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Where Qantas is putting their startup in cash

Nine startups and extensions.

The launch of Green was just one of the topics discussed when Fairfax Media spent a day sitting on the AVRO accelerator program from Qantas, developed in partnership with Slingshot.

Now in its second year, the AVRO program includes nine new companies and "expansions", which Qantas classifies as new companies that already have clients and revenues, selected from among 350 applicants.

The program lasted more than 12 weeks this year, culminating in a demonstration day on Tuesday, when the new companies showed the progress they had made in the program.

The businesses receive up to $ 150,000 of funds and have the opportunity to obtain additional investment from Qantas, Slingshot Venture Fund and the investment partners of Qantas.

This year's cohorts are Rod Harys, Aaron Warburton and Kirill Litovchenko of Fan +, Starsha Green of Suite 24, Will Morris of Airboard, Jeremy Cox, Silvia Hope, Nick Brozovic and Daniel Cox of AmazingCo, Evan Wong, Paul Wench and James They have Checkbox, Guy Saxelby and Piers Symons from Earlytrade, Andrew Joyce and Peter Marchiori from Found, Alyona Medelyan and Nathan Holmberg from Thematic and Andrew Moore and Siobhan Lyndon from AMSL.

& # 39; Open to new ideas & # 39;

Andrew Joyce, co-founder of recruiting startup Found, says the benefits of being part of the Qantas program for startups and the expansions involved are access to the airline's experience and developing a relationship with key executives.

"We had not done anything like this before, but we were excited to work with Qantas and aspire to have them as customers," he says.

Rob Marcolina, strategy, innovation and technology executive at Qantas, says the airline also benefits from the program.

"A few years ago, we had focused on internal and recognized, we did not have a monopoly on good ideas internally and we wanted to create a source externally," he says. "We thought that launching an accelerator was launching the Qantas brand as open to new ideas."

Qantas seeks innovation from its accelerator program.

Qantas seeks innovation from its accelerator program.

Companies in the program participate in a formal curriculum administered by Slingshot and are also assigned mentors within Qantas, "expertise in the domain" to help shape and energize companies, in addition to having access to "a partner massive corporate "to help the scale of new companies.

"We have access to information, whether it's about their products, services or new business models, if we can take advantage of 350 or 500 ideas, we can take advantage of the innovative thinking around our business," he says. "The other impact for Qantas is the internal impact that is unlocking the spirit of innovation internally, from a financial perspective it is very early, but we can participate in a particular financial side with a company in which we are making a commercial agreement."

Marcolina says the program has its full acceptance to the top at Qantas, with the new companies launching executive director Alan Joyce.

The corporate advantage

He says that as a large company, Qantas has an advantage over venture capital firms and angel investors.

The executive president of Qantas, Alan Joyce.

The executive president of Qantas, Alan Joyce.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

"I think we have a brand," says Marcolina. "We have many new companies that want to work with Qantas and be associated with Qantas, we have a customer base, a customer base ready to take advantage of and scale up, we have a history of innovation, taking risks, cannibalizing ourselves when I need, as when we launched Jetstar. "

Other large companies such as Telstra have also established start-up accelerators.

"I'm sure many more will, but the financial objective is just one of our objectives," says Marcolina.

"You should think about the objectives of an innovation program, obviously you would like to earn money, but that is the third or fourth objective for us, we understand that these companies take time to scale and get the returns you want, that's what we need a startup business. "

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Cara is the small business publisher of Fairfax Media based in Melbourne.

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