News | 1 November 2019

Open for emerging business: Frank Lab 2020 accelerator program now taking applications

Following the successful Frank Lab 2019 program, which helped accelerate a broad range of businesses and entrepreneurs – from rocket engine engineers to contraceptive technology designers, from Neobank developers to social enterprise creators – applications for the 2020 Frank Lab program open today. The first six-month program for the year kicks off on 1 March.

Frank Lab, Hall & Wilcox’s accelerator program for emerging businesses, provides legal support and networking opportunities to help selected startups grow their business. As part of the program, successful applicants receive an initial $5000 to spend on legal services and get to work with an experienced lawyer as their own trusted advisor for the duration of the program.

Participants have regular meetings with Frank Lab lawyers to assist in prioritising their legal and commercial needs. They also have access to Hall & Wilcox office space nationally and the firm’s Smarter Law technology solutions. As an additional benefit, Frank Lab provides program members with access to Hall & Wilcox networks, including accountants and investors.

For the 2019 Frank Lab program, 12 up-and-coming businesses were selected, including AgCrowd, a crowdfunding program for the agriculture and energy sectors; m-Time, a social enterprise connecting busy parents with ‘moncierges’; Frankie Financial, an all-in-one platform for identity verification, anti money laundering and fraud protection; Denada, sugar-free ice-cream; Gobbil, a digital finance assistant; NextAero, reusable rocket engines; Eudaemon Technologies, a cutting-edge new contraceptive; and Goodwill Wine, a charitable online wine retailer.

Program director James Bull said he felt lucky to have had the opportunity to work so closely with this year’s Frank Lab graduates. ‘We’ve learnt so much from working side-by-side with the founders who will help shape the future direction of the program. We are really excited to start recruiting for next year’s cohort.’

m-Time Founder Sarah Agboola said, ‘Frank has helped m-Time primarily in structuring the business. We have been through a lot of change over the last year. I really didn’t know how to navigate a lot of that. Being able to speak to experienced lawyers, and find out what my options were, was invaluable.’

NextAero Founder Graham Bell said, ‘I basically joined Frank Lab with no legal knowledge whatsoever. We now have access to experienced mentors and advisors to guide us through the basic building blocks of growing a sustainable company.’

Applications for this year’s Frank Lab program came from a broad cross-section of industries and businesses across Australia, and the team again expects to receive a diverse range of entries for 2020.

Hall & Wilcox recently led Fintech Australia’s submission for the Boosting Female Founders Initiative, and also released a research report on the challenges and obstacles faced by women working in the startup sector. In consultation sessions, some female founders said they may be reluctant to apply for startup accelerator programs if their business or idea is not fully formulated. But program director James Bull said the Frank Lab team is keen to reassure candidates it will consider individuals and groups at all stages of the startup journey.

Frank Lab 2019 graduates
Ag Crowd A crowdfunding platform for the agriculture and energy sectors. Using equity crowdfunding, it enables sustainable technology companies to raise capital from retail and wholesale investors.
Atticus A technology company offering corporate lawyers cloud-based software to efficiently and accurately verify investor disclosure documents.
Bit-e Aims to become a Neobank, combing traditional and digital banking services, that offers a full suite of banking products and services online only.
Denada The manufacturer of an Australian-made, sugar-free ice-cream.
Eudaemon Technologies The creator of a new contraceptive that uses innovative hydrogel technology and will improve sexual health and contraceptive outcomes.
Frankie Financial Frankie connects the best of breed compliance providers to provide one API (application programming interface), one platform, one unifying view for KYC (know your customer) onboarding and AML (anti money laundering) monitoring.
Future Smith Australia’s first online platform to empower volunteers, particularly from the Baby Boomer generation, to lead and manage their own community projects.
Gobbil A digital finance assistant that automates bill payments using artificial intelligence for households and small businesses.
Goodwill Wine An online wine retailer that gives away 50% of its profit to charities and has already raised almost $250,000.
m-Time A social enterprise providing busy parents with ‘moncierges’, all-in-one personal assistants who combine housekeeping and nannying tasks into one role.
NextAero A pioneer in aerospace technology that has developed bleeding-edge reusable rocket engines for small satellite launchers.
QuadIQ A managed cybersecurity service provider and security product development enterprise.

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