Award-winning startup program reveals new cohort of young tech founders with global ambitions

The award winning startup program, INCUBATE, has revealed its latest cohort of startups, driven by leading young technology entrepreneurs and a new key partnership with Lenovo.

Students in the program are starting companies at a younger age with global ambitions and more importantly succeeding, despite the often challenging Australian startup environment.

“INCUBATE proves that with more support from universities, industry mentors and experienced seed investors, young entrepreneurs can launch innovative and globally competitive tech companies from local university campuses.” says James Alexander, Founder and Program Manager of INCUBATE.

“We’ve seen great talent come through the program. Basketball Forever, from class 6, has over 700,000 online fans; Breathewell from class 4 just raised $400 thousand from local investors and Tzukuri from class 3 have now raised over $1 million from leading US and Australian Investors,” says Mr Alexander.

Basketball Forever is just one of eight startup companies accepted in the latest intake of the INCUBATE Accelerator Program at the University of Sydney.

Startups complete an intensive 14-week program of mentoring, workshops and development to accelerate their business, test their market and be put in front of investors.

“The connections to the broader startup community that INCUBATE provides through first-class mentors has already opened doors we could never have foreseen.” said Alex Sumsky, Co-Founder and CEO of Basketball Forever.

Three years ago, Alex, then aged just 17, started creating visual basketball-related content with a unique aesthetic style. Today, his team has built up a community that averages 23 million unique impressions per month across all social platforms.

Their vision is to be a globally leading media sports business, powered by a custom technology platform.

Similarly, the Co-Founders of Fluid Education, Giorgio Doueihi and Declan Scott, met and developed their product whilst they were still at high school.

Having started University this year,  they are now getting the chance to develop their business as part of INCUBATE.

School communities are the target market for their ‘Backpack’ app which is already established at St Aloysius College with over 1000 active students, bringing their timetables, calendars and class resources together into one app.

The young Founders selected as part of class 6 come from a variety of backgrounds, industries and degrees but they all have a common goal.

To build a business that is scalable, uses technology and tackles a big problem to build something that people want.

FirstStep Co-Founders started investing when they were 13 and realised other Australians want their kids to begin investing their money early, “Our micro-investments mobile app lets you automatically invest your loose change from everyday transactions into a diversified, low-cost investment portfolio.” Says Co-Founder, Vanaja Sriskandarajah.

"INCUBATE has helped us transform our fledgling startup to one with serious potential to disrupt the status quo of traditional wealth management in Australia."  

INCUBATE also announces a new Technology Partnership with Lenovo Australia and New Zealand. “We’re excited to partner with Lenovo to help support our startups with the latest tech gear and to help us raise awareness about entrepreneurship as a valid career path for Australian students,” says Mr Alexander.

“INCUBATE is a fantastic program that gives Australian startups the opportunity to get in front of some of the country’s leading veteran entrepreneurs,” said Matt Codrington, Managing Director, Lenovo Australia and New Zealand.

“Many startups are struggling to get the support and funding they need and it’s through programs like this that these innovative businesses and talent can be discovered.

“We’re delighted to support these bright-minded and determined entrepreneurs by supplying them with their technology needs.”

Register here to see the end-of-program pitches of the eight startups on Demo Day on October 13 at the University of Sydney.