ECommerce startups across the country should be cheering right now at the news that Australia Post has pledged a $20 million investment in emerging businesses.
The funding is part of the company’s gameplan to stay ahead of how customers use the service and their needs.
“We will use the $20 million capital fund, which with the success I expect could grow to more than $100 million over coming years, to directly invest in great eCommerce businesses with ideas that will improve the lives of our customers,” said Australia Post Managing Director and Group CEO Ahmed Fahour.
“We will work with our people, our customers, the community and our partners to identify new opportunities and emerging, disruptive eCommerce businesses that we can accelerate.”
Australia Post announced the first partnership in the search for eCommerce wizards would be a three-year $1 million collaboration with the University of Melbourne’s Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP).
The funding will allow for two new places for eCommerce businesses in the MAP Startup Accelerator, Lab-14, where Australia Post staff will be located.
Each new business will receive $20,000 in funding, office space, mentoring and connections to local and international networks.
The initiative also includes an annual $20,000 scholarship to the Wade Institute for Entrepreneurship and three specific outreach programs targeting women, regional and rural areas and social entrepreneurs.
“We believe universities don’t just educate our future generations; they are a production line of ideas for new entrepreneurs and new businesses,” said University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis.
“Harnessing the current mood around Australia’s innovation agenda is important, and this investment will go a long way to ensuring that start-up cultures like those at MAP continue to have a prominent role at the University.”
Australia Post is not just supporting eCommerce innovation -- high-tech methods of delivery are are also in play with drones set to be trialled next year.
Fahour said drones will be tested to deliver packages from a major e-tailer to rural and regional customers.
"It meets all of the flying requirements, has backup engines, GPS co-ordinates, so we can put it right on their patio," he said.