UNSW Founders 10x Accelerator Cohort #5. That’s a wrap!

UNSW Founders 10x Program Manager, Melissa Pye, reflects on designing and delivering the 2020 10x Accelerator program delivered for the first time 100% digitally.

For the past seven months I’ve existed in a super focussed zone recruiting and selecting startups to participate in the 10x Accelerator Cohort #5. The last 10 weeks were spent facilitating the program, which culminated in our exciting Demo Night on Wednesday 28 October.  

While the startups are building different tech offerings in different industries, they are all focused on having a positive impact in the world. 

The six startups accelerated for global success 

Aerologix - using drone technology to make asset management safer and more cost effective while providing an additional source of income to drone pilots. 

Amphora Data - helping subscription businesses offer better value and tailored offers to their customers by simply make use of their extensive data. 

Bandicoot Imaging Science - helping companies bring their fabrics & materials to life online (clothing, textiles etc) to reduce the inconvenience and cost associated with returned goods while reducing landfill from returned and unwanted items. 

Block42 - providing a fun and easy way for school aged children to develop the skills of the future including creativity, design thinking and collaboration through their 3D modelling and animation software 

Contactile - providing robotic equipment with the human sense of touch leading to greater efficiency and human safety across a diverse range of industries including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, e-commerce and fulfilment and even space.  

PV Master - technology that allows solar farms to more accurately forecast energy output which will contribute to more of the world's energy being supplied by renewables. 

Online delivery = many benefits 

I was dubious and curious as to how we could add bucket loads of value to accelerate our teams without meeting each other in person. It’s been a requirement for our previous programs to spend the entire 10 weeks together, face-to-face, shoulder-to-shoulder in our incubation space on campus. 

Yet there were many benefits for delivering content and congealing a cohort online. The obvious benefits - being able to have work attire on top and beach attire down below and “leaving work” at 7pm and being on the coach with a glass of Rose at 7:01pm - plus many more. 

  1. Faraway founders ⏰ 

For the first time, founders could participate in the program from anywhere in the world if they could attend the sessions scheduled in AEST. We had founders zooming in from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, NSW Central Coast, China, India and Ireland. OK, so we didn’t see much of the founder based in Dublin, but his team regularly updated him on learnings. 

  1. Online delivery = speakers from everywhere 🌏 

Most exciting was that we could attract top speakers from around the world. And so many of them were happy to share their pearls of wisdom.  As a result, our startups benefited from connecting with other founders, investors and domain experts from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Singapore, the US and Peru. 

Cohort Learnings 📈 

Each week we focussed on specific content that would support the growth trajectory of startups and the founders. The topics included storytelling, fundraising, marketing, product strategy, sales, business models, partnerships & pilots, presentation skills and pitching. We also ran two workshops during the program to introduce the founders to the notion of a “high performing team” being critical for success. 

Metrics that Matter # 

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” Peter Drucker.  

One of the cornerstones of the program is helping the teams to establish what metrics to focus on in order to move the business forward. Each Monday they would share their metrics and what they had achieved each week. These included everything from sales revenue to number of customers onboarded.   

Program stats 🔢 

  • 6 teams, 18 participants 

  • 4 team members have PhDs from UNSW 

  • 19 degrees awarded from UNSW 

  • 66% of the teams had participated in other Founders programs 

  • 96 people involved with program delivery 

  • 86+ zoom calls during the program 

  • 122 Zoom hours 

  • 57 sessions/workshops 

  • 70+ Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) sessions 

  • 45+ mentor session 

Digital Demo Night 🎟 

Last Wednesday, 175+ people tuned in from the comfort of their home and office or home office, to find out more about the teams as they pitch their startups. We’ve had wonderful feedback on the amazing founders and their startups, along with how we were able to get a real sense of human warmth in a digital environment. Another hit was the networking afterwards with many guests excited about the startups and offering to support them on their journey. 

If you missed out on Demo Night, or would like to relive it, click here. 

What our participants are saying 💬 

Cohort #5 has been an awesome experience from a program facilitation perspective, and what is most rewarding is hearing the positive impact 10x has had on the participants. Here’s some from Dave Monaghan, CEO & Co-founder of Bandicoot. 

“To name a few major impacts and differences: 

  • Strong, well organised story for pitching along with a succinct elevator pitch 

  • Deeper understanding of what our customer value is and how to communicate it 

  • 147 new strategic connections 

  • 5 new high-value collaborations 

  • And best of all the new friendships made at UNSW Founders and all the Founders from the Cohort”