BlueChilli partners with Coca-Cola Amatil to accelerate the growth of early-stage startups


Megan Flamer, Program Director for Xcelerate, with Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, CEO of BlueChilli

Fresh from partnering with VC firm Hatcher+ to produce 240 early-stage startups over three years, tech accelerator BlueChilli has teamed with Coca-Cola Amatil to help budding entrepreneurs launch scalable, global tech companies.  

[Related: Investors in BlueChilli startups automatically qualify for tax deduction after ATO ruling and Why the startup ecosystem needs more non-technical entrepreneurs, not stereotypes]

Up to 15 founders, from across Australia and New Zealand, will be selected to participate in the six-month Xcelerate program, following a bootcamp to determine the best ideas. Specifically, BlueChilli and Coca-Cola Amatil are looking to fund and accelerate ideas that support one of the following three themes – ‘creating a more sustainable future’, ‘reimagining the customer experience’ and ‘getting people what they want, when and where they want it’.

In addition to securing $38,000 in funding (in exchange for 15% equity), participants will receive mentoring, training and workspace plus access to a technology team, including a dedicated Product Manager, to help validate and build their product. Founders who go on to raise funding at the completion of the program will have an opportunity to receive up to $500,000 in follow-up funding from BlueChilli’s venture partners and up to $200,000 from Coca-Cola Amatil, which has allocated $10m to invest in startups.

Alison Watkins, Group Managing Director of Coca-Cola Amatil said beverage company will be “leveraging BlueChilli’s unrivalled start-up expertise” to turn “napkin-stage ideas into successful businesses that generate revenue streams for their start-up founders.” She added, “We picked BlueChilli because they demonstrate the same passion and drive as the start-up community they work with, and we are aligned around our strategic goals. With BlueChilli, we’re confident we’ll be finding and bringing life to some world-class innovations and ideas.”

BlueChilli CEO Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin told Dynamic Business that Coca-Cola Amatil is aligned with BlueChilli’s mission and values, and that he and his team have been “really impressed by Coca-Cola Amatil’s speed and genuine desire to work with the broader startup ecosystem”.

Regarding the selection processes for the Xcelerate program, Eckersley-Maslin said BlueChilli and Coca-Cola Amatil are looking for “entrepreneurs who are most likely to gain traction and customers – in other words, entrepreneurs who understand the industry, whose unique background and experiences give them an edge, and who know how to solve a real problem and are passionate about doing so.”

In addition, he said the Xcelerate program “solves the difficult problem of product-market fit” for startups.  He explained, “Mid-way through the program, for example, we’ll host a trade show demo day, where we bring Coca-Cola Amatil, as well as their network of partners and suppliers, into a room with our founders. In this way, we’re bringing the market to our startups, and helping them get their first customers.

Megan Flamer, the Program Director for Xcelerate at BlueChilli said that while the program will be producing scalable tech startups, participants “don’t need to be technologically savvy”.

“We’re breaking down barriers for non-technical founders, which is a big part of BlueChilli’s vision,” she said. “Over the six months, the Xcelerate participants will become investor-ready. They’ll learn how to pitch, how to develop their businesses, how to market their products and, going through several sprints, how to build their product-market fit. By the time they come out the other end, they’ll pitch and present and be exposed to massive investment opportunities.”

Commenting on the fact that Xcelerate program coincides with the of BlueChilli in New Zealand, Flamer said: “I just got back from San Francisco, following a four-year stint, and there were so many Kiwis and Aussies over there forging ahead, creating amazing products and working on awesome products. New Zealand, which is part of the same startup ecosystem as Australia in some ways, boasts a wealth of talent, so we’re very excited about launching there.”

Applications for Xcelerate close on 14 May 2018. For more information, visit https://amatilxcelerate.com/.