Rio Tinto to invest in technology startups

Friday, 12 April, 2024

Rio Tinto to invest in technology startups

Rio Tinto has announced it is teaming up with a global venture studio and startup investor to back the development and commercialisation of new technologies in the mining industry.

Rio Tinto has announced it will partner with Founders Factory and invest $14.4 million in global pre-seed and seed stage startups over the next three years. The focus will be on technologies in the fields of safe mine operations, decarbonisation, exploration processing and automation. Each startup will receive a cash investment and participate in a four-month accelerator program run by Founders Factory to support product development and commercialisation.

The Western Australian Government has also partnered with Founders Factory to invest in nature-tech startups that preserve and restore nature and biodiversity.

The partnerships with Rio Tinto and the Western Australian Government will support the first Australian hub of Founders Factory in Perth. Founders Factory successfully operates in London, Johannesburg, Milan, Berlin, Bratislava, New York and Singapore.

“Technology has always been at the forefront of our industry and Western Australia can be the Silicon Valley of the global mining industry,’ said Rio Tinto Iron Ore Chief Executive Simon Trott. “Our iron ore operations in the Pilbara are among the most technologically advanced in the world. This exciting new partnership gives us the opportunity to build on our innovative legacy to unlock new technologies and help our business find better ways to provide the materials the world needs.

“With the backing of industry and the state government, local and international startups will receive investment opportunities and access to real-world testing and scaling support, helping Western Australia’s innovation economy to grow.”

“Securing the internationally renowned Founders Factory for Perth is a major coup for our state,” said Western Australian Premier Roger Cook. “This is the first time the tech accelerator has operated in Australia, providing a springboard for innovative local businesses to reach an international audience and maximise their chances of success.”

Founders Factory CEO Henry Lane said: “We are excited to be partnering with Rio Tinto and launching operations in Western Australia. This program can help international and local founders test their technologies with the global leader in the sector and find pathways to commercial scale and impact.”

Image credit: Isachenko

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