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.
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.
To give yourself the best chance at a successful application, submit your Expression of Interest now. You will receive extra information, access to office hours, and invites to events to aid your application.
The first step in the 2020 application is to submit an online application.
Shortlisted candidates will then be invited to give a 3 minute pitch at our Pitch Night. The audience is made up of up to 50 individuals from across the entrepreneurial ecosystem and university, who will collectively shortlist the startups for the final stage in the application process.
Shortlisted candidates will be invited to attend a 45 minute interview with the MAP team and alumni. This will take place at the MAP office, and we strongly encourage all founders from the startup are present for this stage.
The final stage sees shortlisted candidates attend a 30 minute interview with a 5-member judging panel, which generally takes the format of a pitch followed by a Q&A session. The panel will convene to select the 10 successful startups who will go on to form the MAP20 Accelerator Cohort.
The 10 successful startups will take to the stage at the 2020 MAP Accelerator Launch Event, debuting their pitch to the entrepreneurial ecosystem. After pitching, founders have an opportunity to mingle with prominent investors, venture capitalists, and mentors.
The MAP Accelerator Program has two eligibility pathways as outlined below. All applicants must qualify for at least one of these pathways in order to be eligible for the 2020 Program.
You or one of your co-founders are an alumni, staff member, or current student of the University of Melbourne.
We're committed to supporting startups with social impact at their core. To find out more about what we consider social impact, please read our Social Impact page.
In addition to the eligibility criteria, each applicant must be able to commit to having at least one founder working from the MAP office on a full-time basis.
To remain aligned with our values and purpose, MAP does not accept startups in industries that cause direct harm to humanity or the planet, such as gambling, tobacco, alcohol, weapons or any environmental destruction.
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 2-day induction program held on 30th April and 1stMay 2020. It is a chance for the founders to get to know each other, our alumni, mentors, 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 MAP20 founders to alumni!
That’s ok, there still may be a way to connect with us. In the first instance, we recommend that you check out the Velocity Program- it does not have any university affiliation or full-time eligibility requirements to take part. In addition, you can get involved at MAP via the numerous events we host and get connected with our community that way.
Yes, It is a requirement of participation in the accelerator that you work from our office for the duration of the program. This is because we believe in building strong network and connections in our cohort by encouraging regular in-person interactions.
For startups that are already too large (in terms of employee count) or need to work from dedicated offsite facilities due to the nature of their work, we are flexible, but active participation is still required to be eligible.
Whilst we certainly like to see startups led by teams with strong technical talent, it is not a requirement to be accepted into the accelerator. If you do not have a technical co-founder, we look at a team’s immediate network to see if this talent is within reach e.g. an employee, advisor or supporting organisation.
Yes, we've had great experiences with solo founders.
Absolutely! Plenty of our alumni startups entered MAP just before earning their first dollar in revenue. Participating in an accelerator program like MAP helps pre-revenue startups develop and refine their product/service and prepare for sales once they come in. Whilst our judges look highly on market traction (sales), it is certainly not a requirement for entry into the program.
Absolutely. We are agnostic about business model and strongly encourage not-for-profit startups to apply. We look closely at a not for profit startup’s potential to set up a sustainable revenue stream that does not heavily rely on government or philanthropic grants and funding for its success.
MAP programs require in-person participation. You can certainly apply for the program if you are currently based overseas and meet the eligibility requirements. However, for the duration of the program (June-October), you will be required to relocate to Melbourne, Australia. The reason we do this is because you will receive the greatest value from the program if you’re a part of our cohort.
You can, and office hours is probably the best way. You can book Office Hours with our team once you’ve expressed your interest on our website. We will ask for additional information on who you are and how we can help to ensure we can best support you. For your meeting with us, please come prepared with any materials and questions you have of our team. In case you’re wondering if we’ll sign any NDAs beforehand, please read: The Cult of the NDA.
We do not have an investment mandate and we consider companies from a broad range of industries. We look for startups which have the potential for high growth, high impact and the team has the capability to build and scale the company.
Starting a business is a big undertaking. Conversations between you and your co-founders about a shareholders agreement needs to happen as early as possible. We do ask for a cap table, a shareholders agreement, and other documents during the selection process and strongly advise that these are in place before you begin any accelerator program
No you don’t. We advise against it as demos are notoriously difficult to set up, don’t perform well, and take too much time in a high pressure situation. It also depends on the stage of the selection process, as to whether or not it is an appropriate thing to include (we’d be willing to entertain it in stage 3 and/or 4). If you’re confident your product or service will perform, please reach out to the MAP team to assess whether it is appropriate to do so.
You can certainly apply and we can accomodate remote presentations, however we would encourage you to find a way to be present at each part of selection process to give yourself the best possible chance of engaging with the key stakeholders who form part of this process. Historically it’s proven more challenging for those who’ve tried to achieve the same impact remotely.
