Acceleration Program
Launch your clean energy startup, secure your first customers, and raise your next round
The place to be for Australian energy startups
EnergyLab's Acceleration Program was the first in Australia to focus on energy startups and is now one of Australia's largest acceleration programs of any kind. We have designed our accelerator from the ground up to provide what energy entrepreneurs need to succeed, learning from the world's top cleantech accelerators and adapting those lessons for the Australian context.
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Receive the support and guidance you need to succeed
When you join our Acceleration Program we take on the role of active advisors and will do everything we can to support you
Exposure to over 250 mentors
EnergyLab has an extensive network of mentors from a wide range of backgrounds, such as energy companies, government departments, investment institutions and successful startups. That means that no matter what you need to know or who you need to talk to, there is a good chance that one of our mentors will be able to help you out.
National coworking membership
EnergyLab operates coworking spaces for clean energy entrepreneurs in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Program participants get a permanent desk in one of these coworking spaces and a hot desk membership in the others. More than just a place to get free internet and coffee, this is an opportunity to work alongside like-minded entrepreneurs.
Guidance from a successful entrepreneur
Through the program you will meet regularly with Piers Grove, EnergyLab's Chief Entrepreneur. Piers has successfully founded several successful companies and will draw on his experience to help guide you through the difficult journey of growing a business.
Legal and accounting assistance
Worried about asking a lawyer or accountant a question and receiving a $1,000 bill in the mail? Worry no more. While in our Acceleration Program, you can talk to someone from Aperion Law or KPMG and a receive basic assistance for free. If you need extensive work done you will be provided with a fixed, no-obligation quote at a discounted price.
Masterclasses to build skills in critical areas
Throughout the program, EnergyLab will run a series of masterclasses on a range of topics critical to launching your business and gaining traction. Topics include legal, accounting, sales, marketing, financial modelling, slide deck creation, pitching and capital-raising. Workshops are run by experienced professionals and successful entrepreneurs from our mentor network, alumni and partner organisations.
Assistance raising capital
Raising capital in Australia isn't easy, especially for clean energy startups. We know most investors (angels, VCs, and others) in Australia with an interest in clean energy startups and what you need to do to get their attention. We'll provide you with the training, introductions, exposure and guidance you need to raise the capital your startup needs to grow.
Join our growing network of successful alumni
Chris Thompson
"The EnergyLab community has always been incredibly supportive - they are there to help when things are tough, and celebrate when things are great."
Pete Neal
"EnergyLab is staffed by smart people, they are growing rapidly and they have an extensive network of contacts. If you are a clean-tech startup founder and are looking to scale it don't go anywhere else!"
Carola Jonas
CEO, Everty
"It was great to be in the company of the like-minded CleanTech and Energy entrepreneurs. The community was very important."
David Rochaya
"I think the EnergyLab program is the best Accelerator Program in Australia for energy start-ups"
Three modules to get you to the next level
EnergyLab's 9-month Acceleration Program is structured around three 3-month modules designed to help you achieve one key milestone at a time.
Build
A startup needs something to sell. We'll help you launch a minimal viable product and get it into the market.
Sell
The first dollar of revenue is always the hardest to earn. We'll make your first sale as easy as possible.
Raise
You'll then need capital to grow. We'll provide the training and connections you need to close a round.
Key program dates for 2020
The Acceleration Program revolves around four one-week intensive sprints when participants travel to Sydney and Melbourne to meet EnergyLab's mentors, alumni, partners and investors in each city
1
Orientation Week
17-21 February 2020

During the first week of the program you will get to know the rest of your cohort, attend mentor speed-networking days in Sydney and Melbourne, have drinks with other EnergyLab members and alumni in each city, and attend legal and accounting masterclasses.
2
Sales Week
25-29 May 2020

During Sales Week you will transition from the Build Module to the Sell Module. You will showcase your product/service at public Town Hall events in Sydney and Melbourne, conduct more mentor speed-networking in each city, and attend sales and marketing masterclasses.
3
Capital-raising Week
10-14 August 2020

