The startup accelerator powered by Australia's leading university.

A home for brilliant minds, where world-changing ideas become a reality.

The MAP Accelerator Program is a home for Australia's most ambitious startups, determined to affect substantial positive impact in the world.

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.

Accelerator Program Benefits

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.

01

$20,000 equity-free seed funding.

02

Access to a world-class network of mentors and advisers.

03

Co-working office space in the heart of Melbourne's CBD.

04

Access to resources, facilities & expertise from the University of Melbourne

05

Bespoke masterclasses & training workshops.

06

Access to our channel partners & investor networks.

The MAP Application Process

Stage 1 - Online Application

Application Period - Feb 24 to March 22

The first step in the 2020 application is to submit an online application.

Stage 2 - Pitch Night

30th March - 1st April 2020

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.

Stage 3 - MAP Team Interview

7th – 9th April 2020

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.

Stage 4 - Final Panel Interview

TBC 21st / 22nd April 2020

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.

Accelerator Launch

12th May 2020

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.

Eligibility Criteria

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.

01

University of Melbourne connection.

You or one of your co-founders are an alumni, staff member, or current student of the University of Melbourne.

02

Your startup has social impact at its core.

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.

Eligibility Conditions

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.

The MAP Founder's Journey

Application & Selection

March - May 2020

The 2020 application process is 4 stages. There are 10 startup places available, with successful applicants announced early May 2020.

Accelerator Launch

May 2020

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.

Induction Program

30th April - 1st May 2020

               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

Accelerator Program

June - October 2020

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.

Demo Day

OCT 2020

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!

Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’m not eligible for the startup accelerator?

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.

Will my startup need to work from the MAP office?

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.

My startup doesn’t have a technical co-founder, is it still eligible for the MAP accelerator?

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.

I’m a solo founder, am I eligible for the MAP accelerator?

Yes,  we've had great experiences with solo founders.

My startup isn’t making money yet, is it still eligible for the MAP accelerator?

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.

My startup is a not-for-profit, is it still eligible for the MAP accelerator?

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.

I have a startup but I am based overseas. Is MAP able to help?

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.

I’d like to speak about my startup or idea with someone from MAP. Who can I speak to?

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.

What types of startups do you fund?

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.

Does my startup need to have a shareholders agreement before I apply?

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

Do I need a live demo of my product or service for the selection process?

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.

I can’t be in Melbourne for some or all parts of the selection process. Should I still apply?

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.

When will I hear back from you about the outcome of my application?

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 info@themap.com your safe list.


Will I receive feedback about our application if I am unsuccessful?

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.

How is MAP different to other accelerator programs?

MAP is rather unique amongst the Australian startup accelerators, for the following reasons.

  •  We are the first university based accelerator in Australia (est. 2012) so we have a dense network of alumni who are fast becoming Australia’s next generation of leading business minds.
  •  We provide $20,000 of equity-free funding to our startups which is a founder friendly prospect.
  • We make considerable resources, research, and expertise from the University of Melbourne - Australia’s leading university available to our startups
  • Our mentors have real world experience, and are carefully selected based on the needs of your startup. 
  • We are one of the few accelerators that offers equal consideration to social impact startups and provides the necessary resources and networks to support such founders.
  • Our sizable office space has created a strong family environment where many of our alumni startups continue to work from. Upon completion of the accelerator, you may be invited to stay in the MAP office to contribute to our culture of paying it forward and support other founders that come into the space.


What is a startup accelerator program?

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.


Does MAP take equity or ownership in my company?

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.

Does MAP or the University of Melbourne take ownership of my startup’s intellectual property?

No. You retain full ownership of all intellectual property (IP) your startup creates.

What is a typical week like for a MAP founder?

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.

I need space to experiment with physical prototypes. Can I do this at the MAP office?

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.


I already have an office, do I have to move into the MAP office?

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.


Can I access the MAP office after hours and on weekends?

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.

What programs does MAP offer?

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.


Can I apply to the accelerator program if our startup is based overseas?

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).

Do you ever offer internships to people interested in MAP?

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.


Can I drop by the MAP office to say hi?

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!

Want to get in touch?

Contact Us
Melbourne Accelerator Program
Level 1, 333 Exhibition Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000

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