May 2021 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
May 31, 2021
May 2021

Hi SM Family,

Over the past 3 years, there’s been a running Mentor joke that every Accelerator selection process and cohort is completely different to the one prior...

It’s true.

We take feedback on board, iterate fast, are not afraid to experiment and, hopefully, in the process, improve everyone’s experience.

I can comfortably say that Startmate has once again transformed. 

In December last year, we were a team of 4, running the Accelerator and the Women Fellowship on fumes.

Today, we’re a team of 12 (14 in June) building the epicentre of startup ambition across Australia and New Zealand through 11 different products, gradually shifting the centre of gravity so there’s no better place in the world to build a startup than as part of Startmate’s community.

You can raise your first cheque, find co-founders, get mentorship, accelerate and expand through Startmate. You’re surrounded by talented Women, Student and Engineering Fellows who want to join your startup, and you can get access from the most diverse base of early-stage investors.

I can comfortably say there’s never been a better time to join Startmate.


On that note, here’s an overview of the Startmate Stack 🥞

Founder Products

  1. Open House >> any Founder gets access to Mentors + insight into Startmate. Finished last week
  2. Founder Fellowship >> validating a problem and finding co-founders. Applications due Sunday
  3. Accelerator >> ambitious Founders ready to accelerate. Applications due tomorrow

Operator Products

  1. Liminal >> virtual conference to experience Startmate and raise interest for Fellowships
  2. Women Fellowship >> helping women make the jump into startups. Cohort 5 finished last week
  3. Student Fellowship >> providing students with a startup career path. Cohort 2 kick off in June, hire an intern here
  4. Engineering Fellowship >> getting more engineers into startups, launching in September
  5. Fellowship Coaches >> senior startup leaders giving back by coaching Fellows and learning from each other

Investor Products

  1. First Believers >> practical Fellowship for aspiring angels. Cohort 2 kicking off this week
  2. Small Bets Fund >> fund that invests $25k all year round, supported by deal flow through the First Believers community
  3. Accelerator Mentors >> every Accelerator Mentor has skin in the game and invests in the Accelerator fund

And if you haven’t yet met the Startmate Team, this is us! 👇

Growth & Retention aka Outreach & Community

  • Lauren Capelin, Principal - scouting for the most ambitious Founders across ANZ
  • Bronte McHenry, Outreach & Events Associate - bringing the vibe to Startmate’s community, content and events
  • Ryan Walker, Outreach & Partnership Associate - our man on the ground in NZ, building out our partner network across the region

Product Leaders aka Program Managers

  • Sascha Kerbert, Head of Accelerator - engaging with Mentors, and fundraising to continually expand the Accelerator and bring MVPs to life
  • Sophia Witherington, Head of Fellowship - engaging with Coaches, and fuelling the Fellowship fire
  • Euwyn Goh, Accelerator Associate - running our Accelerator program without a hitch in his step 
  • Cristabel Gekas, Women Fellowship Associate - empowering women to seize their dream careers through the Women Fellowship
  • Cameron Ensor, Student Fellowship Associate - hustling to construct the Student Fellowship runway on the fly
  • Brady Flockart, Investor Associate - taking the First Believers program to entirely new heights

Infrastructure aka Building Startmate Operations

  • Anubhav Ghosh, Launch Ops - creating infrastructure at rocketship speed to launch new products
  • Chief of Staff (joining 28 June) - team operations, community cohesion and the glue that holds everything together
  • Product Manager (joining 15 June) - rolling out streamlined systems across our growing range of products
  • Financial Operations Manager (hiring now) - taking ownership of FinOps and growing the operations team

As you’ve probably noticed, I keep using ‘product language’.

Startmate is (soon to be) a team of 14 people who empower 1,000+ people a year to find and work on their life’s mission. We can’t do that by ourselves, so we’re scaling ourselves through our products designed to create life-shifting experiences.

We’re building products for ambitious people and communities to help each other.

We’re building towards our ultimate mission to become the epicentre for startup ambition.


  • New SM Role >> We’re hiring a Financial Operations Manager to run Finance at Startmate 💸 Pls share this!
  • Student Interns >> Do you want junior talent to jump in to help with Engineering, Design or BizOps? Sign up here if you want a Student intern for 3-6+ months!
  • Accelerator Applications >> Who is the one most ambitious founder you want to see in Startmate? Introduce them to me and ask them to apply by tomorrow!
  • Founders Fellowship Applications >> Founders Fellowship applications close on Sunday! Tell Founders who are looking for a cofounder.
  • KPMG Startmate Community Pulse survey >> We want to better understand your experiences as members of our community, plus help us improve our program offerings. Please take 15 mins to share your experience. Survey closes tomorrow!

Startmate Goals


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

  • 🚗Ryan and the Blackbird team went around New Zealand on the roadshow to attract Founders, Fellows and Mentors.
  • 🔥If you’re not subscribed to the Startmate newsletter, you’re missing out! It has received a Brontilicious upgrade.
  • ✈️ Lauren represented Startmate at Southstart and Venture DownUnder.
  • 🙌 The Startmate team has grown from 4 to 12 of us over the past 5 months and we check in our Culture quarterly. With a CultureAmp score of 92 everyone is feeling engaged in their work.

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

  • 📝 We’ve changed our subscription deeds into subscription agreements. Small change with a big impact - agreements don’t need to be wet signed. A win for all of our mentors.
  • 💪 We run lots of cohorts and kick off lots of new products/programs, so we’ve rolled out a templated Strategy (incl Pre- Post Mortem) so we can design products and future cohorts with more clarity and build on all previous feedback.
  • 🌅We’re very close to signing our first ever Startmate Office and HQ in Melbourne #soon

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

  • 💸 The Small Bets Fund with a target of $1m is now $700k to $1.1m committed.
  • 🏡 We’ve reimagined the Office Hours experience to make it into Open House and give Founders even more help and insight into how Startmate works. AS part of that we ran 6 fireside chats all attended by 60-120 founders 7 smaller networking events with 10-20 founders each.


  • 💥 The Autumn21 Women Fellowship finished on a high (pics below)
  • 🤯 OpenHouse finished with 533 founders being matched with 125 mentors over the two weeks with a total of 1,000+ sessions and 90+ “Hell Yes I would love to invest” ratings
  • 👩‍🎓 The Student Fellowship offers went out to 150+ students out of 700+ applications. Wanna hire a Student - leave your internship or JD here.
  • 💸 First Believers cohort 1 validated many of our assumptions with an NPS of 70+ and cohort 2 has been selected and ready for kick off this week.


  • 😔 Despite our overall CultureAmp wellbeing score being high, there are always ways to improve. Our lowest scores are on a work scope and support front. We’re stretched. BUT we’ll have our Product Manager and Chief of Staff joining in June, and we’re hiring a Financial Operations Manager.


  • 👩‍⚖️ The Small Bets Fund is committed and ready to be raised, but we’re held up by lawyers getting an Information Memorandum and tax advice drafted. Stay tuned - expected fund opening 1 July with the final close on 31 July.

Startmate in the News



  • Amber backed by $20m CBA round - StartupDaily
  • Josef raises Series A from Carthona - AFR
  • Jigspace partnered up with Snapchat - Twitter


As always open for any questions - hit me up or post into #ama on Slack!

Thanks, Team!

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