An industry organisation is offering to invest cash in ten start-up businesses that specialise in innovative technologies for the mining sector.
RIIT (Resource Innovation and Information Technology) will run an accelerator program where ten start-ups will receive cash investments, administrative support, education and mentorship with the aim of getting their new technology to market.
A spokesperson for RIIT said in a statement, “The Australian resources sector is challenged by declining productivity and international competitiveness. The industry recognises that one way to improve productivity is through the use of new technology.”
“However, the industry has traditionally been slow to adopt and integrate new technology products. We propose that a solution is to run a technology accelerator focused on the resources sector.”
“The technology startups coming out of the accelerator will create jobs, Australian export income, and investment returns. They will also assist the local resources sector to operate more efficiently and become more internationally competitive.”
“There is currently a low acceptance rate for emerging technologies in the resource sector outside of traditional pathways. The industry tends to focus on research-intensive technologies that take 10 to 15 years to develop, rather than on software and IT solutions that can be built and integrated in a matter of months. This makes sales of new technology solutions into resources companies quite challenging.”
“Australian startups also face significant funding challenges. Per capita investment capital available in Australia is just 5% of that in the United States.”
“As a result, low-cost, high-productivity technology start-ups often find the resource sector a very difficult proposition and tend to focus elsewhere, such as on consumer mobile products.”
Industry accelerator programs have been gaining momentum worldwide with the first of their breed starting in America’s Silicon Valley.
Companies emerging from Y-Combinator, one of Silicon Valley’s first technology accelerator programs, now have an estimated market capitalisation of more than US $30 billion.
Companies graduating from Surge, a 3-year-old accelerator focussed on energy and water solutions, have already created more than 135 new jobs.
The end of RIIT’s accelerator program will culminate in a “graduation” Demo Day event at which the startups demonstrate their products to investors, customers, press, and resources industry representatives.
For more information on how to apply for the accelerator program visit the website: http://riit.com.au/