Runway was formed out of the personal experience of the founders who observed that regional locations need more than just accelerators to help startups and that the creation of sustainable ecosystems extended to many factors.  Having founded and run successful regional startups, the founders witnessed the difference that factors such as mentoring, access to capital and access to networks made on the relative success of startups.  After researching successful ecosystems globally, the founders identified that, while physical incubators and accelerators are a critical component, there were more “must have” ingredients to make successful regional ecosystems perform.  

Runway is a not-for-profit organisation with State Government of Victoria (LaunchVic) funding that covers operational costs for the first four years of operation, and private investment funds supporting the start-ups. Runway will become a self-sustaining business by the fifth year, with revenues coming from the exit values of successful start-ups that are in turn reinvested into the next round of start-ups.
The business name comes from the amount of time a start-up has to launch, based on their financial burn rate.
Runway will help identify, resource, support and launch high potential start-ups via an entire ecosystem designed to maximise
success for the start up. Over 10 years, the initiative aims to generate more than 500 direct and 2,500 indirect jobs, create up to 70 new enterprises.Each year, Runway will select between 5 – 15 high potential local, national and international start-ups and provide them with funding, co-working space, mentoring, training and business support programs. This will enable each start-up to create a proof of concept and prepare them for operating an ongoing commercial business, as well as pitching for future funding to support their growth.
Runway: the Geelong start-up program
Runway will be delivered through the following key initiatives:
Our program and partnerships all aim to take great ideas to a global market.
  1. Positioning Runway will invest in marketing and attraction strategies that help identify and attract local, national and international start-ups into the Geelong start-up ecosystem. Runway will aim to position Geelong as the key start up destination in Australia, leveraging off the maturing ecosystem in Melbourne and through collaboration with the Victorian Government to identify, engage with and attract strategic inbound opportunities to Geelong.
  2. Ecosystem Cultivation Runway will coordinate initiatives across the many components of the local start-up ecosystem. Runway will aim to drive greater connection and amplify benefits by harmonising and unifying initiatives, to build capacity in key areas and to then develop a sustainable pipeline of local opportunities.
  3. Pre-Seed Investment and Support Runway will offer funding and support to high potential start-ups at Proof of Concept stage. Funds will be available on a competitive basis and will be supported through targeted mentoring, coaching and education for founders and their teams. Runway will fund the delivery of these support services where the capability does not exist, or is oversubscribed, in the broader ecosystem.
  4. Seed Investment Runway will provide seed investment of between $15,000 and $30,000 to high potential start-ups. The funding will be provided on a competitive basis and founders and their teams will be supported with targeted mentoring and coaching. The aim of investment is to exit in 3-7 years and use proceeds to sustain the fund and make new investments.
  5. Growth and Traction Runway will offer a deep network of national and international contacts that will be leveraged to support businesses in the Geelong start-up ecosystem move beyond Seed and into high growth, traction and investment attraction.
  6. Celebrating Success the ultimate aim of Runway is to cultivate a start-up ecosystem from which start-up success stories can emerge and through which we can drive local jobs and economic activity. A key philosophy of Runway is to celebrate success and for successful entrepreneurs to give back to the Geelong start-up economy– helping to support the next generation of opportunities.
  7. The Runway Fund the program of activities will be supported by the Runway Fund. Founded with seed investment from the private sector, the fund will be sustained through interest earnings, equity taken and exited from start-ups invested in, and through a program of ‘giving back’ contributions from Runway entrepreneurs that have achieved success in their ventures.