problem and whether anybody would hypothetically be interested in their solution. Check out our Velocity page for more details.
No you don’t. We understand that you may not be at this stage just yet. Even if you do have a demo ready to go, we encourage you to chat to our team about which stage of the selection process would be most appropriate to show it off.
We strongly encourage all applicants to be able to attend each stage of the application in person. We have made some exceptions in the past, but we like to see all founders in attendance where possible. If your startup has a co-founder that lives overseas, we will generally allow them to attend selection interviews via video conferencing.
We understand that you will be very keen to hear back about the status of your application, and we will endeavor to process applications as soon as we can. At each stage of the process you will be notified about when you can expect a response by.
Yes. All startups who progress to the third stage of the application process (Pitch Night) will go through a round of due diligence that will be facilitated by members of the MAP team. Due diligence is nothing to be worried about, we’re simply looking to confirm the accuracy of information in your application, and to ensure you’re the right fit for our program.
We make every effort to provide each unsuccessful candidate with feedback about their application. This may come in the form of a follow-up phone call, a summary of judging feedback, or an Office Hours meeting. Unfortunately due to the volume of applications, we can’t guarantee your startup will receive feedback.
We require at least one founder to be working full time and be based from MAP office during the program. You are required to attend mandatory workshops, events and meet deadlines for updates, as well as meetings with your EIRs and Mentors. We understand you have a business to run, hence we are accommodative as possible. For example, many of our alumni founders have supported young families during their time in the accelerator.
Yes, it is a requirement of participation in the MAP program that you work from our office for the duration of the program. We do make exceptions from time to time for startups who are already too large (in terms of employee count) or need to work from dedicated offsite facilities due to the nature of their work.
For the duration of the accelerator, we require all startups to be based in Melbourne and to work from the MAP office. Interstate and international applicants are welcomed, but please be aware that you will need to move to Melbourne prior to the commencement of the program.
Whilst we certainly like to see startups lead by teams with strong technical talent, it is not a requirement to be accepted into the MAP accelerator. If you don’t have a technical co-founder or employee, we encourage you to acquire this capability prior to applying for MAP, as it will increase your chances of a successful application.
Yes. While we focus on startup team, we do take solo founders who have deep knowledge of the problem they are solving and the ability to deliver it.
Absolutely! Plenty of our alumni startups entered MAP well before they earned their first dollar in revenue. Participating in an accelerator program like MAP is a fantastic way for pre-revenue startups to develop and refine their product/service to the point where they can begin making paid sales. Whilst our judges look highly on market traction (sales), it is certainly not a requirement for entry into the program.
We encourage your application – your success will be determined by the stage of your current idea and suitability for our programs.
Yes - and congratulations! Having investment is a great sign of traction, and will likely help your application’s chances of success.
Absolutely. MAP supports a broad range of ventures that bring about positive change and have ambitions to scale. We are agnostic about business model. From for-profits, social enterprises, and hybrids to not-for-profits, we see value in diverse ventures building and scaling together. However, if you are a not-for-profit, you must demonstrate a clear path to financial sustainability.
A startup accelerator program is designed to help early-stage startup businesses find their feet and pursue explosive growth. Once a year, MAP accepts 10 startups into our accelerator program to undergo an intensive 5 month program centred around building your business. As a participant in the MAP program, each startup receives $20,000 of equity-free funding, free office space, and access to our world-class network of mentors. You will also join a large family of highly accomplished alumni founders, all of whom are accessible for advice and mentorship. A curriculum of tailored workshops and masterclasses are available, but not compulsory to take part in. You will also have opportunities to pitch in front of our network of investors and angels.
For 2019, the program will run from June to October.
No. Unlike many other accelerator programs, MAP does not take any equity or ownership in your company. Instead, we expect MAP founders to join our community, which means giving back by supporting the next generation of startup founders, and being a mentor and ambassador for MAP. This may include contributing to workshops, mentoring a startup in a future MAP cohort, or making a helpful connection to a fellow founder in the MAP community.
