The Sydney Morning Herald reports a new Aussie startup incubator will be starting in March.
Founded by Stephen Baxter (former co-founder of Pipe Networks), River City Labs seeks 70 startups (from Australia, but mainly focused on Queensland). Located in Fortitude Valley, River City Labs seeks to set up a Silicon Valley style Incubator (like the successful Y-Combinator), where startups get assistance from both the other companies in the incubator as well as from investors and board members of the related investment fund.
While Baxter will not be funding the startups himself, he has put aside $10million for investments over the next 5 years.
This is a strong move to replicate the Incubator model, something that has not been used much in Australia.
The start-up scene is less active in Australia, we do have some Venture Capitalists, but we do not have the frantic ecosystem of start-ups, Incubators, Angel Investors, VC funding and Tech Startup reporting, as best illustrated by the TechCrunch/Michael Arrington/Paul Carr kerfuffle last year.
One interesting aspect of the start-up phenomenon is the focus on Queensland. One reason why Australia has a less focused Venture Capital marketplace is that we are generally less geographically focused, The US has NY, Chicago and Silicon Valley, Israel is a small country, and much of the Chinese start-ups have had both a good and bad time lately. Australia has 3 moderate sized cities on the east coast, however Adelaide and Perth has also spawned some large communication companies (iiNet and Exatel for example).
However, if there is a large pool of talent and ideas, as well as an active University system in Queensland, the Incubator may work nicely and may even attract talent from the southern states.
For more information of the River City Lab, check out their website here. Also keep an eye on the site for pitching sessions in the future.