"The Optus Innov8 Seed Program gives Australian startups access to seed funding, mentoring, networking and dedicated co-working spaces to support their business growth and progression to Series A funding," Optus said.
Optus has also partnered with Fishburners - a volunteer run not-for-profit support organisation for startup entrepreneurs that operates facilities in Sydney and Melbourne - to provide the selected startups with dedicated co-working spaces to share ideas and host regular events where they can network with industry experts and potential investors.
The program will support early stage startups with innovative or disruptive digital solutions, either in proof of concept or advanced development stage, in the areas of mobility and convergence, with a focus on health, education and media.
"We have launched the Seed Program to further accelerate digital innovation in Australia, help keep talent on our shores and make it easier for startups to source local funding and support in the early development stages," Bryan said.
He added: "We'll continue to evolve the program based on feedback and hope it will give local talent an incentive to grow their business within Australia, and serve as a stepping stone to venture capital funding."
To be eligible for the Optus Innov8 Seed Program startups must be a registered company and based in Australia, have established a team, have developed solid business strategies, be able to demonstrate a working prototype and meet the program's key digital focus areas.
Startups can be referred for the program from July via incubators or accelerators, or apply directly via 'pitch events' to be held at Fishburners and York Butter Factory throughout the year. The first pitch event will be held in late July. Details will be announced closer to the time.
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