Making Australia and
New Zealand
the best place in the world to build a startup

We're on a mission to unleash startup ambition by building a platform that accelerates exceptional companies


Since our inception, we have invested in 170+ startups with a combined valuation of more than $2 billion.

The story

Startmate was created in 2011 when there was latent creativity and potential in Australia, but no venture capital or accelerators to support it.

Niki Scevak (who would go on to found Blackbird Ventures) and a bunch of successful founders (including Mike and Scott from Atlassian) put their money where their mouths were. Everyone invested $10k into a micro-fund to invest in the next generation of early-stage founders, and started building a community of successful founders to support them.

Nowadays, we run two Accelerator cohorts a year and have a world-class community of VCs, mentors and alumni who share our vision, all of whom invest their own time and money into each cohort. To date we have invested in 170+ startups.

Over the time, the Fellowship was born to create pathways for super ambitious operators. Empowering the hungry, not the proven, the Fellowship supports the community by empowering and developing a pool of talent that will accelerate startup growth.

We want all Startmate's Fellowships to play a critical role in the growth of the Australian and New Zealand tech ecosystem. We provide pathways for the most ambitious operators into the Narnia of iconic Australian and Kiwi startups.

We challenge and support the ecosystem to think bigger. Our mission is to create a prosperous country as the world progresses.

The Startmate team
Sascha Kerbert
Head of Accelerator
Sophia Witherington
Head of Fellowship
Phoebe Pincus
Chief of Staff
Brady Flockart
Senior Investor Associate
Cristabel Gekas
Women Fellowship Associate
Euwyn Goh
Accelerator Associate
Cameron Ensor
Student Fellowship Associate
Bronte McHenry
Outreach and Events Associate
Anubhav Ghosh
Launch Ops
Ryan Walker
Community and Partnerships
Our values
Our culture is best articulated through our values and operating principles. Our values at the set of guiding principles that help us and our community agree on what matters. Our Operating Principles are practical guidance for how to put these values into action.

🚀

Just start, mate

Operating principle: Ship it!

Operating Principle - Ship It!

We’re as ambitious, scrappy and fast-moving as the startups we back.

We value creating and experimenting on the fly, rather than having all the answers before we start. We back each other to have a go and get stuck into something without necessarily knowing what the outcome will be. When things don’t work out, we’re okay with that, as long as we’re learning and growing and sharing those insights with each other. 

You probably wouldn’t enjoy working here if you're a perfectionist, like to play it safe, are uncomfortable with failure in public, want an instruction manual, or need permission to fix things.

If you love creating on the fly, learning as you go, setting wildly ambitious goals and moving at top speed, then all aboard!

🐺

Wolfing

Operating principle: Build in public

Operating Principle - Build in public

We share the good, the bad and the ugly as individuals, as a team and as a company, and we actively seek out feedback for our growth.

Wolfing is a culture of not just being open to feedback, but actively seeking it out too. This is lived through the principle of building in public, which forces us to be open about our mistakes and struggles and how we’re responding to adversity, as well as our wins and triumphs. This, in turn, helps us build trust and normalise failure.

This culture creates a dialogue that invites maximum feedback, which enables us to learn from each other and our customers and community. It also acts as  a proxy for how we build relationships. We don’t pretend to have everything figured out. Rather, it’s all about sharing, welcoming feedback and growing together.

Our team knows that our multiplier for growth is how much we can encourage and be open to feedback. We’re open to debates and robust discussions. People will probably find our levels of feedback and transparency unsettling at first. But being open and honest about who we are, where we’re heading, and how we’re going about it, is what makes us strong.

🕺

Vibing

Operating principle: Welcome to Breakfast Club

Operating Principle - Welcome to Breakfast Club

Bring your weirdness to work.

Vibing is the magic that happens when two or more people connect as their genuine selves, and together, create something exponentially greater than they could have conceived on their own.

We’re a melting pot of uniquely weird people — and embracing and celebrating this is what gives us our uniquely weird flavour. If we’re not having fun, if we’re taking things (or ourselves) a bit too seriously, we’re not doing it right.

We truly believe you work better when you can be yourself. We’re about helping people figure out who they are, and their own personal values and purpose, and then giving them the support, encouragement and guidance to bring their whole selves to work.

🤙

Mate-ship

Operating principle: Steer the waka

Operating Principle -  Raise the Waka

We’re a community of mates working towards a common mission that's bigger and more important than any one individual goal.

This value sets the tone for how we interact with each other and our community.

If you're in our community, we’re not your parents, bosses or colleagues, we're your mates. We’re on your level. Your success is our success, and we will sing it from the rooftops. We will cheer you through the highlights, but also give you tough love when required. We are a genuinely neutral third party within the startup ecosystem. Our mission is to make ANZ the best place in the world to build a startup, so if you’re contributing to that, we’re your mates. 

Raising the waka is all about building each other up, which is fundamental to helping us achieve our mission. While we all strive for individual excellence, the team’s success is more important. We're a team of people who contribute outside the scope of their own roles when it means driving the waka upwards and onwards. No task is beneath us. You shouldn’t be afraid to do the unpopular work if it helps someone else.

Increase surface area for luck to strike

Operating principle: Give the community a job

Operating Principle - Give the community a job

We're always looking through the lens of scale, whether it's at the community, product or individual level.

We know we're our own biggest bottleneck. After all, we can only grow as fast as the systems we create. To maximise growth and impact, we need to leverage each other and our community.

We’re trying to build something where people can create value for themselves and others, because Startmate itself will never be as talented and magical as the sum of our community. Our goal is to give the community a platform to self-propagate and grow.

The more people in our community, the greater the chance of serendipitous connections and for luck to strike.

Life @ Startmate

LaunchVic is powering Startmate to boost entrepreneurial activity, angel investment and talent development across the Victorian startup ecosystem over the next three years.
Read more here.