Our FAQs are here to answer any questions you might have about MAP and its programs (including the Startup Accelerator and Velocity Program). Here you’ll find information about selection into our programs, key dates, industry resources and much more.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact the MAP team for assistance.
What is MAP?
The Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP) is an entrepreneurship program based in Australia. Founded in 2012 with the support of The University of Melbourne, MAP was established as the first university-based accelerator in Australia. In 2015, MAP was ranked the 8th best accelerator of its kind in the world by UBI Global, a Swedish research firm that analysed over 300 programs across 64 countries. Our 44 alumni teams have now raised over $30 million in funding, created more than 300 jobs and generated over $40 million in revenue.
What programs does MAP offer?
– The MAP Startup Accelerator is MAP’s flagship program. The Startup Accelerator is an intensive 5-month full-time program which provides startups with $20,000 in funding, office space, structured mentoring and access to a global network of experts and alumni.
– The MAP Velocity Program is a part-time program for earlier stage founders. The program comprises workshops centred around customer discovery and market validation with specialised experiences for both for-profit and for-purpose entrepreneurs.
How do I get involved in a MAP program?
Applications for the MAP Startup Accelerator open in mid-March and Velocity Program open in early-May each year. For detailed information about the selection process, refer to the MAP Startup Accelerator and MAP Velocity Program pages.
What other events does MAP host?
MAP hosts a suite of activities throughout the year. Check out our upcoming events here or take a look at our previous event recordings online for a taste of what we offer. To stay up to date on all upcoming MAP events, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to the fortnightly MAP newsletter.
Does MAP offer internships?
Yes! Internships and jobs do occasionally pop up at MAP and in our community amongst the MAP startups and friends. Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date when vacancies do open, or send us your CV and a cover letter introducing yourself.
Can I drop by the MAP office to say hi?
Unfortunately you’re cannot drop in without an appointment as we work in a shared space with other tenants.
I’d like to speak about my startup or idea with someone from MAP. Who can I speak to?
MAP hosts regular Open Office Hours that are usually run by our Accelerator Manager, Social Impact Manager, Development Manager, MAP Alumni or Entrepreneurs-in-Residence. Check out the Open Office Hours calendar to see if there are any meeting times available.
Please come prepared with i) any startup materials you may have and ii) a list of relevant questions. And in case you’re wondering if we’ll sign any NDAs beforehand, please read The Cult of the NDA.
Can I still reach out for startup support if I’m not eligible or intending to apply for the MAP Startup Accelerator?
Yes, but please be completely upfront with how we can help you. To do this, we’ll need to know specifically what you want to work on (eg. your elevator pitch, your business model etc) and you’ll also need to share some of your details (eg. your progress to date). We can’t promise we’ll always be able to give you extensive feedback or make an introduction, but if you come prepared, we will be better placed to steer you in the right direction. You may get in touch here.
What is the MAP Startup Accelerator?
Once a year, the MAP Startup Accelerator funds a group of startups (currently 10 per intake) and works with them on their businesses. After a rigorous selection process, the 10 startups are awarded access into the Startup Accelerator are provided with:
When does the MAP Startup Accelerator run?
The official program runs for 5 months, typically from June to October. The application process commences with an Information Night held in March, with the selection process spanning 4 key stages. Learn more about the MAP Startup Accelerator and selection process here.
What types of companies does MAP fund?
MAP does not have an investment mandate, however we are looking for companies with high growth potential. These companies come from a broad range of industries and founders from diverse backgrounds. MAP also looks for startups which have the potential for transformative and scalable impact.
How does MAP define a high potential startup?
While we do not have an investment mandate, we look for companies with high growth potential – and by this, we mean startups which have the potential to grow into large and high growth businesses with the potential for transformative and scalable impact.
Most of you won’t be a high-growth or large company yet, but we’re looking for founders with the ambition to get there. Fundamentally, you are solving a big problem in a large market, you have a validated product that addresses that problem, you have plans to build the right team, and processes to get you there.
These are not limited to just tech companies. We’re looking for a broad and inclusive range of startups – for-profit, not-for-profit, social enterprises and other non-traditional companies. So yes, impact founders – we want to help you scale your social or environmental change! Provided you have a deep, unique grasp of the problem area you’re working in and have created a novel, potentially tech enabled product or service, you will be in good hands at MAP.
We do see applications from more small businesses (e.g. from the consulting or hospitality sectors) and we do believe in supporting companies with local ambitions. So even if the startup accelerator is not right for you, we support a wide variety of businesses and founders in our pipeline programs, for example MAP Master Classes, Velocity Program and The Franklins (for female founders).
