October - November 23
Research-led companies will cornerstone the solutions to humanity's greatest problems. Foundry is our invitation to PhD students, EMCRs, and established researchers to imagine a better future and learn how to build it.

Foundry is Blackbird’s flagship deep and biotech founder product. It is an eight-week intensive program culminating in a one-day competition (with a $15k cash prize), for researchers at Australian and New Zealand research institutions to hone a world-changing startup idea.
Applications are open now and close on September 8. Foundry runs from October 2 to November 24, and comp day is on November 29.

What's special about Foundry?

There are plenty of frontier and biotech programs out there. Foundry is special. We're committed to helping you find the best, most ambitious version of what you want to build (we dare you to try to faze us), and provide you with the highest quality advice and networks to help you get there.


Our mentors include Cibby Pulikkaseril (co-founder of Baraja), Elise Jenkins (co-founder of Opto Bio), Hon Weng Chong (founder of Cortical Labs), David Bell (co-founder of Remedy Robotics), and Nick Opie (co-founder of Synchron). Our speaker lineup’s even better---be ready for exclusive masterclasses with deep tech and science’s best.

World's best mentors & speakers

Reality follows ambition. Foundry encourages you to identify the greatest impact you can have, and helps you chart a path to it. All you need is an idea. We're not fazed by long timelines and technical risk---we're as hungry as you are to solve the most important problems.

Wildest ambitions, greatest impact

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to changing the world. Foundry covers the basics of business-building, but focuses on developing the skills and character you need to start a frontier tech company. You can choose where to go deeper.

Bespoke, creative program

Download the Manifesto

Foundry is where we live out Blackbird's unique beliefs about scientist starting companies. We've written those beliefs down in our Manifesto, which you can download below.

There are high-potential founders in our research institutions. They can create and scale world-changing solutions in startups. The potential is in the future of these rare people, not their IP. Those who have the courage to found and build startups should be rewarded. They deserve to be supported from the very beginning with the full force of the best frontier technology founders, operators, and capital in the world.

We've gone into detail in our Manifesto, even detailing the kinds of tech-transfer terms we support. You can get it here. Trust us, it's a good read!
Request the Foundry Manifesto
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Applications are open

Curious? Got an idea? You should apply!

Applications close September 8th!

Previous cohorts

We've worked with some amazing roboticists, biologists, education fiends, physicists, and more. Learn more about them and their wild ideas.

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Who can apply?

Foundry is aimed at researchers---scientists, engineers, inventors---who are curious about founding a startup and have the seed of a world-changing idea. That said, anyone can apply with a wild startup idea. One person on your team needs to be an Australian or Kiwi. You can be based anywhere in the world!

Our archetypical founding team is led by one to three PhD students or EMCRs, who are supported by their research supervisor/s, but we love being surprised!

What's the application process?

We run a two-stage application:

1. By September 8, fill in the written application, detailed below. We review these on a rolling basis for the entirety of the application window, and inform weekly on shortlisting. We will provide feedback where relevant, and you can re-apply (read between the lines: it's a good idea to get an application in early).

2. Shortlisted applicants submit a short video interview (2-3 mins) answering a couple of questions for our application panel and mentors to review. 

The written application questions are:

  1. Tell us about the problem you want to solve. Why is it important? What will it take for it to be solved?
  2. Explain your solution. What secret have you learned about the world that underpins this solution? Why do you think it might be a good solution? Why might it be better than others?
  3. Tell us about your team. Who are you, and why are you the people to solve this problem?
  4. What does the world look like in 10 years, in the case that you’re successful?
  5. Attach a few papers or other references that explain the foundations of your solution.
Can I get feedback on my application?

Yes, absolutely! We review applications weekly and provide feedback then, and you’re welcome to resubmit. If you have any questions, you’re always welcome to email Clare at cbirch@blackbird.vc

What's the time commitment?

The base time commitment for the Foundry program is:

1. 2 hours per week in seminar/Q&A;

2. 2 hours per fortnight for cohort dinner;

3. 1 hour per fortnight for mentor meetings. 

4. 1-2 hours per week for side quests.

However, we subscribe to Nutrigrainism: you only get out what you put in. You are invited to dig in as deep as you would like. 

Does Blackbird invest in Foundry companies?

We do not invest in Foundry companies automatically, but prior-cohort participants have raised venture rounds from international investors including Startmate, Possible Ventures, Investible, Outset Ventures, and---yes---Blackbird.

What’s the cost?

There’s no cost to participants or any organisations with which they’re affiliated.

How does the competition work?

We run a competition/pitch day at the end of the program. A panel of judges chooses the winning team, and the team wins a A$15k cash prize - no strings attached.

Will you sign an NDA before I submit my application/participate?

As a general rule, no - it’s not standard, and it shouldn’t be necessary. But if it’s a dealbreaker for you, email cbirch@blackbird.vc and let’s chat.

Applications are open (and pretty painless)!

Curious? Got an idea? You should apply!

Applications close September 8th!