Optus-Innov8 Seed Program leads US$730,000 investment in 121cast and Venuemob

Optus-Innov8 Seed Program leads US$730,000 investment in 121cast and Venuemob

The Optus-Innov8 Seed Program has announced its first investments since the program began, contributing $250,000 to a total of $700,000 that has gone into Australian startups 121cast and Venuemob.

Like all seed programs, Optus-Innov8 provides funding, mentoring, networking and a space to work in — surrounded by other startup founders, their teams and often advisors.

Venuemob is a startup focusing on the venue booking space. The first problem it’s tackling is making it easier to book venues for parties and functions in the Melbourne area. Venuemob received AU$450,000 (or about US$470,000).

121cast‘s product is a radio feed that uses personal information to deliver a uniquely tailored content to users — yet another startup continuing this century’s disruption of the old model of one-size-fits-all broadcasting. 121cast received AU$250,000, which is around US$260,000.

Both rounds were led by SingTel Innov8. Optus, the second largest telecom in Australia (though lagging far behind Telstra in infrastructure), is wholly owned by SingTel.

It wasn’t long ago that founders would be hard pressed to find funding in Australia, but now the country has a large range of startup incubators, accelerators and more traditional venture capitalists.

Optus-Innov8 Seed Program will take its next round of applications in January 2013, so if you’re a would-be Australian founder, it’s time to get cracking on that prototype.

SingTel got into the VC game in 2010 with a US$150 million fund. SingTel has invested in General Mobile under its Innov8 arm and has partnered with Joyful Frog Digital Incubator to run a startup competition in TechStars-style that will work with 15 Southeast Asian startups to build their products over a 100-day program.

Image Credit: AFP/Getty Images

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