February 2024 Monthly Review

Michael Batko
February 29, 2024
February 2024 Monthly Review

If you'd like to receive future monthly Startmate GBUs, subscribe here. This includes a monthly GBU template for founders on sign up.

Hey Startmate Family,

Startmate lures Silicon Valley space start-up but fails to improve diversity”…

…is still the headline from 2018 that haunts me to this day.

The fact of the matter is… only 18% of VC funding goes to women-co-founded startups.

…and Statmate wasn’t much better.

This is our historical data of the % of women co-founded Accelerator companies we have invested in since 2015 (I don’t have prior data, but it wouldn’t look much better). 

This was the point, we stopped and had a long hard look at ourselves.

We are not like any other VC out there.

We’re a community of the most ambitious.

We back the hungry not the proven.

We invest all the way at the beginning.

Because of this, we are uniquely positioned to build a diverse pipeline of ambitious founders. Women and men.

So in 2017/2018, we decided we would measure/focus/prioritise playing a meaningful and crucial role in improving gender diversity in the ANZ startup ecosystem.

We made a conscious and concerted effort through women cocktail events, breakfasts to bring a founder, office hours, to launching the Women Fellowship with 550+ of 800 women starting or joining startups and many more initiatives.

It took us years to go from close to 0 to gradually creating a space for women.

It is wishful thinking to just magically go from 18% to parity investing.

You have to do the hard work, with fundamental changes and focus right at the beginning, rather than solely on the end of the journey at the stage of the investment decision.

Just like the advice I give to founders; we focused on what we could control.

Creating a safe space for hundreds and thousands of women, from all walks of life, whether they are founders, operators or investors - current or aspiring.

And all of these changes together, accumulated to us shifting the dial on investing in women.

We have just announced a 60% women co-founded S24 Accelerator cohort.

And over the last 5 years the average Startmate Accelerator cohort is 43% women co-founded companies.

There is still way more work to be done.

And we’re not slowing down, but doubling down.

So watch this space and reach out if you want to get involved as we’ll be building for

(1) women leaders,

(2) women in startups and 

(3) women in STEM next.

PS: if you’re a VC reading this and want to make a difference, there is such an easy first step - get involved in ie the Women Fellowship or sponsor a couple of scholarships for women from low socioeconomic backgrounds - it changes the world for someone, one person at a time - so just hit reply.

PPS: my team sneakily put this 2mins video up covering the above in our internal team meeting if you prefer a short video. ( 😅 the quote I’m butchering is: what gets measured, gets done)

What’s on?


✨URGENT: We need you to touch base with all the talented women in your life who are wasting their time in rigid, boring or soul-sucking roles and send them to our Women Fellowship website (after genuinely asking them how they're doing).

🎤EVENT: Startmate x International Women’s Day: 8 March in Sydney and Melbourne

  • Register for Sydney event here

🌱CLIMATE: Applications close this weekend for the Climate Tech Fellowship! 

  • Apply here or refer anyone you think would be interested here.

🧑‍🚀FOUNDERS: We are hunting for next-gen Launch Club founders. Apply for our pre-accelerator. 

  • Apply here or refer anyone you think would be interested here.

🚀 GREAT alumni news

  • Bugcrowd (2013) banks $156m! Proudly, Startmate was the first believer back in 2013. It’s been an epic journey since. Kudos Casey!  Read more here
  • Lyrebird Health (W23) Announces a newly forged partnership with Best Practice Software. This is BIG! From meeting one another in the Student Fellowship > Launch Club > Accelerator. We’ve proudly been believers in Kai and Linus from Day 0. Big things ahead! Read more here 

😀 Good

  • New Startmate! We’ve hired a new Investments Associate to run the First Believers program and help us surface the best early stage founders in ANZ. After an intensive selection process with 200+ applicants and 5 stages, it is fair to say that our new Startmate blew our socks off and is bloody incredible. We can’t wait for her to start in two weeks.
  • Accelerator update: We’re now wrapping up Week 6 of the S24 Accelerator (can’t believe we’re nearly halfway through it!). The cohort has been heads-down speaking to customers and driving towards product-market fit. Aside from that, our teams have had some exciting progress, ranging from launching an MVP to solidifying product positioning to landing massive enterprise clients. Interested in hearing more about their growth? Stay tuned for a Demo Day announcement and HOLD MAY 2 FREE in your calendars. 
  • Founder Drinks: We brought back our small, intimate founder drinks across Sydney, Melbourne and (next week) Auckland. Such a great and mighty crew coming together from our earliest 2011 cohort all the way to our current one. We loved it so much we’ll keep doing them every 2 months.
  • Climate Tech mini series: we hosted our first week-long virtual series highlighting the wonderful world of climate tech. 300 people heard inspiring stories, tinkered with climate simulations and connected with each other throughout the week. 
  • First Believer: we’re in the final stages of selecting Cohort 7 - so many incredible applicants about to be unleashed into the ecosystem.

🥴 Bad

  • More Women Angels Needed: There’s more work to be done to improve the gender split of the top of the funnel for aspiring angels who are applying for First Believers.
  • Gov Grants are not our forte: unfortunately, we’re not (yet) great at government relations, getting knocked back in grant applications
  • Do you know any grants or people in government who could make a difference?
  • We help 800 fellows transition into tech careers (200 women, 400 students, 200 climate fellows), 200 founders start new companies, 150 new angel investors and are the most active seed stage investor in OZ backing 43% women-cofounded companies.

😵‍💫 Ugly

  •  Slack is extortionate: the pricing just doesn’t work for a community as you pay per active member. We were quoted $120k / year… SO we’ve got to explore something better.
  • Does anyone have feedback on Circle? Good? Bad?

Hope you enjoyed the read, fam!

Reminder that if you'd like to receive future monthly Startmate GBUs, subscribe here. This includes a monthly GBU template for founders on sign up.

Give the author some love!
Written by
Michael BatkoMichael Batko
Written by

More Articles