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Venture Catalyst Space

Applications have been extended due to COVID-19. More information below.

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$10,000 AUD per company

100% equity free

Discover more of our program features

Supporting founders to start and lead space ventures

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Venture Catalyst Space is a globally competitive program which supports founders, entrepreneurs and startups, to develop and grow innovative or disruptive ideas in the space sector.

Delivered by the University of South Australia’s Innovation & Collaboration Centre and supported by the State Government's Space Innovation Fund and the South Australian Space Industry Centre, the program gives founders the support and tools they need to plan and successfully build a scalable and investment ready business.

The one-of-a-kind program delivers tailored support and guidance working with a global pool of expert advisors including former NASA astronaut Pam Melroy, the Australian Space Agency, Airbus, Nova Systems, Fleet, Myriota and the Smart Satellite CRC. 

Participants will also receive one-to-one mentoring from the ICC's three Entrepreneurs in Residence; Kirk Drage and his company LeapSheep; former Techstars Adelaide Managing Director and Co-Founder of Gold Systems, Terry Gold; and serial entrepreneur and founder of Regency Food Services, Regency Staffing and Zen Energy, Richard Turner. 

With South Australia home to the Australian Space Agency and a bustling and thriving startup community, especially within the space and defense sectors, apply now and join our growing community of likeminded startups whose shared experience of successes and failures, benefits everyone.

About the ICC

The Innovation & Collaboration Centre is the University of South Australia’s startup incubator. The ICC engages with the community through the delivery of community events, workshops and programs which draw on the research and professional expertise of UniSA and our partners, to support the generation of new startrups and the growth of existing companies.

COVID-19 UPDATE MAY 2020

We have received a large amount of interest from international and interstate applications this year’s Venture Catalyst Space program. This, coupled with the ongoing global pandemic, has resulted in our decision to delay the start of the program. The general and social enterprise categories will still go ahead as planned. Applications for space will therefore remain open for the foreseeable future, with the program anticipated to commence in summer. With advice changing daily, we will provide updates as information comes to hand.

While we navigate through the pandemic together, we hope you are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones.

For any questions, please email us at venturecatalyst@unisa.edu.au

SISA visa

The Innovation & Collaboration Centre is part of the Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) pilot program to attract promising overseas seed-stage entrepreneurs to develop their concepts in South Australia.

This means temporary visas will be issued to those that meet all the Department of Home Affairs’ criteria and requirements. If you are building a company using space technologies or creating tech, services or products for the space industry, we want to hear from you.

More information

The program includes:

What is a space startup?

A space company utilizes space technology or data.

For example:

  • Using information provided by satellites to monitor drones
  • Using beacons to help grape growers improve the quality of their fruit by monitoring weather conditions, or
  • Using satellites to capture images of earth for mining companies.

The term 'space' no longer means the same as it did five years ago.

In the past, space exploration was just that, going out and exploring the galaxy. In 2020, more companies are contributing to the space economy than ever but utilizing existing space technology to solve real-world problems.

These new companies may not appear to be connected to the traditional space industry as they may only use space signals and data in their own products, typically concerning satellite communications, satellite television, geospatial products and location-based services, but this information can benefit many different industries (examples above).

There are also other areas becoming more accessible to smaller companies such as sending items into space for testing, space manufacturing, asteriod mining and even innovative ideas on how to supply fuel to space missions while in space to lengthen their trip.

Space companies can therefore be those who utilise space data, or those who utilise existing space technology to solve a problem on earth - both contribute to the space industry.

Key dates

Applications open Applications have been extended due to COVID-19.
Applications close Spring 2020. More information to follow.
Notification of application outcome Late 2020
Program starts Summer 
Program ends To be confirmed

For more information and queries, email venturecatalyst@unisa.edu.au.

Meet the startups who have completed the program

Venture Catalyst Space Startups during their 2019 sponsored US trip to SpaceX in California.


Local, national and international startups have participated in the Venture Catalyst Space program over the last two years.

From South Australia, New South Wales, Canada and India, many companies who have completed the program have grown, hired more staff, raised significant capital and ticked off goals faster with the support and network of the University. Companies such as Ping Services (South Australia), Tekuma (New South Wales) and Lux Aerobot (Canada). Read more about these companies

Who should apply for this program?

This program is for startups of all stages, from those with a simple but scalable idea to those with early customers. The program is free, taking no equity, to simply provide the support you need at the stage you are specifically at.

Download our Venture Catalyst Space guide

Our Venture Catalyst Space brochure is a great introduction to the the program, including case studies and testimonials from our startups.

Download brochure

What our startups are saying about the program

Apply now

Applications for 2020 are now open.

Open the information pack below to find out more detailed information about the process.

Frequently asked questions

Applications are open for the forseeable future however all international applicants are strongly advised to make their submission as soon as possible to ensure adequate time to apply for, and process, visas.

If shortlisted, you are likely to be asked to attend a short (45 min) informal interview to expand on your idea and allow the Innovation & Collaboration Centre (ICC) to meet the key members of your team.

We will update this information once the global pandemic information changes.

A meet and greet will be planned prior to the program starting. All successful applications, program leaders and expert advisors will be invited. If successful applications wish to visit the ICC before the meet and greet, we will arrange this at your request.

The founder of the business must be based in South Australia and committed to establishing the business here. If you are based interstate or overseas, there is a stipend and relocation grants available to those eligible.

The stipend of $10,000 AUD can be used for any purpose you choose including towards relocation. Outside of this, there are relocation grants available to eligible companies. The SISA visa is also available. For more information, visit the SISA webpage.

If you application for Venture Catalyst Space is successful, you will be awarded a $10,000 stipend. We will pay 50% to you when you begin the program and the final 50% once we have assessed whether you have met the terms of your contract.

Email us your enquiry at venturecatalyst@unisa.edu.au

We expect you to commit at least 50% of your time to working on the business concept, work from the ICC in Adelaide, and attend all of the workshops and mentoring sessions that are arranged for you. The ICC will support you at all stages of this process.

There are no restrictions; you may use the stipend however you see fit.

This program is 100% equity free. You retain any and all of your equity as a participant of this program.

As mentioned above, the ICC is part of the Supporting Innovation in South Australia (SISA) pilot program that will issue temporary visas to those that meet all the Department of Home Affairs’ criteria and requirements. Please visit the SISA webpage for more information and to apply. As mentioned above, there are also relocation grants available for eligible companies.

Further questions?

If you have any further questions, please email VentureCatalyst@unisa.edu.au

 

South Australian Government

University of South Australia

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