Capital-raising Week marks the end of the Sell Module and the start of the Raise Module. You will get to talk to VCs, angel investors, successful alumni and grant-giving bodies. You will also attend workshops on financial modelling and slide design as well as receive intensive pitch training.
4
Graduation Week
26-30 October 2020

Graduation Week marks the end of the program. After a dress rehearsal and a Partner Preview you will present to a curated audience at a Startup Showcase in Sydney and Melbourne. We'll also celebrate the end of the program and discuss how EnergyLab can support you as an alumni.
Tap into a national network of advisors
EnergyLab has a national network of over 250 mentors who generously volunteer their time to help startups in our Acceleration Program grow
Dan Sturrock
Investment Director, ARENA
Glenn Platt
Research Director - Energy, CSIRO
John Grimes
CEO, Smart Energy Council
Linda Koschier
Head of Partnerships, Origin Energy
Mary Stewart
CEO, Energetics
Renate Egan
Chair and Co-Founder, Solar Analytics
Ulric Ferner
Principal, Right Click Capital
Zoe Whitton
Head of ESG, Citibank
A national coworking space membership
You can participate in EnergyLab's Acceleration Program from anywhere in Australia. However, if you happen to be based in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane then we can assign you a permanent desk in one of our coworking space. Regardless, you will have hot desk access whenever you're visiting one of those cities.
Meet your support team
You will meet with your support team at least monthly throughout the program to discuss your key obstacles and how we can work together to overcome them
Piers Grove
EnergyLab Co-Founder, Chair and Chief Entrepreneur

Piers is a successful entrepreneur and has an extensive and diverse network.
James Tilbury
EnergyLab Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer

James is an ex-BCG management consultant and well connected with Australian investors, energy utilities, and overseas partners.
Riley McAuliffe
EnergyLab Acceleration Program Manager

Riley runs the Acceleration Program and is plugged into EnergyLab's extensive network of mentors, partners and alumni.
Camille Socquet-Clerc
EnergyLab Communications Manager

Camille is an experienced communications professional and will help you develop and execute a plan for increasing your profile.
Legal and accounting support
KPMG and Aperion Law will run workshops and one-on-one sessions at the start of the program to help you make sure you've set up your business properly and will then be on call for the rest of the program
The application process and dates for the 2020 intake
Applying for the EnergyLab Acceleration Program is easy. Simply fill in an application application form and attend a couple of interviews.
1
Pre-application
Complete ASAP

If you're interested in applying for EnergyLab's Acceleration Program then we would encourage you to first submit a pre-application form. That way we can provide you with some advice before you invest your time filling out the full application form.
2
Full application
Due 7 November 2019

If we believe you have a decent chance of being accepted, we'll encourage you to fill in a full application form. This form is quite long but we analyse every answer to help determine whether our Acceleration Program is the right fit for you at this point in time.
3
Interviews
21-26 November 2019

A small number of applicants will be invited to attend two separate interviews. The Founder Fit interview is a lot like a job interview and assesses the team's fit with the program while the Startup Assessment interview delves into the business potential. Both interviews are 20 minutes long and held in Sydney, Melbourne, or online.
4
Offer
27 November 2019

About half of the interviewed applicants will be provided with an offer to join the program. To help those startups decided whether to accept our offer we'll organise an Info Day on 10 December 2019.
What we're looking for
During the selection process we will assess your application against four key areas. Expand each section below to learn more.
Minimum criteria
To be considered for the Acceleration Program you must meet each of the following three minimum criteria:
  1. Impact: Your startup will help transition Australia and the world to 100% clean energy.
  2. Scaleability: Your business can grow rapidly to become a large company. You are not a project developer, consultancy, agency or non-profit.
  3. Commitment: Your founding CEO (or equivalent) is able to work on the business at least three business days per week and will actively participate in all program activities.
Startup stage
EnergyLab runs four programs to help clean energy entrepreneurs at each step of their startup journey. Acceleration Program applicants are expected to have a refined business idea with some level of customer validation. Earlier-stage applicants will be encouraged to apply for our Pre-Acceleration Program instead.
Founder fit
Unfortunately, we can't help everyone. Therefore, to have the greatest impact, we are more likely to accept a startup if we believe they will benefit from what we have to offer.

