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The Velocity Program

Could your idea become the next big thing? Velocity can help you find out.

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The Velocity Program is a part-time program for earlier stage founders. The program comprises 10 workshops centred around customer discovery and market validation with specialised experiences for both for-profit and for-purpose entrepreneurs.

The Velocity program helps early-stage founders pressure test their startups - speeding up their discovery of first customers and pathway to product-market fit. Open to both for-profit and impact startups, it is important to us that both types of founders influence and motivate each other to succeed in business and in impact.

Over 15 weeks, the Velocity program will support you with evening workshops that include expert speakers, founder stories, and group activities to challenge and inspire you. Starting with customer validation and value proposition to test your biggest assumptions, through to signing your first customers, we give you clarity and guidance to help you make the decisions that increase the probability of your success and surround you with a cohort of high-potential founders.

The program costs $500 per founder. No University of Melbourne affiliation is required for this program.

The Velocity Founder's Journey

Stage 1 - Online Application

Applications close Friday 14th June at 11:59 pm

Your journey begins with an online application, where we will ask about your startup and your progress to date. We also host open office hours if you'd like to chat with the MAP team before applying.

Stage 2 - In-Person Interviews

19th - 20th June 2019

Up to 30 shortlisted startups will be invited to a 20-minute interview with the MAP team and an industry specialist. The format will be a 3 minute pitch followed by 17 minutes of QnA. Following a competitive application process and onboarding between 25th - 27th June, up to 20 selected startups will begin the Velocity Program.

Phase One - Velocity Program

4th July - 15th October 2019

Startups attend evening workshops, hosted by mentors, founders, and domain experts from across the MAP network. Workshops generally run from 5:30pm to 8:30pm on Tuesday or Thursday evenings with breaks for coworking out of the MAP offices.

Phase Two - Velocity Showcase

mid January - late February 2020

Startups who have made the most progress and traction in their startups be invited to an additional 6-week opportunity of startup coaching and pitch practice. They will also have the opportunity to pitch at the MAP19 Velocity Showcase, a popular fixture in the Melbourne entrepreneurial calendar.

Velocity Program Benefits
01

Curriculum of high-quality evening workshops.

Each workshop is a mixture of theory, group activities and networking to improve your knowledge and keep you on track.

02

Mentorship from the best and brightest advisors.

Our mentors have been there and done it, and are excited to share stories and listen to your challenges to help you grow your startup.

03

Support from other startups in the program.

Founders from different startups at Velocity work with each other, sharing skills and experience to help each other solve their biggest challenges.

04

Take to the stage at the Velocity Showcase.

The Velocity Showcase is your opportunity to pitch to a large audience and debut your startup to Melbourne's ecosystem.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

When do applications close for the 2019 Velocity Program?

Applications close on Friday 14th June at 11:59PM.

Who can apply to the Velocity Program?

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.)

I'm a sole founder, can I still apply?

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.

I'm a first-time founder, can I still apply?

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.

I’d like to have a chat with someone from the MAP team before I apply, how do I arrange a meeting?

That’s a great idea! You can book an Office Hours chat with our team.

Will my application be publicly available?

Absolutely not. All information you submit to us throughout the selection process will remain strictly confidential and private.

I have more than one startup, can I make more than one application?

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).

I missed the deadline, can I submit a late application?

Unfortunately we can’t accept applications past the deadline.

What questions do you ask as part of an application?

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.

What stage does my startup need to be in order to be considered for the MAP Accelerator?

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Does MAP conduct due diligence on my startup as part of the selection process?

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.

Will I receive feedback from the judges and MAP team about my application if I’m unsuccessful?

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.

Do I need to be working full time on my startup?

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.

Will my startup need to work from the MAP office?

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.

I don’t live in Melbourne, am I still eligible for Velocity Program?

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.

My startup doesn’t have a technical co-founder, is it still eligible for the Velocity 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.

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

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.

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

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.

My startup has already taken part in another accelerator, is it still eligible for the Velocity Program?

We encourage your application – your success will be determined by the stage of your current idea and suitability for our programs.

My startup has already taken investment, is it still eligible for the Velocity Program?

Yes - and congratulations! Having investment is a great sign of traction, and will likely help your application’s chances of success.

My startup is a not-for-profit or a charity, is it still eligible for the Velocity Program?

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.

What is a startup accelerator program?

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.

When does the MAP accelerator program run?

For 2019, the program will run from June to October.

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. 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.

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.

How hands on and available is the MAP team during the accelerator?

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.

Is it free to apply and take part in MAP programs?

Yes. Unlike other accelerator programs, we don’t charge (either through fees or equity) for participation in our Accelerator program.

How is MAP different to other accelerator programs?

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.

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 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!

Is there a risk of being kicked out of the MAP accelerator?

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!

What happens at the end of the MAP accelerator?

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!

Where is the MAP office?

The MAP office is located at Level 1, 333 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000.

How much space will I get for my startup at the MAP office?

For 2019, we have arranged co-working and have desks available for you to access as needed.


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

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.


Does the MAP office have meeting facilities?

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.

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

Unfortunately in the Velocity program, this is not possible.


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

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