At each stage of the process we will endeavour to inform all applicants of whether they’ve been successful in progressing to the next stage, so you will be notified within a few days of those key stage dates. Review the application timeline for more details.
To ensure you don’t miss any communication please be sure to keep an eye on your inbox (and junk mail folder) and put email@example.com your safe list.
We make every effort to provide each unsuccessful candidate with feedback about their application. Unfortunately due to the volume of applications, we can’t guarantee your startup will receive feedback before stage 3 of the selection process. If we are able to, feedback may come in the form of a follow-up phone call, or a meeting in person with one of the team.
MAP is rather unique amongst the Australian startup accelerators, for the following reasons.
A startup accelerator program is a short time bound experience designed to help early-stage startup businesses find their feet and pursue explosive growth.
Our program involves a mix of mentoring, equity-free funding, office space, and access to some of the most brilliant business minds in Australia to help accelerate your growth. We also put teams on the biggest startup stages in the country to share their vision and gain support for how to get there.
No. Unlike many other accelerator programs, MAP does not take any equity or ownership in your company.
However, we do expect a cultural return. The best way you can do this is to support the next generation of startups in our program by becoming a great ambassador and mentor for MAP. This could mean running a workshop, mentoring a startup in the next cohort or even making a helpful introduction to a budding founder in the program.
No. You retain full ownership of all intellectual property (IP) your startup creates.
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 make decisions for your business as quickly as possible.
You will kick off the week by sharing your goals and challenges for the week with your fellow founders, and attend a meeting with the MAP team and Entrepreneurs in Residence to review your wins, discuss tactics, or analyse issues you foresee in the coming week. As you’ll be running your business out of the MAP office you’ll quickly find that your proximity to founders will be invaluable as they will help you understand how they’ve approached and overcome obstacles you’re now facing.
In addition you will attend tailored workshops with your cohort that cover topics such as legal essentials, fundraising, hiring etc. You’ll probably catch up with a MAP mentor or two for coffee (or over the phone) to get their industry specific guidance and feedback on your business. You might spend an afternoon with your cohort at a lunch hosted by one of our community partners to find out about how they can support your startup’s growth e.g. Microsoft, IBM, Stripe etc. We’ll spend quality time with you at a mentor dinner for a candid, strictly off the record insight into the entrepreneurial journey of a mentor in our network and invite them to share their advice with you.
Within reason, yes. We have 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. If you’d like to discuss a specific example our team is best suited to explore what you’re looking for.
Yes, it is a requirement that at least one of your founding team 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.
Absolutely. Each startup founder will be issued with an access card which grants 24/7 access to the MAP office. Please note we are big advocates of work-life balance, and have a wellness program that we run here - so will encourage you to reflect on and manage your time effectively.
The Startup Accelerator is MAP’s flagship program. It is a 5-month full-time program which provides startups with $20,000 in equity-free funding, free office space in the CBD, structured mentoring by entrepreneurs and business leaders, and pitching opportunities to investors and business leaders in Australia and overseas.
The Velocity Program is a part-time program for founders at an earlier stage of their entrepreneurial journey. The workshop-based program comprises 10 workshops centred around customer discovery and market validation with specialised experiences for both for-profit and for-purpose entrepreneurs.
Yes. Provided that the eligibility requirements are satisfied, including having one founder working full-time in Melbourne for the entire duration of the program (June to October).
Yes, internships and jobs do occasionally pop up at MAP. Sign up to our newsletter at themap.co to be kept up to date about when vacancies do open.
Unfortunately, not without an appointment. We work in a shared space with other tenants and our founders are usually super busy working on their companies - so please do contact us and make an appointment beforehand!
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 Friday 14th June at 11:59PM.
The program is industry-agnostic and is open to both for-profit and impact startups. This is because we believe in creating an environment where startup and impact founders can influence and support each other with their business, technical and impact acumen. You are not required to be affiliated with the University of Melbourne to take part.
Social impact. For social impact founders, you'll be working on pressing problems in the following domains:
- 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 in the program, especially in the Velocity 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.
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 applications past the deadline.
Our application process is very straightforward. We ask you questions around topics such as:
1. Startup basics. (name, description, website, industry, location)
2. 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.
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 early stage startups that are at problem-solution fit where startups are focused on validating whether they are solving a meaningful problem and pressure test the biggest assumptions in their business model.
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 when in stage two (the in person interview) it 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 endeavour 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 make it to the second stage of selection process will go through light due diligence 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 will come in the form of 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 arranged co-working and have desks available for you to access as needed.
Within reason, yes. We have dedicated space for light prototyping work during your co-working times, 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.
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.
Unfortunately in the Velocity program, this is not possible.