Science students and alumni selected for Startup Accelerator

Four Faculty of Science alumni and students are among the ten start-up teams selected for the 2017 MAP Startup Accelerator program.

Damien George, Akshat Khatri, Omer Nazeer and Sarah Last and their teams will receive $20,000 funding each, as well as office space, mentoring, and opportunities to pitch in Melbourne and Silicon Valley.

Omer Nazeer is a Bachelor of Science student from Sri Lanka and Co-Founder of Cabaro, which creates refined and elegant mechanical and quartz watches using high quality components. With every timepiece sold, they allocate a set budget which is transferred to NFP cooperatives to help educate and empower poverty-stricken children in developing countries. He is thrilled to be a part of MAP17.

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Omer Nazeer, Bachelor of Science student and Co-Founder of Cabaro.

“To be given the opportunity to rub shoulders with industry heavyweights in the start-up arena is indeed a truly exhilarating experience. I’ve learned so much in so little time, and I can’t wait to see what’s more in store for me. I’m glad to be given an opportunity to be a part of this family and look forward to working together,” he said.

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Cabaro creates watches using high quality components.

Science graduate Akshat Khatri is Technology Support & Co-Founder of FirstStep - a FinTech solution to help users save and invest their money. He is looking forward to working with his team, as well as getting to know and exchanging ideas with the other start-ups.

“Over the coming months, we will be surrounded by talented and energetic individuals and we aim to make the best use of it,” he said.

“Having the guidance and support of exceptional mentors will help in shaping our business strategies towards the best possible outcomes and we will be part of unparalleled networking opportunities within the Australian start-up scene.”

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Akshat Khatri is Faculty of Science alumna and Co-Founder of FirstStep.

Recent Science graduate Sarah Last is Co-Founder of MimicTec, which improves poultry farming productivity through a world-first agricultural infrastructure product that mimics maternal care on commercial farms. Their patent pending technology decreases livestock stress, improves feed conversion and weight gain, and decreases electricity usage on farms, increasing productivity and saving poultry farmers money.

Sarah is very excited about being part of MAP17. 

"I've been following MAP for a few years now," she says. "I have a lot of respect for the companies and people involved. I like their ethos of growing the Melbourne startup ecosystem, it both pushes entrepreneurs to think bigger but also is able to be highly practical and supportive."

Dr Damien George completed his PhD in Theoretical Physics. He is also a former Postdoctoral Researcher at Nikhef and Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Cambridge. He is Founder of George Robotics which builds and manufactures software and hardware that makes sophisticated electronics devices more accessible and more productive. George Robotics’ MicroPython software and Pyboard microcontroller boards enable programmers – from first time coders to aeronautical engineers – a more effective environment for controlling robotics and electronic systems.

MAP Accelerator Manager, Maxine Lee, said the diversity of the cohort was encouraging.

"This is the sixth intake of startups for MAP and we are excited by the calibre, diversity and potential of the startups that will participate in the Accelerator. The ideas and innovation across sectors reinforces the strength and creativity of Australian startups in addressing everyday problems."

MAP17 was officially launched on Wednesday 31 May, 6.00pm at a networking cocktail reception in the Plaza Ballroom, Regent Theatre. Entrepreneurs, VCs, corporate leaders and startup supporters were in attendance and each startup pitched their business idea. 

34 companies have graduated from the MAP Startup Accelerator since 2012 and between them have raised $27+ million in funding, created over 250 jobs and generated over $27 million in revenue.