Our venture teams and entrepreneurial programs can help you navigate your startup founder journey and connect you with expertise, funding and support.
Founding a startup
While every founder’s journey is unique, there are some common steps, especially during the early formation of a startup or social enterprise. These steps aren’t always taken one after the other – they may run in parallel or involve repetition and refinement.
Understand and secure your intellectual property
- Understand intellectual property (IP), who owns it and ways to protect it.
Potential investors will want to know who owns the IP or rights to develop it. A licence is needed to develop IP that’s owned by the University.
Assess the commercial potential of an idea
- Understand who your customers are, what problems they face and what they value.
Before committing time, energy and potentially dollars to creating a startup, you want strong evidence that an idea will succeed.
A useful tool to consider an idea from a customer perspective is the Value Proposition Canvas from Strategyzer.
Develop a business plan
- Identify the startup’s goals and strategies to achieve them
There are also tools to help potential founders consider how to build a commercially sustainable business. One example is the Business Model Canvas from Strategyzer.
It’s a way to identify opportunities and challenges as well as where an idea sits within the broader marketplace and business world.
Start building the team
- Consider the skills and capability the startup will need – and when they will be needed
Identifying the capabilities and skills that will be needed to build the startup, and at which stage of development, helps define roles in the team.
Apart from setting the vision and strategy, other responsibilities of the startup team can include:
- product development
- marketing, and sales
- technology development
- regulatory compliance
- choosing and managing suppliers
- managing finances.
These may be performed by the startup team or outsourced to partner support.
Some startup investors argue that the most important ingredient for success is not the underlying product idea, but the startup’s team – especially the founders.
Find funding to establish and grow
At some point, a startup is likely to require funding, which is different to the type of funding provided for traditional research.
Potential sources of startup funding include self-funding, competitions, crowdfunding, equity investors, angel investors, venture capital and social impact funds.
Creating a company
- Creating the legal entity that is a startup
This usually involves incorporating a company, depending on the business structure. Most startups are proprietary, limited-liability companies, but not always.
The Australian Government provides a step-by-step guide to starting a business.
Dealing with legal and tax obligations
- Under Australian law, startup founders have legal and tax responsibilities.
Our experts can provide guidance, but founders should seek independent legal advice.
Contact us for a list of providers who can advise on meeting legal and tax obligations.
For more information about how to get your startup off the ground, contact our venture team or find out more about the University’s entrepreneurial programs for researchers and students:
Explore information for staff and Faculty on University processes to create a startup
(Note: University log in required)
First published on 7 March 2023.
Share this article
Your ideas, innovations and research could form the foundation of a successful startup and the University of Melbourne can support you.
Funding for startups
The University of Melbourne connects University startups with support and funding to turn a new idea or innovation into a commercial reality.
Protecting your idea
Learn about Intellectual Property (IP) and the steps the University of Melbourne can help you take to protect your research discoveries and ideas.