In addition to that, we have found that people with the following personal attributes are most likely to be successful startup founders:
  • Willing to do what needs to be done to succeed, even if it's hard or unpleasant
  • Capable of prioritising and moving quickly enough to capture a market opportunity
  • Possess the skills and experience necessary to build at least an MPV themselves
  • Able to find a good balance between taking onboard advice and sticking to a strategy
Business potential
Finally, we assess startup ideas on similar metrics to the rest of the investor community, such as:
  • Product / service: How innovative your offering is.
  • Customer & market: The degree to which your customer needs your solution, how many customers you have, and how fast that number is growing.
  • Competitive advantage: How likely you are to be able to compete against existing competitors and fend off copycats.
  • Team: Whether you come across as a cohesive team and have the right balance of skills and experience to build your business.
  • Business plan: How likely your business is to generate a profit and whether there are any regulatory barriers.
A founder-friendly equity offer
Startups accepted into EnergyLab's Acceleration Program are asked to sign a $50k SAFE* with no discount and no valuation cap. Our SAFE is based on the new Y Combinator SAFE with minimal modifications made to make it compatible for Australia and our program.

The only major addition we've made is a clause specifying that the SAFE will convert to equity at a default valuation of $1,000,000 (giving us 5% equity) after a year if you don't raise at least $100,000 before then. This clause provides an incentive for you to work hard and close a round, which we will help you do. Most startups that raise capital do so at a valuation of at least $2,000,000, so you're likely to give EnergyLab less than 2.5% equity.

Please note that we don't invest cash and the $50k is a nominal value we place on the human and social capital we invest in your business - a conservative estimate we plan to exceed.

We encourage founders to think of this as a equity donation to the community in when they are successful. As a not-for-profit organisation, EnergyLab invests 100% of its profits into supporting clean energy entrepreneurs.

*If you don't know what a Simple Agreement for Future Equity (SAFE) is, read this article - it's an acronym that you'll be seeing a lot.
FAQs
Here are some of the questions we're commonly asked. If there is anything else you would like to know please email [email protected].
Can I participate in the program from <insert location>?
Theoretically, you can participate in the program from anywhere in the world. However, you need to be in a position to travel to Sydney and Melbourne at least four times during the year and be available for weekly calls during business hours on the east coast of Australia. Therefore, we recommend companies located outside Australia and New Zealand relocate to Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane for the duration of the program.
I'm working on <insert technology>, am I eligible to apply?
Possibly! We take a very broad view of clean energy and include any technology that is required in a world powered by 100% renewable sources. Please send email us and we'll tell you for sure.
Do I need a co-founder to apply?
No, we are happy to receive applications from solo founders. However, to make sure your application is competitive, please explain who is helping you in other capacities (e.g. advisors) and what your plans are for bringing others on board.
Is it worth my time applying?
We get it - you have limited time and need to prioritise. That's why we have a pre-application form that only takes 5 minutes to fill out. Head to energylab.org.au/apply, answer a few questions, and we'll be in touch within a week to let you know whether we think it's worth your time filling in the whole application form.
Do I need to quit my day job to participate?
Not entirely. We require program participants to spend at least three business days a week on their startup and attend all program activities. However, we understand some people will need to work one or two days a week to pay the bills.
Do you provide cash?
No, we don't. The 50k SAFE is in exchange for participation in the program. If you need cash we can facilitate an investment of $50,000 from Artesian Venture Partners at a $1 million valuation. However, if you're not happy with that valuation, we encourage you to save up before you join the program if possible, work one or two days a week during the program if you need to, and let us help you raise a round on your own terms.