April 2021 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
April 30, 2021
April 2021

Hi SM Family,

It’s a tale as old as time, that’s been the focal point for many a Hollywood movie.

A parent (let’s call him Michael Batko) finally has enough children that the teens can babysit the youngsters, so takes a much needed vacation, leaving emergency numbers on the fridge.

The teens (let’s call them Sascha, Lauren and Sophia) ditch school and throw a raging house party. The football team shows up, the quarterback is a love interest, there is a small fire, and then a nerdy boy Lauren has never really noticed saves the day. She is smitten.

Meanwhile, the kids (let’s call them Euwyn, Anubhav, Brady, Ryan, Crista, Cam and Bronte) go on a wild adventure, accidentally bust a small crime ring and find a stray dog that just happens to be incredibly intelligent.

As you’ve probably gathered, thanks to the Startmate team's speedy growth, Batko has finally taken a holiday!

We’ve been without the big guy for 308 hours and counting. He left some instructions, and took off, sunblock and hiking boots in hand, and what happened next was nothing like the movie version.

Everyone’s been super responsible and well behaved, no one's arrived late to work in their PJs, and there hasn't been a single fire!

We even ghost-wrote his monthly GBU wrap-up! Have a squiz to learn what we’ve been up to this month. 👇 👇


  • Drumroll please... Applications for the Founder Fellowship are about to open! Do you have a burning need to solve a big problem? Do you need to find a co-founder, validate an idea and accelerate early traction? If you answered "hell yes!", leave your details here. Or, if you've got a friend who would say "that's me!", forward them the link. 🧨
  • We’re in the selection phase for the W21 Accelerator cohort. Know someone? Refer them to Lauren!
  • Know a startup in need of talent? Tell them to hire a fellow! Here's a list of Fellows ready to hit the ground running.
  • Know a startup in need of student interns? Send them Cam’s way.

Startmate Goals

1. Extend our reach - team, outreach, events, equitable design, segmented database

  • Demo Day was a huge success. More than 70 investors came to Investor Hour, talking to our 18 cohort companies over an hour, a total of ~420 investor connections.
  • We added 1,000 more people to our newsletter mailing list.
  • We officially launched our Founders Fellowship. ⭐️
  • Cam has been establishing lots of great university connections with faculty, societies, colleges and influencers.
  • AKL Office Hours went well, with about 25 founders involved.

2. Explicit infrastructure - copy paste program infrastructure, dashboards, FinOps

  • We shipped our new website, and got over 400 visits from all over the world in the first 30 seconds after announcing the news. We also ditched the .au and are now officially a global business at startmate.com. Credit to Ryan for all his hard work in designing and building the site.
  • We had an inaugural Program Leaders meeting kick off, with Sophia bringing together Crista, Cam, Euwyn and Brady with the aim of synthesising what we are building in each of our programs to create one consistent SM community and experience.
  • Brady automated the First Believers application process and presented his learnings to the team. He has built some scalable program mechanics that we’ll be able to roll out for all our program applications.

3. Experiment with products - Accelerator, Fellowship (Women, Student, Eng, Founders), First Believers, City

  • Responding to Founder feedback, we experimented with more community-centric sessions (like Water Cooler Chats) in the Accelerator for the last few weeks of the program.
  • The online conference format for Demo Day using Airmeet was a first for us, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Huge kudos to Bronte for taking the reins on this within her first month!
  • Our new website is built using Notion and Super, as opposed to Squarespace, making it an ongoing work-in-progress that we can update in real time across the team.
  • Open House will build on Office Hours by offering talks, fireside chats, founder-to-founder speed dating, in addition to the usual founder-to-mentor sessions.
  • Cam tried heaps of different outreach methods and comms for the student fellowship to see what got the most traction. He even took to campus, gorilla marketing-style, with a customised T-shirt bearing a QR code.


  • Demo Day trended on Twitter!
  • Open House applications launched earlier than they did last year, with an expanded program on offer
  • Sophia and Sascha got to work out of the Melb office for one week, and jam with the team down there!
  • We closed a $2 million fund for the first time in Startmate history.
  • The new members of the Startmate team are all finding their feet.
  • We hired a Chief of Staff!
  • We made an offer to a Product Manager for the Fellowship programs.
  • A bunch of First Believers wrote their first cheques (including into SM21 and verbally committing to the Small Bets Fund).
  • We had 715 applications for the Student Fellowship, thanks to Cam hustling and trying dozens of different outreach strategies. Notably, he sent a YAMM to 658 university faculty members, contacted 463 university societies across 30 universities, ran an AMA and reached out to people 1:1 on LinkedIn.
  • Mid-point feedback for the Women Fellowship is rolling in, and the Fellows are LOVING the community so far. One Fellow said: "It has changed my life and made me feel like I have countless opportunities. It has given me strength and courage to seek opportunities that I would not have had without the Fellowship."


  • We didn't test the livestream before Demo Day kicked off and the stream started 15 minutes into the event.
  • Lower overall registrations and attendance at Demo Day.
  • The website was launched later than planned.
  • The $2 million fund closed slightly late. The process still improved from last time, but we'll be closing the W21 fund BEFORE the program kicks off. There are also still some outstanding S21 investment transactions to finalise.
  • Attracting students for the winter Fellowship cohort has been more time consuming than initially thought (at least it was a once-off job).


  • Some parts of the website are unfinished. But we're getting there! continuous improvement baby!
  • Now that the team is 3x the size it was a few months ago, we are still figuring out how to keep everyone informed with everything that’s happening, without overwhelming the team on Slack.

Startmate in the news


First Believers
  • Get to know world-class athlete, VC partner and First Believer Christie Jenkins - Medium
  • How Tom Richardson became an angel investor - Medium

  • KeyLead Health is using AI to capture, manage and analyse medical data - Luna’s blog
  • How great wrap is ramping up its ethical impact - The Guardian
  • Milkdrop’s lessons learnt - LinkedIn

Thanks, team!
From Bronte, Team Startmate and Ghost-Batko 👻

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