We often hear and read about the successes in the startup world, but don’t often hear about the many failures. 

It’s inevitable that most businesses fail in their first 3 years. Taking a look into why some succeed and others don’t is invaluable research in potential pitfalls, hurdles, and realistic challenges associated with starting a business.

After reviewing the journey and eventual acquisition of Omny Studio, let’s look into the other three companies that were selected for the Melbourne Accelerator Program in 2012.

What is MAP?

MAP (Melbourne Accelerator Program (MAP)), with the help of the University of Melbourne, aims to train startup companies to grow and become the best in their field. Yearly they select teams into their program to undergo extensive training and mentoring under Australia’s best business leaders. 

They also offer global access to investors. In total, they have been able to help 200 startups which has led to a $250 million investment. As a result, revenue of $200 million has been generated, and 1500 job opportunities.

Where Are They Now?

The first intake for the program was in 2012, and they announced four winners/companies to be selected. Alongside 121cast, startup companies VenueMob, Remote Area Power System, and UniSquare.me were selected.

1. 121cast

121cast went through a few iterations to eventually create Omny Studio which was acquired by Triton Digital in 2019. They raised $1.7 Million in funding over the 7 years.

Details of the deal with Triton haven’t been fully disclosed. The founders have gone in various directions and even into tech venture funding themselves creating Startup Galaxy

2. VenueMob

VenueMob is an online booking system that helps customers search spaces available for booking. Whether it is birthdays, parties, engagements, or weddings, you’ll find a number of venues you can search through and book online. The company was founded in 2012 under founders David WeiJames Giang, and Ying Wang.

Apart from MAP, they secured partnerships from other investors like Sydney Angels, Artesian VC, and Optus Innov 8. 

In summary, they have raised a total of 1.5 million dollars from 5 funding rounds. In addition, the startup has secured partnerships with Accor Hotels, Mantra and Rydges who have added their event spaces to the platform.

VenueMob was acquired by Spare Workspace in 2020, under Jake Dimarco and formed VenueNow.

3. Remote Area Power System

Founded by Braden Kidd, his project “remote area power system” received recognition in engineering circles. With his master’s degree in electrical engineering, he aimed to create a company that gives power systems to places in remote locations. After joining MAP in 2012, he was given recognition by the Australian Institute of Energy. He received 1st prize with a $750 monetary gift and sponsorship from the Department of Primary Industry.

From then on, this project led to the creation of his company, New Waved Power System. Unfortunately, it did not survive. It was deregistered on 2017 February 23 and still dissolved and inactive for the last 5 years.

4. UniSquare.me

This startup company was considered to be the next-generation social media platform for students in university. Its goal is to help new students access information from the university they are going to and connect with other students.

As a run test, a beta website was published in 2012. With their innovative idea, they were chosen to be part of MAP. Unfortunately, the company did not survive. On February 29, 2013, the company released a statement of closure. Today, the website domain is still for sale and waiting for someone to purchase it.


Overall it’s important to recognise that not every company accepted into an accelerator is going to be successful, but also keep in mind it could be a stepping stone for the founders that moves them onto bigger and better things too. We’ve all heard it, “If you are determined, each failure brings you one step closer to success”.

Interesting to note the type of companies here that received funding, gained traction and moved forward. 

A few questions come to mind and are part of the reason for exploring these startups and investor profiles:

  • What types of founders and personality types eventually achieve success? 
  • Does starting with multiple founders provide better support for growth?
  • Which business types and models are more attractive to investors?
  • Is it a coincidence of luck, right time and place that achieves investor interest?

Of course, all of these questions will get varying responses from different people, but the real answers will come from looking at the data, statistics, and track record of multiple companies over time. 

More to come. Stay tuned…