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UNSW Sydney has appointed the former entrepreneur-in-residence at the innovation incubator firm BlueChilli, Marcus Marten-Coney, as the head of its elite Founders 10x accelerator project.

Founders 10x is a new initiative of The Founders Program, a platform developed by UNSW to facilitate and cultivate a growing level of entrepreneurship within the academic and cultural experiences of both staff and students across the University. As a part of the wider program, the Founders 10x initiative selects the 10 best applications from a pool of hundreds of start-up teams, who are supported by UNSW’s wider Division of Enterprise.

Mr Marten-Coney, who was directly responsible for advising a cohort of start-ups in raising more than $60 million at BlueChilli, stated that UNSW is well placed to capitalise on the depth of entrepreneurial talent worldwide, given its extensive resources and mentoring expertise.

“What we have here at UNSW is a truly deep pool of entrepreneurial talent, and I’m glad to be joining the efforts at the pointy end of the pipeline where we will see the next unicorns potentially emerge,” Mr Marten-Coney said.

“Not many university-based programs are this well-resourced, so we are attracting a calibre of start-up that previously would have considered an on-campus program too early-stage or not robust enough. We’re bringing world class advisors and mentors, an immersion in Silicon Valley for all teams, $20K investment and a whole suite of services from our corporate partners for this, so start-ups need to be serious [in order] to qualify.”

Mr Marten-Coney joins a team consisting of Silicon Valley expert Jennifer Zanich, who was recently appointed Senior Manager for Ecosystems and Partnerships, and UNSW veteran Joshua Flannery, under the leadership of UNSW’s Director of Entrepreneurship, Dr Elizabeth Eastland.

The team is charged with growing the overall pipeline of founders, innovators, entrepreneurial thought-leaders and start-ups across UNSW’s various academic, research and alumni communities.

The initial edition of the Founders 10x accelerator initiative was held over a 10 week period this year and produced some remarkable results for the participating UNSW-affiliated entrepreneurs.

The first graduates of the Founders 10x initiative included Sam Carigliano, a co-founder of the construction design software start-up SkyCiv.

SkyCiv has over 75,000 users across 160 countries and grew dramatically during the program due to UNSW’s guidance, resources, partnerships and support, Mr Carigliano said.

“After only a number of weeks in the program we began seeing 21% week on week growth,” he said.

To find out more about the Founders 10x initiative, visit the UNSW Founders Program website at or contact UNSW’s Division of Enterprise.

Applications for the second cohort of Founders 10x participants are open until 1 June.