How much equity does MAP take and how much ownership would I be giving up?
MAP does not take equity in any of the startups in our programs. Instead, we do expect a cultural return. We expect the MAP founders to join our community, asking them to give back by supporting the next generation of startups in our program and by becoming a great ambassador and mentor for MAP. This may include contributing to workshops, mentoring a startup in the next cohort, or making a helpful introduction to a fellow founder in the MAP community.
If selected in the Startup Accelerator, do I need to work full-time on the project? Will my startup need to be based in the MAP offices?
For the duration of the Startup Accelerator (June – October) at least one founder should be working on your company full-time at a minimum of 40 hours a week. In the past, the most effective teams in the MAP cohort have had all co-founders working full-time on the business.
For the duration of the program we also highly recommend that you run your startup from the MAP offices.
“One of the most beneficial things about MAP is being a part of a group of startups that are working through similar challenges and hurdles. As a solo founder, being a part of the MAP cohort gave me access to a community and a close circle of people I could trust. I would highly recommend anyone applying for the program to work as closely with the MAP team, founders and mentors as possible. Set up in the office, make friends with everyone else who works there and share what you’re working on! Take full advantage of the resources that are available to you.” – Kjetil Hansen, founder and CEO of Deliciou.com (MAP16 cohort).
We understand that you will naturally have meetings off-site or trips overseas, however the cohort effect, resources and connections in our community will be incredibly valuable to your business.
I’m interested in the Startup Accelerator but I am based overseas. Can I apply and will I need to relocate to Melbourne?
So long as you meet the eligibility requirements for MAP (see below), you can certainly apply for the Startup Accelerator if you are currently based overseas. For the duration of the program (June – October), you will be required to relocate to Melbourne, Australia. The reason we do this is because you will receive the greatest value from the program if you’re a part of our cohort (see above).
I’m a solo founder. Can I apply?
We have funded solo founders in previous years but we strongly advise that you put together a team to balance your skill-set. The first step you should take is to look at your immediate network – be vocal in expressing that you’d like to bring people (with specific skill sets) into your startup, and try to solicit a warm referral. MAP also hosts a series of events designed to connect and introduce founders in our community. We run regular Founder Open Mic Nights for people who are looking to recruit or join other startups. For information about upcoming community events, sign up to our newsletter.
What’s 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 program?
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 after the program ends in October?
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!
Am I eligible to apply for the MAP Startup Accelerator?
You are eligible for the startup accelerator if at least one founder on your team is:
What are the application deadlines for the MAP18 Startup Accelerator?
Application dates for the MAP18 Startup Accelerator:
What are the application deadlines for the MAP18 Velocity Program
What are the key selection dates and deadlines for the Startup Accelerator?
Key dates for the MAP18 Startup Accelerator selection process include:
What are the key selection dates and deadlines for the Velocity Program?
What if I’m not eligible for the MAP Startup Accelerator?
If you are open to adding an eligible co-founder to your team, there are many events that you can attend to connect with other founders in our community who have University of Melbourne affiliation. Alternatively, if you do not wish to add an eligible member to your team, your application will also be considered for the MAP Velocity Program, which does not have any university affiliation or full-time requirements (see below).
What are the eligibility requirements for the MAP Velocity Program?
The Velocity Program is open, through a competitive application process, to ~30 startups (50% impact focused, 50% profit focused). There is no University of Melbourne affiliation required for this program, and founders may work part-time on their startup. Any startup founder may apply.
How does MAP assess and select its startups?
Selection criteria is covered in detail each year at the MAP Application Workshop. You can refer to our most recent video recording here for further information.
Is my age a factor in your selection process?
What if I have already participated in an accelerator? Can I still apply?
We encourage your application – your success will be determined by the stage of your current idea and suitability for our programs.
What does a good pitch and application look like?
Information about what to include in your application and pitch deck is is covered in detail each year at the MAP Application Workshop. Check out the MAP Master Class on ‘The Art of Pitching’ by MAP mentor Tony Glenning and you can also find example pitch decks and presentations from MAP alumni on the MAP Youtube Channel.
When will I hear back from you regarding my application?
MAP aims to respond to every applicant within 10 days of the deadline, across each of the various stages. We usually receive a high volume of enquiries during the selection period, so please bear with us. Please be sure to keep an eye on your inbox and junk mail if you have firewall settings enabled.
What is the MAP Velocity Program?
