Sydney and Melbourne have been friendly rivals in all things – including business – through much of their history.

As Australia’s two largest and most influential global cities, leaders in both cities have worked hard to foster a thriving startup community.  NSW and Victoria account for close to 50 per cent of the nation’s total GDP, it’s hardly surprising most of the startup incubators can be found in these two cities.

With the range and quality of startup incubators being core to the health of these startup ecosystems, the question then becomes – HOW DO THE SYDNEY AND MELBOURNE STARTUP INCUBATORS COMPARE?

Here’s an example of three significant players in each market, and how they have a different value proposition to the Co-Founder’s startup.


As Australia’s largest city, Sydney has a thriving business environment that attracts large global businesses.  Many of the notable startup incubators in Sydney are structured around assisting a broad range of businesses and have a regional focus as a result.

1) Fishburners

Fishburners is, first and foremost, a not-for-profit co-working space, providing early-stage startups a space to share.  It’s a great space where Co-Founders can knowledge transfer and collaborate, while Fishburners provides startups some of the tools that they need to succeed.

For example, Fishburners provides its members with free legal (nominal advice), accounting, design, digital marketing and PR advice as part of its membership, which starts at $29/month.  It also has a “FutureUp” 12-week program that includes coaching and counts as credit points towards an MBA at UTS Business School.

2) BlueChilli

BlueChilli has a couple of different focuses where it invests and the kinds of startups it supports.  BlueChilli has HealthTech, while “Future Minds Accelerator” is aimed at supporting those right out of school.  “She Starts” is a venture-backed startup program specifically designed for women entrepreneurs.

BlueChilli’s other point-of-difference is that it’s regionally minded, with an office in Singapore to help its startups reach out to the South-East Asian community.

3) AppCurate Sydney

AppCurate, is a specialist Incubator in Sydney providing startups a software development team to build the Co-Founder’s Minimum Viable Product (MVP). In addition, to getting the app up and running quickly, AppCurate also maintains a group of trusted advisors across legal services (extensive advice), accounting, financial services, PR, marketing, UI/UX and web / app design.

AppCurate will also be providing Early-Stage Seed Funding (ESVCLP), allowing startups with great ideas to focus on the first-stage of their commercial development right up to Series A funding.


Many of the large startup incubators in Sydney also have a presence in Melbourne.  However, what helps distinguish Melbourne as a place for startups to thrive is just how many of the startup incubators are razor-focused in areas that Melbourne traditionally excels in – hospitality, arts & culture, healthcare, education and financial services.

4) Melbourne Accelerator Program

With alumni such as Atticus, Carbar, First Step, Hypetap and Nebula Health, the Melbourne Accelerator Program is a university-supported accelerator that provides $20,000 in equity-free seed funding.  In addition, workshops, networking events and a co-working space help early-stage startups get off the ground.

5) muru-D

muru-D is notable in part because it had the backing of Telstra, one of Australia’s largest technology companies.  It doesn’t any more, but continues to operate, and is notable for having assisted 44 startups to date, with 42 still in operation.  muru-D provides its startups with a six-month program, access to masterclasses, mentor networks, SAFE note or equity funding, and investor connections.

6) AppCurate Melbourne

AppCurate is an example of one of the startup incubators in Sydney that also supports the Melbourne market.  In many cases, the decision of where to setup the startup isn’t driven by geography, but simply where the Co-Founder lives (or has wanted to live).  Cases of startup Co-Founders moving to another city for the business environment that it offers are rare.

And so, AppCurate brings its unique blend of software expertise and the ability to help its Melbourne-based startups build their MVP as well.


As mentioned, startups tend to set up based on where the Co-Founders lives (or wants to live).

However, some might want to capitalize on the local business culture and specialties.  For example, some will appreciate the “Silicon Valley” vibe of Sydney and being near tech giants like Atlassian and the local offices of Google and Facebook – they can “piggyback” on the ability for these giants to recruit talent from around the world and build regional partnerships.  These advantages will lead them to look at the business incubators in Sydney.

Alternatively, Melbourne’s highly social approach to business, leveraging its excellent coffee and cultural activities (go Dees), make it a welcoming space for startups across a range of sectors.  Success is often about who you know and how often you have coffee with them (try Strozzi), as it is the idea itself.

Either way, the key for Co-Founders is finding the right startup incubator and seed investor.  An incubator like AppCurate, can provide a software development team, seed funding, help the startup build and iterate their MVP in both Sydney and Melbourne.  AppCurate is the ideal partner for any entrepreneur with a game-changing idea and passion for innovation.

For more information on AppCurate email us and let’s together get on a Faster Path to Commercialisation.

Work for Hire

Want to get your website, app or supporting cloud services built? We begin the collaboration by discussing all the elements listed on the Shape-It page. We then map these elements against the required executable technologies and budget.

Start-Up Incubator

Want to develop, build and commercialise your idea in a trusted working environment? We begin the collaboration by first discussing the client's User Stories. We then work together and map these User Stories against a Competitive Gap Analysis.