A walk in ePark for startups

ePark, a joint venture between Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Allen & Buckeridge, will provide capital outlay, infrastructure and e-business advice to startup companies operating exclusively via the Internet.

Allen & Buckeridge's CEO, Roger Allen, said the company would invest an average of $3 million in participating ePark companies. The primary goal of ePark was to bring startups to IPO within three years, he said.ePark will not require capital outlay from participating companies but will instead take an equity stake in the startups.

Vincent Sweeney, CEO of ePark, said the equity outlay given by companies to ePark would not be fixed, and that percentages of company shareholdings given to ePark would depend on the company's "stage of development".

"I would be very surprised if [equity outlay] got as high as 20 per cent," Sweeney said.

Lynn Odland, CEO of Deloitte, said ePark expected to receive 500 applications from startups but would select only 25. Sweeney said ePark would select companies considered to be "globally competitive".

Odland said ePark had offices in Melbourne and would use Allen & Buckeridge and Deloitte facilities in Sydney, but would not be "Melbourne-centric".

Ideally, he said, the company would not be restricted geographically because it would operate entirely online.ePark does not currently have financial support from the government. Sweeney said the company was considering applying for the government's BITS (Building Information Technology Strengths) program, but was afraid of constraints associated with large government programs.

"You've (Internet companies) got to move so quickly, you can't wait five years," he said.ePark is currently receiving applications and plans to commence proceedings before the end of January.

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Byron Kaye

PC World

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