The Velocity Program is a part-time, intensive program incorporating a blend of theory and skilled-based workshops, networking, and mentorship. The program is designed to help you through the common sticking points startups face as you test your business model using lean startup and customer discovery techniques developed in Silicon Valley. Open to both for profit and for impact startups, you will leave with clarity and accountability in your startup and a strengthened network of like-minded, motivated founders and mentors. By merging the worlds of startup and social enterprise, we also create a valuable experience for startups focused on social and/or environmental impact.
What stage do I have to be at to apply to the Velocity Program?
Each business is different, and traction (or evidence of interest in your venture from customers and the market) is not the only part of your business considered in the selection process. We also carefully consider your team, and idea. Therefore, we urge startups across all stages of their lifecycle to apply. Generally, the Velocity Program seeks startups between ideation and prototyping stages.
What is the structure of the Velocity Program?
The Velocity Program comprises eight evening workshops from June until December 2017. Of the 8 workshops, half will be focused on delivering startup fundamentals, half will be skills-based workshops, with an additional networking events. The program concludes with a Startup Showcase in February 2019.
What will I get out of the Velocity Program?
You will be better prepared to take your for-purpose or for-profit startup to the next level. You will receive industry-leading mentorship and access to high-profile startup events, linking you into Melbourne’s thriving startup community. You will also experience tailored mentorship and advice for your business. At the conclusion of the program, you will have worked through many versions of the business model canvas, developed a compelling pitch, validated your idea and/or demonstrated traction and worked with other emerging startup founders. You also will have decided if acceleration is the next logical step for your venture, and the particular program that is suited to you.
What types of social ventures do you support at MAP and in the Velocity Program?
We are agnostic about business model. The MAP Velocity Program is aimed at a broad range of ventures that bring about positive change and have ambitions to scale: social enterprises, not-for-profits, and traditional for-profit businesses. We encourage a diverse range of startups with a focus on generating positive social impact to apply. You do not have to have established a legal structure to be eligible.
How is the social stream of the Velocity Program different from other programs out there?
For social impact startups, the Velocity Program brings together the worlds of traditional ‘startups’ and ‘social impact’. We understand that these kinds of business need specialised help to support the social and environmental issues that they advocate for. For participants in the social stream of Velocity, there will be additional workshops dedicated to impact founders.
My startup is a not-for-profit or charity, can I still apply for the MAP Startup Accelerator or MAP Velocity Program?
Absolutely! We would love to receive your application.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to apply for a program… Is there another way to stay involved?
MAP offers a range of impact entrepreneurship events and activities that can help your business. Our Master Classes, Visionary Series and Public forums will provide you with inspiration and guidance. Even if you don’t feel your startup is suited to the Velocity Program or Startup Accelerator, we want to meet you and include you in our community.
I’m a female founder, how can MAP help me?
MAP is committed to supporting female founders at all stages of their startup journey. The Franklins brings together a community of seasoned and first-time female entrepreneurs for a range of networking, mentoring and learning opportunities. Learn more about The Franklins or register your interest with our Development Manager, Lisian.
Where do I meet more women like me?
In addition to The Franklins (see above), MAP is also host to one of the largest Female Founders Meetups in the world. Connect online or register to attend an upcoming event.
I have a startup/idea and I need help with IP/Accounting/Legal/PR/Marketing/Fundraising/Equity split/Misc issues. Can MAP help?
Each year MAP hosts a series of Master Classes covering essential aspects of running a successful startup. Register for our upcoming Master Classes to attend in person, or check out the MAP YouTube Channel to catch up on past Master Classes, spanning topics such as:
We also recommend these books covering startup fundamentals:
I am an external supplier or a mentor and I’d love to get involved with the programs and it’s startups. How can I get involved?
We appreciate your your interest. We will do our best to accomodate requests, but due to high demand, we can not guarantee that all suppliers and mentors will be invited to actively support the MAP program. If you think you could help out, please contact our Accelerator Manager, Maxine Lee, with a brief background and an outline of how you’d like to get involved.
Who can I contact for further information?
If you have remaining questions about the following areas, please reach out to the members of the MAP team:
Maxine Lee, Accelerator Manager: MAP Startup Accelerator and Mentoring opportunities.
Abena Ofori, Social Impact Manager: Social Impact at MAP and the Velocity Program.
Lisian Teh, Development Manager: Skills development, Master Classes and support for Female Founders.
Katie Liddicoat, Head of Signature Events, Partnerships and Stakeholder Engagement: Corporate Partnerships, Events and the Melbourne Entrepreneurship Gala