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First university startup incubator launches

INCUBATE launch night was a huge success attracting over 100 students and staff from the University of Sydney to discuss entrepreneurship and startups on campus.

The panel members and INCUBATE mentors Matt Barrie, Nikki Durkin of 99dresses and Matt Byrne, founder of Curicon.com and Randal Leeb-du Toit, Head of Commercialisation at the University of Sydney discussed topics from starting businesses in Sydney, Aussies living in Silicon Valley to the death of print media.

The night kicked off with a quick presentation about the program before diving straight in to the panel discussion and audience questions. The topics that incited the most discussion among panel members and the audience were, however, the lack of women-foccussed startups and the future of education and how much of it will be online.

After the panel discussion we feature two students who pitched their startups to our panel members for feedback. Check out Ben Sand’s Brainworth video pitch on his kickstarter page.

Check out our interactive social media summary of the event with Storify

INCUBATE was originally set to fund four teams however just as the launch night panel was wrapping up, Matt Barrie, Freelancer.com CEO and INCUBATE mentor, pledged to donate $20,000 which has now doubled the number of available spots for incubator teams.

 “I think it’s a great program and the guys have shown a lot of initiative to put it together. I put up the matching funds because I felt that 8 teams would be better than 4 going through the program. A great outcome would be to get one or two real companies to graduate! Then future success will be self fulfilling.” – Matt Barrie

INCUBATE was started by myself, James Alexander, a Sydney University Engineering student and student union Board Director Mina Nada.

We realised there was almost no support for entrepreneurial-minded students and alumni to get funding for their startup businesses on campus. So with the amazing help of the University of Sydney Union (USU) who believed in INCUBATE and were able to get the program up and running really over an extremely short period of time.

We’ve had a great response from the university community with alumni often saying things like ‘I wish this existed when I was at university!’

We modelled INCUBATE off other leading incubators such as ‘YCombinator’ in Silicon Valley and similar university based programs like ‘StartX’ at Stanford. As this, in our eyes, will be considered our pilot offering, the program with be shaped by the first startups we accept – and we hope to encourage the very best to apply for this first intake.

Applications are now open. Please get in touch with me if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you at future events and your application!

James Alexander

INCUBATE Program Director and Co-founder

Randal Leeb-du toit, Mina Nada, Nikki Durkin, James Alexander, Matt Barrie and Matt Byrne

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