These past six months, I’ve had the privilege of being Program Director of BlueChilli and Coca-Cola Amatil’s Xcelerate program.
I moved back from San Francisco to lead this accelerator because I realised I wanted to create the change I wanted to see in the world here at home: to help create jobs and an ecosystem I was excited to work in.
Here’s what I’ve found:
Australians and New Zealanders are hungry for the opportunity to make a big difference in their economies, their communities, and the world we all live in.
In San Francisco, I was surrounded by ambitious founders, big ideas, and constant possibility — but I’ve never seen the kind of passion, authenticity and integrity I’ve found in this cohort.
The Xcelerate founders are deeply connected to, and have lived, the problems they are committed to solving.
These are companies that will make the planet greener, the population healthier and more connected, industries more efficient and innovative, and workplaces safer and fairer. This program has just been the nudge they needed to get started.
Being in Xcelerate means they’ve been supported every step of the way by the incredible group of excited adults here at BlueChilli: our devs, designers, PMs, EiRs, coordinators and a very generous body of advisors. There’s not a single member of the team at BlueChilli that hasn’t been involved in the evolution of these projects.
Marrying the resources and vision of Coca-Cola Amatil with these startups has been an enormous advantage, from the generous leaders who mentored in the program, to the departments who piloted the program’s scaleups.
I have been very lucky in my Amatil counterpart, Natalie Collins, who has been such a wonderful partner and a true champion for these founders.
When I accepted the job to lead Xcelerate, I told our CEO, Sebastien that I would run the program with a strong grounding in mindfulness.
After four years of coaching startups at the other end of burnout, helping them navigate terrible work/life balance, broken relationships and depression, I wanted to tackle this all too common situation before it took hold. These founders took to the training like ducks to water, taking on check-ins, meditation, and more than a little poking around their thought patterns and self-talk.
The resulting Xcelerate cohort is measured, thoughtful and aware, and as many of you would have observed on our Showcase evening, poised and graceful in stressful situations.
I’m excited to contribute these mindful founders to our ecosystem, as ambassadors for the benefits of addressing not just the health of their businesses, but themselves as well.
And so to the Xcelerate graduating class of 2018, I say: Congratulations!
Your hard work has certainly paid off, and I have no doubt you are going to do remarkable things with these businesses. The world is a better place that your companies exist, so keep striving to realise those visions. We’re with you every step of the way.
Xcelerate Graduating Class 2018
- AirTracker is a hardware/software startup that monitors environmental conditions in cities at scale, with deployments in five countries, Airtracker have opened a $1M seed round
- GetOutdoors reduces employee stress and increases productivity through it’s bot and curated walk templates to help people get outdoors!
- GlobalWhere combines a fatigue monitoring wearable and unique IP to manage fatigue in high stress work environments. Opening a $600k seed round in 2019Q1.
- JobWords reduces the cost of recruitment by 4x, with Accor Group having a 100% ROI on their annual fee within their first month of use
- PICMI is a two sided marketplace connecting fruit growers and seasonal workers, reducing the management cost of workers by 900 hours per season per farm.
- Plastx is a two sided marketplace in SE Asia to connect contract workers with plastics suppliers to reduce pollution and increase recycling rates with strong traction, PlastX are raising $950k in early 2019.
- Spark puts the spark back in your date-nights. A subscription service which takes the hassle away from couples going out. Growing 18% week on week, Spark is raising $500k to drive customer growth.
- Sparrows is a hardware logistics tracker for sensitive freight with a data analytics and alert platform. Sparrows have four paying customers and a strong pipeline, already saving one customer over $100k by preventing a lost truck load.
- Triiyo transforms parental leave and makes equality in the workplace practical. With early traction, they have cemented themselves as a vital platform to retain recent parents.