BlueChilli founder and CEO Eckersley-Maslin today announced that the Australian accelerator program now provides a full stack engineering team to each startup at no cost to the startup for all its programs.
The new model, trialled in the recent CityConnect program, provides a pod of designers, engineers, product managers and user experience experts to each startup going through their accelerator program who work with the founder to build and validate their product. These team members are in addition to the existing Entrepreneurs in Residence who mentor each founder through their 156 step accelerator curriculum.
With only 7% of the population considered technical, BlueChilli’s model aims to support a broader section of the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“By investing the tech to support new CEOs, we believe we can prototype and build products faster to help them get their first customer, which helps them with their first investment to hire their first employee” Eckersley-Maslin says.
Skype, Slack, Github, Basecamp and even Canva have acknowledged the benefit in outsourcing some if not all of their original MVP builds. In a recent blog, co-founder of Canva Melanie Perkins stated “using a software development company was really useful in those early Fusion days” as it enabled her company to attract the right CTO.
“We also acknowledge that we had some issues in the past with delivering on expectations.” Eckersley-Maslin said, “so we took that feedback on board and made some significant changes to how we now work with our founders.”
CityConnect alumni and founder of Coworkally, Jess Blomfield states that without this support she would not have been able to launch her startup ”If this hadn’t been available I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, I’d be sitting in my PhD lab and wondering about my idea.” she says “Personally for me, it’s been so rewarding working with the team. You feel like they’re behind you all the way”.
By providing the technology team for free, rather than on a fee-for-service basis like it did in the past, the accelerator aims to align the objectives and to have transparent expectations.
“I want our UX designers, product managers and engineers to be able to sit down for a few hours to brainstorm ideas with our founders, just to see what happens” Eckersley-Maslin continues “ This was impossible under the old hourly-invoiced model and now I feel we’ve released the reigns of creativity.”
BlueChilli was recently named the number one accelerator in Australia for the SheStarts program, now in it’s second cohort. BlueChilli invests the team to build a product over 12 weeks and provides $25k in cash in exchange for 15% equity. Up to $250k is invested in selected later stage startups who complete the accelerator program.