No. You retain full ownership of all intellectual property (IP) your startup creates.
The MAP team is currently made up of 9 wonderful people, most of whom work full time from the MAP office. Whilst we each have a busy schedule, we are always on hand to assist you with anything you need help with. In the past, we have helped startups manage everything from unexpected press coverage to fabrication of robot components - we’ve seen it all! Our job is to see you succeed.
Yes. Unlike other accelerator programs, we don’t charge (either through fees or equity) for participation in our Accelerator program.
MAP is rather unique amongst the Australian startup accelerators, for the following reasons.
1. We are the only accelerator to provide equity-free funding to our startups ($20,000).
2. We make available to our startups the considerable resources, research, and expertise from Australia’s leading university.
3. Our mentors are not financially invested in seeing your startup grow as fast as possible, and so provide advice that is aimed at helping you as a founder, and not just your startup’s bottom line.
4. We are one of the few accelerators that offers equal consideration to social impact and not-for-profit startups.
5. Our sizeable office space has created a strong family environment where many of our alumni startups continue to work from. Upon graduation, you may be invited to stay in the MAP office indefinitely free of charge.
A typical week for a MAP founder is spent working on your business with support from the MAP team, mentors and founder cohort. The objective is to surround you with the knowledge, support, expertise and networks to help you succeed. Every few weeks during the program, we run workshops that you can attend, covering topics such as legal essentials, fundraising, hiring etc. Approaching the end of the program, we will conduct regular pitch practice sessions to help you refine your investor pitch.
MAP provides its founders with ample office space and access to board rooms for meetings or cubicles to make sales calls. During the program (and for life as a MAP alumni afterwards), you’ll also have access to the MAP mentors who can provide guidance and feedback on your business. From June to October as the program runs, we also have regular dinners with our mentors. The mentor dinners offer a casual, conversational and candid insight into the mentors’ wealth of experience. The mentor dinners offer an amazing opportunity for our founders to get up close with some of Australia’s leading business minds and are always strictly off the record!
MAP operates on a culture of respect. We require that all MAP startups hold themselves at the highest standards as ambassadors in our community. We have not had to ask anyone to leave yet, and our values and code of conduct (which will be covered during inductions) ensure that we hopefully won’t have to do so in the future!
After going through the MAP Startup Accelerator, you are part of the MAP family for life. You will continue to have access to the global MAP network, resources and events. The MAP team, alumni and mentors are committed to helping you through the next phase of your startup’s journey. All that we ask is that you give back by supporting the next group of entrepreneurs who come through the program!
The MAP office is located at Level 1, 333 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000.
For 2019, we have allocated 3 desks per startup. Each desk can fit two people, and additional desks are available if needed.
No. All rent and utilities are covered by the MAP team.
Within reason, yes. We have dedicated space for light prototyping work, however any work that produces significant noise or smells will have to be done offsite. We have access to production facilities in the university which may be of use to you.
Unfortunately yes. As amazing as your current office may be, it is a requirement of participation in the MAP program that you work from our office for the duration of the program. We do make exceptions from time to time for startups who are already too large (in terms of employee count) or need to work from dedicated offsite facilities due to the nature of their work.
Yes, we have multiple meeting spaces available that you can book for free, as well as video conferencing facilities as well. The MAP office is also surrounded by some of the best cafes and restaurants in Melbourne, a secret list of which will be provided to startups during induction.
Absolutely. Each startup founder will be issued with an access card which grants 24/7 access to the MAP office. You are welcome to stay as long as you like each day, except if you are living under your desk.
We are very fortunate to have a large office space available for our startups to work from, and we make our best efforts to accommodate our alumni after they complete the MAP accelerator (pending availability). We do ask that once a startup becomes financially independent or expands beyond three in-office employees that they begin their search for a new office space.