March 2023 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
April 3, 2023

Hey SM Family,

The story of Startmate starts like the story of any other timeless community…

…with a passionate few.

In our case, it started with Niki Scevak bringing his friends together in a Surry Hills pub.

“The premise of Startmate was to bring together a group of people who had created technology companies and invest both money and time and belief in those raw people to, you know, take a swing at it and to give it a shot.
You go to a high school, you make a bunch of friends.
You go to university, you make a bunch of friends.
And after that, you don't really make many more friends.
And Startmate was really just another wave of friends that I had made.”
- Niki on Welcome to Day One

From this original set of Niki’s friends, Startmate has grown over the years.

We kept investing in founders - by now 200+ startups.
We kept a fresh and engaged mentor pool.

We expanded into bringing new investors on board through First Believers.
We expanded into bringing new talent into startups through the Women, Student etc Fellowships.
We expanded into supporting our community for life through the Product, Customer Success etc Fellowships.

We grew into a many-headed beast of 10 (?) Slack workspaces, one for each program.

Whilst a beast, I think about it as a friendly, supportive and reliable beast of the best kind
- kind of like... hmm... Fluffy (for the Harry Potter fans)?

This is why RIGHT NOW feels like a moment of homecoming.

I am beyond excited about what it means for us to bring the entire Startmate community under one roof.

Physically - in the expanded ambition version of our Sydney Demo Day spearheaded by Doug and Ryan of up to 750 Startmates.

Virtually - in one Slack workspace for the entire community, that will give free rein for serendipity to take shape in ways we can't yet imagine being architected by Julia for over 3,000 (?) Startmates. So get back on Slack and start exploring the new channels!

Because what was true 12 years ago…
…still holds true today.

In Niki’s words:
“And Startmate was really just another wave of friends that I had made.”

YOU are the passionate few who power the timeless community of lifelong friends.

What's on?


  • Demo Day in Sydney is around the corner on 20 April, and we want your help to create a magical event!
  • Become a  headline sponsor, or add some magic to our event by bringing an engaging activation to life. This might look like: providing an ice-cream cart or hosting the Demo Day After Party. Any creative ideas? Reach out to us here!
  • Climate Tech Fellowship applications are open! This program is shaping up to make a huge impact in climate tech. Please share this widely and with anyone you know who is longing to work on climate but needs a push in the right direction.
  • Launch Club applications are open! If you know someone who is interested in becoming a future founder,  share this with them. The program will provide aspiring founders (don’t have an idea? That’s totally fine!) with the networks, resources & practical learning to kickstart their founding journey. Got questions, sign up here for our Q&A session this Thursday.


  • Welcome Jason Fang as our Head of Finance and Fund Operations (aka HOFFO! He’ll be upgrading our investor experience, and started right on time for the Continuity Fund coming online.
  • Product Management 101 finished: Our second cohort with Harry Hamilton wrapped up this week - 52 Fellows, 22 hours of expert content, 10 phenomenal guest product speakers, a speed networking night with 13 PMs from top companies, a Hackathon with 4 of our Accelerator companies, and 2 IRL social events.
  • We’re nearly at the end of the inaugural Athlete Fellowship! This MVP program is running with 47 elite athletes across 18 different sports. We ran 20 brilliant sessions/events across the 6 weeks featuring some of our very own portfolio companies (such as Heaps Normal, Eggy, Leesy, BodyGuide, Steppen, Telecare and Resonait - to name a few). 
  • Climate Tech Fellowship is taking shape - applications close this Sunday and the quality of applicants, guest speakers, and Founding Advisors is truly next level. This is shaping up to be one heck of a program. 
  • First Believers are FIRE: We’ve seen a growing interest in demand for people wanting to get involved in this community. Cohort 5 has been selected. The quality of people remains at an all time high. We could have easily accepted another 25, however, we’ve opted to keep it intimate to allow deeper connections to be formed among the Believers.
  • Continuity Fund we’ve got all final legal docs: We have line of sight to have a first close of $15m by end of April!
  • Craig Davis is partnering with us to launch Learning from the inside: A long-time Startmate accelerator mentor has developed a program to teach the skills essential for stellar performance in high-pressure, high-growth startups, where startup operators will explore the intersection of neuroscience and reflective practices to improve their lives.


  • Euwyn, who has been running the Accelerator Operations for 2.5 years, is sadly leaving the Startmate nest. Excitingly, he’s leaving us inspired and is joining a startup in Melbourne!
  • LaunchClub marketing has been challenging as we know what it is there for (to get aspiring founders to start and focus on customers!) but has been hard to position as there are many programs which from the outside look similar.
  • Continuity Fund legal docs - feels like I’ve had this on here for a while, but frustratingly they have taken longer than anticipated. Feels like I should write a book about it, or at least a blogpost (or maybe it is just a tweet, but seriously it does take more time than I imagined).


  • Event organising - wow prices for venues have exploded. Also Startmate has exploded in size. The Melbourne Demo Day was sold out in a couple of days 6 months ago as we could only fit 350 people. This time we tried for something bigger and as it turns out there are not even that many venues that can hold 600-800 people. Fortunately, we did manage to lock in an epic venue but had to change the date to the 19th April. Next stop: rent out a stadium…

Thanks, team!

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