In good company: Why I’m doing the Women’s Fellowship

June 7, 2023
Startmate - The epicentre for startup ambition across Australia and New Zealand.



  1. The epicentre for startup ambition across Australia and New Zealand.
  2. A member of the Startmate community (mentor, fellow, investor, founder, operator) (aka the most talented and ambitious people across the ANZ startup ecosystem).

If you’re a living, breathing human on the internet, there’s a good chance you’ve stumbled across a Startmate. 

We’ve all seen that curious post appear in our feed. “Lachlan is a First Believer”, “Bonnie is a Student Fellow Coach”, “Tim is a Climate Tech Fellow.”

The little update that suggests “✨I’m up to something✨”. 

So, what exactly are they all up to? And, what is this Startmate thing all about?

I’m Penny, and I’ve taken the liberty of applying for, getting accepted into, and becoming a Fellow in the current Women Fellowship cohort, just, so I can get to the bottom of this — for all of us. 

I’ve been in the fellowship all of five-minutes, and here’s what I’ve unearthed.   

The essence of a Startmate

In a nutshell, Startmate is the epicentre for startup ambition. It is a delicious little ecosystem where founders, creators, people who work in startups, people who want to work in startups, mentors and investors come together to form a bubble of startup-life.   

This community is a hotbed for opportunity.

Startmates’ come from all walks of life. Fascinating careers, distinct backgrounds, varying skill sets; many have worked globally and impart extensive knowledge across a range of different industries.  

Diversity is what makes this community particularly beautiful — the possibilities, talent pool and subject matter experts that you are in the company of and have access to, is what makes this circle so rich.

A certain something

They also hold an incredible, intangible asset — a certain je ne sais quoi... a certain spark

Call it what you want, the spark, flow, buzz, energy in this ecosystem isn’t chaotic (as you so often imagine startups to be), but instead is calm, composed, focussed. There’s an overwhelming feeling that you’re in safe hands and that those hands have the power to make magic happen.

This ‘spark’ is infectious and it’s self perpetuating — the shared passion, forward-thinking and solution-focused attitude creates momentum, and if you are lucky enough to be in the vicinity of this — then ride-that-wave.

A community of ambition

Finally, and really most importantly, there is a real sense of togetherness

Startmates’ share a common trait — it’s not enough that they are just ambitious, or that they want to create impact — it’s that they are all active participants in their own lives, literally throwing themselves in the path of opportunity. They’ve all made a conscious decision which has led them here to the Startmate community, which in turn will take them all the way out there 🚀.

People come here to thrive.

From corporate to startups 

After a decade-long career in corporate, I stumbled into the startup world — like many great things in life, it happened when I least expected it.

While I brought with me the necessary leadership, strategy and technical skills; my network has stayed fixed  — dotted along Collins St, Melbourne in corporate territory. The people I look to for mentorship, insight, to bounce ideas, talk campaigns, and find out how they dealt with ‘X, Y and Z issues’, can only provide insight into their experience, which is now in a completely different postcode to me.

I applied for the Women’s Fellowship to not only learn from the best in the business, optimise how I operate, and understand how I can best support my founders and growing team —  but also, to make some startup friends 🫶 — other people that I can chat careers, compare notes and attend events with.

Once a Startmate, always a Startmate

It is evident, even 5-minutes in, that all of the things I was searching for, are available to me here in the Startmate community. The network, support, opportunities (and friends) — the “Startmate-world” is my oyster. It’s also clear that it doesn’t have to end when the fellowship does — once a Startmate, always, a Startmate. 

So, I guess what I’m trying to say is yes, I’m up to something. Follow along on the journey — or better yet, throw yourself in the path of opportunity and become a Startmate too.

Who is Penny Holloway?

Penny is the Head of Marketing and Communications for the global internship edtech platform, InternMatch. After dark, she runs her own Marketing Consultancy — Casual Friday Co — assisting startups with brand and content development. 

Importantly, Penny is a Women’s Fellow in the Winter 2023 cohort! You will be hearing from her frequently over the next 12 weeks as she takes you behind the scenes of the Women’s Fellowship.

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The Startmate Women Fellowship is a program and community for ambitious women looking to supercharge their career in startups.

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Written by
Written by
Penny HollowayPenny Holloway
Penny is a Marketing Lead and Consultant, hanging out in Brand, Strategy and Creative Development. She is also a Women's Fellow in the W23 cohort!

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