KPMG launches mining accelerator

05/02/2015 - 15:41

Accounting firm KPMG is launching a business ‘accelerator’ that is designed to assist early-stage technology ventures and bring them together with major companies in the energy and resources sector.

ENERGISED: KPMG WA chairman Gary Smith (right) and mining sector leader Carl Adams (centre) with the firm’s national chief executive Gary Wingrove.

Accounting firm KPMG is launching a business ‘accelerator’ that is designed to assist early-stage technology ventures and bring them together with major companies in the energy and resources sector.

The Energise accelerator will offer a 12-week intensive incubation and support program for up to eight ventures, at no cost, starting in April.

At the conclusion, graduating participants will present their plans to energy and resources companies and potential investors.

KPMG WA chairman Gary Smith said the program would focus on finding innovations that address real-world issues facing energy and resources companies.

“We’re like a broking channel to bring the two parts together,” he said.

Energise will involve up to 40 KPMG staff and more than a dozen mentors, which Mr Smith said would make it the largest accelerator in Perth.

KPMG’s Toby Gardner will direct the program, having returned to Perth last year after a decade overseas, including in Silicon Valley.

Mr Gardner said Energise would target early-stage ventures seeking to commercialise a proven product, rather than people seeking to develop a concept.

Unlike some other accelerators, it will not offer a cash stipend to participants, but nor will it take equity in their venture.

Mr Gardner said he anticipated participants would already be working full-time on their venture.

The program will also involve Carl Adams, who joined KPMG last year as national mining sector lead after it bought his consulting firm, Momentum Partners.

The mentors will include Peter Rossdeutscher, who currently chairs mining consultancy CSA Global and previously ran mining-focused technology businesses Micromine and Intierra.

US-based mentors will include Gary Coover, who is manager of Samsung’s accelerator in Silicon Valley, and Rohan Thompson, who oversees strategic partnerships for Google.

The KPMG initiative follows the launch of several initiatives in Perth over the past two years, designed to help start-ups and early-stage tech ventures.

These include Unearthed, a mining-focused accelerator run by Resource Innovation through Information Technology.

The first company to enter the Unearthed program was Newton Labs, which is developing a monitoring system for oversized boulders in mine sites.

It was the inaugural winner of the Unearthed ‘hackathon’ – an intensive 54-hour innovation weekend held last year.

The RAC in collaboration with Spacecubed launched its SeedSpark program last year; it offers cash, access to mentors from RAC and Spacecubed, and access to Spacecubed facilities.

Other initiatives targeting tech start-ups include the establishment of a Perth branch of the US-based Founder Institute, Curtin University’s Incubate program, which provides $5,000 in seed funding and takes four successful applicants through an 11-week program, and Telstra’s muru-D program.

 

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