You could hear the noise in the lift on the way up. Over 150 people were packed into the open area of Muru-D, Telstra’s startup accelerator, awaiting the announcement of the ten teams who would participate in the second class of the Muru-D academy. For the teams that were selected, there was excitement. For those that didn’t make it, disappointment.
The Muru-D academy is a startup accelerator program supported by Telstra. It offers entrepreneurs $40,000 and six months of business mentoring and active development in exchange for six percent equity in the fledgling business. I joined the program as a mentor for the first class so was interested to get an early look at those involved in the second intake.
Around 20 or so new teams had been corralled at the Muru-D office in Sydney’s Paddington over a weekend. They were put through their paces in a “bootcamp” – an intensive round of meetings, instruction and pitching designed to help the Muru-D judges determine those most likely to succeed. Across the weekend, the startup teams were questioned, provoked, supported and challenged. It is certainly not a process for the faint hearted.
But talking to a number of the participants, it was clear that the bootcamp process was worthwhile – even more experienced teams learned a great deal.
All-in-all there were 11 teams selected to participate in the academy process. That was one more than expected – but clearly there was value to be found. This rounds teams include:
- FanFuel – a sponsorship marketplace where brands search, measure and secure their sponsorship deal.
- FreightExchange – a digital marketplace for freight transporters to sell their unused capacity to businesses that need to ship goods.
- Wattblock – quick, customised, web-based energy-saving road maps for residential and commercial strata buildings.
- Disrupt Surfing – custom surfboards made using 3D modelling.
- You Chews – an online catering platform, making it easy to find great food for meetings and events.
- TripALocal – an online platform that connects travellers with local hosts for authentic local experiences.
- Peep Digital – an intelligent, phonetic English technology platform to help children, youths and adults struggling with English pronunciation and comprehension.
- VClass – the first ever hybrid education platform that combines the power of internet, VoIP and traditional pen and paper to create an online teaching experience like face to face.
- Instrument Works – developers of wireless, portable sensors and instruments to build the internet of things for research.
- CroudSourceHire – a pre-hire assessments marketplace platform that crowdsources industry experts to assist with assessment of jobs for companies.
- SoccerBrain – making it easy for anyone to coach a team, providing tailored, interactive training sessions week-by-week for coaches and players.
The teams kick off their acceleration program in the coming weeks. It will be interesting to see where this wave takes them. And indeed, where it takes Telstra and the Muru-D team.