CUA Sponsored Entrepreneur Program welcomes four new startups

1 August, 2017: CUA, Australia’s largest credit union, and technology startup hub River City Labs, have welcomed four new startup teams to the CUA Sponsored Entrepreneur Program.

Bidhive, Fabric, Realwords and Cappacity will be based at River City Labs new innovation space in Brisbane for 12 weeks, where they will have full-time desk membership. They will receive structured mentoring, specialist masterclasses and support with publicity and promotion, fully sponsored to help accelerate their startup ideas.

CUA has been supporting River City Labs since 2015 and has sponsored 20 teams to date. The collaboration is part of CUA’s innovation strategy and the member-owned organisation’s focus on leveraging external expertise, tapping into innovative new ideas and supporting startups to develop solutions to real-world problems.

CUA’s Head of Digital Innovation Melissa Witheriff said CUA’s relationship with River City Labs and the collaborative spirit of the program aligns with CUA’s focus on achieving mutual good.

“The Sponsored Entrepreneur Program benefits the startups by helping them turn their ideas into a business, while for CUA we benefit from new ideas and perspectives,” Ms Witheriff said.

“CUA is very focused on developing digital solutions that enable our members to engage with us anywhere, anytime. We love to hear new ideas and it is great to be able to support initiatives that align to what CUA is all about.”

River City Labs’ CEO Peta Ellis is grateful for CUA’s continued support, saying the organisation continues to play a pivotal role in the startup ecosystem.

“The CUA Sponsored Entrepreneur Program has played a crucial role in helping sole startup founders grow their business in a rapid way by providing much needed support for expansion,” Ms Ellis said.

“The program has been a life-changing experience for many participants, helping them achieve goals they previously thought were unattainable.”

“River City Labs is once again proud to host this cohort and we’re excited to help them become world-beaters.”

The teams recently had the opportunity to meet their CUA sponsors and discuss their projects.

Bidhive Director and Founder Nyree McKenzie said that working alongside the other teams and with CUA is helping her to build experience and confidence. Bidhive is working on a bid management platform to improve the often cumbersome process involved in corporate tender responses.

"Being in the ecosystem has given me the opportunity to hone my pitch skills, seek feedback and advice from mentors, gain insight into different avenues of funding, and meet others who are on a similar journey to me," Ms McKenzie said.

Fabric is hoping to disrupt the personal finance space with a secure, fast and convenient way for people to share their financial data with apps or websites.

"This program allows us to progress as a company and develop our financial data platform while providing an environment full of support and knowledge, such as exclusive insight into the needs of customers and banks," Fabric CEO Tylor Stewart said.

Realwords is developing a natural language generation software to help real estate agents quickly create professional property profile descriptions.

“It’s been a tough journey trying to do everything on our own. The CUA Sponsored Entrepreneur Program has given us mentorship and the ability to collaborate with like-minded start-ups, which has made things easier.” Realwords co-founder James Mackay said.

Capacity founder Nicholas Kamols said that the CUA Sponsored Entrepreneur Program has accelerated his startup journey, working on a technology solution for determining if a property is allowed to have a granny flat or tiny house.

“Bouncing ideas off each other and talking things through with people who have progressed beyond the ideation stage of their startup has been very helpful, along with the network of mentors accessible through the program," Mr Kamols said.


About CUA

CUA is Australia’s largest credit union, offering responsible financial, health and insurance solutions to around 500,000 Australians. As a mutual, we were created by members for members and we care for them through the changes and challenges in their lives. We are working on being available whenever and wherever members need us. Our growth and success enables us to reinvest in our business, deepen our relationships with members and build stronger communities. Visit for more information on our initiatives, services and locations.


About River City Labs

River City Labs fosters the growth of startup companies solving big problems. We provide resources to empower, support and connect entrepreneurs. Central to everything we do is a focus on collaboration and connection.

Since 2012 over 460 entrepreneurs have called RCL home. Through our events program we have welcomed more than 16,000 guests into our community by hosting over 500 events aimed at supporting founders on their entrepreneurship journey.

River City Labs powers a range of programs, events and engagement opportunities, enabling our Corporate partners to innovate differently and embed their teams within the startup community.

River City Labs is a human-led organisation ensuring founders come first always and every engagement is underpinned by our core values of Give Learn Grow, Take Action and Always Challenge.


Media contacts:


Tanya Schneider

Corporate Communications Specialist

Phone: 07 3552 4398