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Credit: Snapshot from unswfounders.com

UNSW, Virescent team up to launch Australia’s biggest climate tech accelerator

TRaCE (Trailblazer for Recycling & Clean Energy) and Virescent Ventures have joined forces, injecting $1.6 million into Australian climate tech startups through the UNSW Founders Climate 10x Program.

This collaboration marks the largest investment ever made in climate tech startups via an accelerator program in Australia. It comes at a critical time, with increasing urgency around climate action and renewed governmental focus on advancing climate innovation.

The Climate 10x program aims to uncover Australia’s up-and-coming climate tech startups that are breaking some of the biggest barriers to decarbonisation. The extent of involvement is at the discretion of the participants, yet it is emphasized that the more effort invested in the program, the greater the potential outcomes.

A typical week within the program encompasses various activities:

  • Dedication to the startup’s development
  • Meetings with the Program Manager/EIR lasting 45 minutes
  • Engagements with assigned mentors spanning between 30 minutes to an hour
  • Attendance at workshops, held for 3 hours on Wednesday mornings
  • Allocating time for progress tracking and goal setting, typically lasting between 30 minutes to an hour
  • Participation in occasional social events

This year, the program is on the hunt for more startups looking to move the needle on decarbonisation, accelerate the transition to renewables and strengthen our nation’s circular economy. Virescent Ventures, which has invested on behalf of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, is Australia’s largest dedicated climate tech venture capital firm, investing in startups that address the biggest emissions sources.

Eleni Assargiotis, Program Manager of UNSW Founders Climate 10x program says: “Virescent Ventures supported our inaugural launch of the Climate 10x program last year which was a huge success, providing founders from across the country with the capital, commercial perspective and strategic vision that they require to go on and make their business a viable success. 

“This renewed support and investment, alongside the ongoing support from TRaCE, serves as an important vehicle to ensure promising climate tech startups can transform their solutions into high-impact, scalable tech companies. UNSW continues to be Australia’s most entrepreneurial university and we can’t wait to uncover the next big innovation in the climate space.”

To be eligible for Climate 10x:

  • You are a founder or co-founder of a currently operating startup (You can be from any Australian University, organisation or completely independent)
  • You have an Australian registered company (Pty Ltd) to enter the accelerator phase of the program
  • You are focused on developing an early-stage climate technology within renewable energy, energy efficiency, low emissions technologies, or supporting technologies
  • You have or are progressing towards proof of concept, prototype or MVP
  • You have some market validation through customer engagement or take-up
  • Have clean IP ownership
  • Can commit to participating in the program for its duration approximately 12 hours per week during the 10-week Accelerator phase

Interested startups are encouraged to submit their expression of interest for the program, with applications open from 12th April.  Successful applicants will receive between $120,000 and $330,000 in funding alongside ongoing mentorship, access to facilities and UNSW Founder’s global investing community to go and build their viable startup.

Blair Pritchard, Partner at Virescent Ventures says: “Australia needs to do a better job of channelling its world-class university talent towards solving the biggest challenges of climate change, and accelerator programs are an important catalyst for that. 

“We’re proud to support TRaCE & UNSW Founders on its mission to solve a decade’s worth of climate change in just four years. Climate change affects all of us and every aspect of the economy – the investment opportunity for these startups is unparalleled.”

More details on the Climate 10x program can be found here

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Yajush Gupta

Yajush Gupta

Yajush is a journalist at Dynamic Business. He previously worked with Reuters as a business correspondent and holds a postgrad degree in print journalism.

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