Bridging the divide between students and startups

Cameron Ensor
March 24, 2021
The Student Fellowship

Students are to startups what pineapple is to pizza. Although they didn’t know it initially, they were made for each other. (Prove me wrong!)

🍍+ 🍕= 🤤

Even more exciting than our favourite fruit-Italian combo is what Startmate has in store for students in 2021. But first, there’s some context you knead to know.

Refining the recipe

In late-2020, the Startmate team launched a Student Fellowship MVP.*

*Although you’re all the Most Valuable Players in our eyes, we mean minimum viable product here.

It comprised 3 main parts.

1. Internship: our Student Fellows gained hands-on experience by completing internships in engineering, design and growth roles at startups such as Bellish, Ovira, MorseMicro, JigSpace, Syncio, Gridcognition, LIGR Live, LawOnEarth, XY Sense, SenseOfSelf, Perx Health, Vexev and Airrobe.

2. Community and content: our Fellows had sessions with leaders from Blackbird Ventures, SquarePeg Capital, DormRoomFund, Brighte, Atlassian, Propellor Aero, and Mindset Health, learning what it’s actually like to build a startup.

3. Mentoring: we believe finding an amazing mentor at the beginning of your career changes everything, so we paired our students with mentors from Canva, Atlassian, Dovetail, Auror, Matrak, Upguard and Eucalyptus. This gave students a supportive figure in a similar field with whom they could share their experiences and gain insights into best practices.

In summary, 800 applications were received, 250 candidates were shortlisted, and 20 students were selected and offered internships.

More than half of the Fellows loved the experience so much that they’re still working in their startups today.

Drumroll please…

With interest in the beta program exceeding initial expectations, in 2021, we plan to scale the Student Fellowship.

We want to provide 300 students in both the winter and summer breaks with the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of startup life at some of the best startups Australia and New Zealand have to offer.

Our mission is to create a pathway for Aussie and Kiwi students to launch their careers into startups. In fact, more than A pathway, we want our Student Fellowship to become THE pathway for talented uni students like yourselves.

For too long, startups have lacked university presence and have under-recognised students as an incredible source of talent and creativity. We reckon they don’t know what they’re missing!

A deluxe combo

The student-startup relationship is one that makes sense on a multitude of levels. (Almost as many levels as in a big corporate hierarchy. 😉)

For students, a startup environment is highly conducive to personal and professional growth, as you trial a variety of roles and get to see the tangible impact of your work. The experience and approach to tackling problems gained in a startup will help you wherever your endeavours take you.

Like many students from our first cohort, our prediction is that you’ll love the experience and will want to keep working in the startup space just a ‘little’ longer. 😁

But don’t just take our word for it.

“By the third day of my internship, I was already pitching to the Queensland Small Business Commission.”

— Tsamara, Student Fellow (Summer 2020/21)

On the startup side, capital and talent are both crucial to creating a thriving business.

Managing talent, therefore, is a major determinant of success. In this domain, students offer great diversity of thought and contribute to a number of meaningful tasks, without a formidable cost burden. (Don’t worry, you will still be paid something for your hard work!)

The internship provides a perfect opportunity for a startup to see the valuable contributions of students to their mission, without an immediate long-term obligation.

Through the Student Fellowship, we connect startups with talented students who have been vetted, upskilled, and are ready to be valuable contributors in a startup setting.

“The great thing about hiring through Startmate is the people who join through one of the Fellowship programs are already pre-selected for being amazing. They are looking for change and roles where they can have a big impact, and everything that working for a startup can provide.”

— Fabian Le Gay Brereton, Founder and CEO, Gridcognition (Startmate, Mel20 Alumni)

What does the program look like?

TLDR: 2-week bootcamp full of AMAs with amazing founders and operators and mentoring, that gets you ready for a startup job ready. Read more here.

Is this for me?

Our Student Fellows come from all backgrounds, experiences and walks of life.

However, they are all:

  • Curious about the possibility of a career in the startup world;
  • Tenacious and willing to create their own opportunities;
  • Fast-moving individuals who thrive in chaos and uncertainty;
  • Problem-solvers who love finding creative solutions; and
  • Team players looking to make authentic connections and join a community for life.

So, whether you’re studying arts, business, law, engineering, science, medicine or anything in between, we encourage you to apply.

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