7 December 2010

Brisbane-based business incubator i.lab is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a new owner, a new CEO and a new direction focused on taking Australian technologies global.

The incubator has nurtured more than 110 new businesses in the last decade, enabling them to secure more than $70 million in investment and grant funding.

Successful companies established with the help of i.lab include RedFlow Limited, an energy storage technology company planning an ASX listing later this year, and Codesion, a provider of online source code management tools recently acquired by US company CollabNet.

Following i.lab’s transfer to The University of Queensland (UQ) in late 2009 and the recent appointment of Colin Kinner as CEO in May this year, the incubator is now focused on accelerating the growth of technology-based startups for the international marketplace.

Mr Kinner says the quality of companies that have graduated from i.lab’s incubation program was testament to the incubator’s effectiveness.

“i.lab accomplished a lot in its first 10 years, but we’re now at an inflection point,” Mr Kinner said.

“The economic environment is tough for startups, the venture capital market has largely dried up, and an increasing number of startups are failing, which is why business incubators like i.lab have such an important role to play.

“Our strength is in our ability to immerse the founders of fast-growth startups in an entrepreneurial environment where they can tap into a wide range of advice and support, including from successful entrepreneurs who have been on the startup journey themselves.

“However, we only have the bandwidth to work with a small number of companies at a time, so we have to be very selective about who we accept into the incubator.

"The process of applying for i.lab membership is rigorous, and we’re fairly hard-nosed about it, but we’re not setting out to be all things to all people – our objective is to take a small group of technology ventures and throw as much support behind them as we can to create the next batch of globally competitive companies.”

UQ Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Greenfield, said i.lab was vital for incubating startup companies from universities and other research institutions as well as from the private sector.

“i.lab has played a crucial role in the growth and maturation of startups taking new technologies to the market,” Professor Greenfield said.

“Its inclusion within UQ extends the University’s capacity to foster emerging ventures that will contribute to the local, state and national economies.

“It also paves the way for stronger links between the University and the business community, and for greater translation of research outcomes into products and services that are needed by the community.”

As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations, i.lab marked the graduation of mobile location-based software developer Locatrix Communications from the incubator.

Locatrix is working with international telecommunications providers to provide location-based and mobile social networking services such as Whereis® Everyone, which the company developed in collaboration with Telstra.

i.lab also recognised the continued contributions of Andrew Campbell and Steve Woodgate who have assisted the i.lab team to incubate more than 20 companies. The experienced Brisbane-based entrepreneurs provide pro-bono mentoring to i.lab member companies as part of the incubator’s mentor network.

Media: Colin Kinner (07 3327 9802, 0411 122 976, ckinner@ilab.com.au)

About i.lab
i.lab is a business incubator that supports emerging technology-based ventures. Through a comprehensive package of assistance, coaching, mentoring and training, i.lab helps the founders of new ventures to build successful businesses and negotiate the many risks faced by start-up companies.

Companies that have benefited directly from i.lab membership include ASX-listed QRxPharma, RedFlow Ltd, Charm Health and Codesion.

i.lab continues to be financially supported by the Queensland Government.

About Colin Kinner
Mr Kinner has more than 15 years of experience in forming, financing and growing technology-based startup companies in Australia and the UK.

His experience includes strategy development, business planning, raising equity capital and providing training and mentoring to entrepreneurs.

Mr Kinner's career has included roles with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Millhouse IAG, and Head of Funds Management at Imperial College Innovations in London.

He has also held senior roles in the commercialisation companies of The University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology and has been a director of a number of technology-based start-up companies. Mr Kinner holds a BSc (Hons) and an MBA, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

For more information on i.lab see the website www.ilab.com.au