Frequently Asked Questions




What is SheStarts?

SheStarts is one of BlueChilli’s flagship accelerator programs which aims to balance the scales on gender representation in tech and entrepreneurship.

With SheStarts, BlueChilli is working  to turbocharge female leadership and participation in the startup economy through our proven model for helping non-technical entrepreneurs build tech startups.

The model consists of an intensive six month startup program focused on bringing a female founders’ idea from the drawing board to a “commercially viable product” through BlueChilli’s industry tested 156 accelerator. Founders also receive pre-seed investment to provide the runway to get started, and have access to our industry leading engineering team to design, develop and execute their early stage technology.

We bring together all the factors a founder needs to reduce the inherent risks in launching a startup business. Our partners and collaborators are there to join the founders on the journey, improving access to pilot opportunities, distribution channels and key customer insights that can make or break a startup in achieving product-market fit.

Our mission is the change the face of startups and ensure the incredible ideas, talent and skills of 50% of the population are activated, elevated and inspired to get started.

What do we want to achieve?

Big question! Primarily, the SheStart’s program is about helping talented and ambitious women to get their foot in the door and succeed within the tech startup space. But on top of that we also aspire to contribute to the startup community as whole. The SheStarts program is not only directly tackling gender equality within the BlueChilli startup portfolio, but is also strengthen the wider industry by showcasing the value of diversity of thought and encouraging collaboration across the ecosystem.

Finally, through the SheStarts documentary series we aim to inspire a bigger audience, especially female viewers, on what they can achieve within the startup scene and beyond.

How does SheStarts work?

After applications for SheStarts close, ideas are screened for eligibility by BlueChilli and our program partners, with  evaluation broadly based on the problem, the opportunity, and the team. We look for the strongest applications that can demonstrate why their idea represents a real opportunity, that the right time for execution is now and why you are the best founder to make it happen. All ideas are treated as confidential and you are the owner of your own IP.

The Top 20 applicants are then invited to take part in a rapid validation bootcamp where startup experts in the BlueChilli team pressure-test the founders and their ideas, before they go before the judges and pitch for one of ten places in the program. During the bootcamp finalists learn about startups, validation, pitching, business models and growth, amongst other topics. The bootcamp consists of workshops, talks from advisors, one-on-one sessions with BlueChilli’s expert Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs), homework and group activities.

What do you get as part of the program?

In exchange for 15% equity each founder accepted into the program will each receive:

  • $AUD100,000 provided by BlueChilli and associated entities to be invested into your incorporated startup. The funds are distributed as a $50,000 cash prize plus a $50,000 investment, and are to be spent, at your discretion, on activities required to build/grow the business.
  • Full placement in BlueChilli’s six-month 156 accelerator program, including access to Business Advisory services with BlueChilli’s expert in-house team of EIRS, external mentors and a structured program designed to give your idea the best chance of business success and to provide a clear and defined risk profile for future investors.
  • Strategic support, insights and advice from the SheStarts program partners and collaborators
  • Access to discounted software product development services from BlueChilli’s team of expert startup software product managers, engineers and designers.
  • Promotion and exposure via the SheStarts documentary web series, social media and other channels as facilitated by BlueChilli and SheStarts program sponsors
  • A return economy flight from Sydney to San Francisco to take part in the SheStarts Silicon Valley Immersion program. Flights will be booked by BlueChilli and details of the flights will be at BlueChilli’s discretion in consultation with the finalists.

What about the documentary?

For our inaugural SheStart’s cohort, we are also filming and distributing a documentary web-series which follows the journey and startup stories of our founders as they progress. The video series is being produced in partnership with TheStoryBoxes – an Australian film production house specialising in impact films.

They also happen to be the founders of one of the companies in the BlueChilli portfolio – Folktale! Check them out here.

How do I subscribe for updates?

The best way to keep in touch with what’s happening in SheStarts – whether to follow our current founders in the program or be the first to hear about our next program opening – is to sign up to our newsletter. Visit the SheStarts homepage and sign up at the bottom of the page. Don’t forget to follow us here (Facebook), here (Twitter), here (Instagram) and here (LinkedIn).

Who are SheStarts partners?

Our SheStarts program would not be possible without the support of a number of Australia’s industry leaders who are champions of diversity and innovation. Our foundation partners include ANZ, GSK, myob, Sunsuper, UTS and Vasudhara Foundation. We also work in collaboration with leaders in business, entrepreneurship and technology, including Google, LinkedIn, the BCA, the AICD, Springboard Enterprises Australia and Scale. All our partners and collaborators can be found here.

What is a female entrepreneur program?

Exactly as it sounds. SheStarts is a program which focuses on encouraging and enabling more female tech entrepreneurs. Applications are only open to female-led startups and we help the best of the best get their ideas out to market and over an intensive six month program. The program is about addressing the serious shortage of women both participating in and leading startup companies. But we also believe in the value of diversity – which means many of the female founders we work with also have male co-founders or team members. The key here is in rebalancing the scales of leadership, and showing what is possible when women are given the opportunity to get started.




Who is BlueChilli?

BlueChilli brings together entrepreneurs, investors and corporates to tackle the world’s biggest challenges through building, growing and investing in great new tech startup ventures. Thanks to our dedicated product development team, our rigorous 156 accelerator program and our $10M BlueChilli Venture Fund, we are well on our way to smashing our ambitious goal of creating a $1B portfolio by 2020.

What experience does BlueChilli have with entrepreneurs?

Startups are in our DNA. Every year we hear an average of 2,000 startup pitches from entrepreneurs who want to partner with BlueChilli to launch their technology startups. Over the past 5 years, we have partnered with entrepreneurs and launched over a hundred startups. BlueChilli specialises in helping founders become CEOs, and turning their ideas into successful businesses. We combined the best elements of a digital agency, incubator, accelerator and venture capital fund to support entrepreneurs along their journey. We have incubator spaces in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane whilst also having startup teams overseas too!




Is SheStarts currently open for application?

Applications for the second round of the SheStarts program will open in the second half of 2017. So if you’re a driven female with an business idea and in interest in the tech industry, keep your eye on this space or just signup for our newsletter at the bottom of our homepage and you’ll be the first to hear about it!

I don’t have any experience in startups or founding a business, can I still apply?

Yes, yes and yes! We value female founders from everywhere in Australia, with different working backgrounds and from all different ages, cultures and perspectives. We’ll provide you with all the resources you need to launch and build your startup, including $100,000 pre-seed funding, access to technology experts, a rockstar team of startup advisors to provide guidance, and insights from mentors in business leadership.

Are there any requirements to my startup idea?

As much as we’d love to fund your [insert random business idea that does not involve any tech], SheStarts is all about launching the next wave of Australia’s most ambitious new tech startups. As such, we’re open to any idea as long as it leverages technology to grow a valuable and scalable company.

Do I need to have a business set up already?

You do not need to have a business set up to apply! In fact, the SheStarts program is best suited to entrepreneurs with early stage ideas that will benefit from validating their ideas before spending money on setting up company structures.

Do I need to know how to code?

Just like the world expands a little when you learn a new language, we think everyone can benefit from learning the fundamentals of coding. That said, you don’t need to know how to write code to apply or participate in the program. Our speciality is in working with non-technical founders to grow their tech business, and we will ensure you get exposed to the language of tech as you build your product with our team.

Do I need a team to apply?

Both teams and individuals can apply for SheStarts. The SheStarts program is designed to help you go from idea to launch and then support you to build the right team when your company is ready to grow.