May 2022 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
May 31, 2022

Hi SM Family,

If you’re reading this, I’m already gone (on annual leave in Europe). Gabby and I left Melbourne for Austria on May 7th, and have been working remotely for the majority of the month. 

I’m thrilled to say I’m not alone in this either. 

The team has embraced flexible work with renewed enthusiasm this month! Bronte went to Hobart, Phoebe and Megan visited Ryan in New Zealand, to name a few. 


  • No asks this month. 

Startmate goals

We call this the Triple P strategy: Programs, Products, Platform.

Programs — get everyone working in their power lanes and launch 7 new programs.

  • Applications for the W22 accelerator cohort closes this Sunday, and selection kicks off next week!
  • We are now just over halfway through the Women Fellowship, and have had 25+ incredible sessions hosted by some amazing members of the Startmate community.
  • Over the last fortnight, First Believers cohort 3 have been reviewing more than 400 early-stage companies… Rumour has it they’re about to start investing $25k from the Small Bets Fund into a number of them!  
  • The Media Fellowship is just over the halfway mark. The sessions and insights from speakers have been incredible and Fellows have had the chance to meet 1:1 with many of our expert advisors to help hone their craft. 
  • The Winter22 Student Fellowship cohort has attracted 800+ started and 550+ completed applications. The students coming through are seriously impressive and we can’t wait to welcome our new cohort into the Startmate family.

Products — build our first tech product and raise a financial product (the Continuity Fund).

  • We recently kicked off a discovery design sprint and have validated some crucial steps forward with employers to inform V2 of the Talent Engine.
  • We’ve spoken to a number of superannuation funds about investing in the Continuity Fund. Large family offices up next!   

Platform — integrate programs and products to work together on one platform.

  • No major updates on this front.


  • I’m thrilled to have Kirstin Hunter join the Startmate board. She’s the Chief People, Risk and Legal Officer at Brighte and a long time Startmate fellow coach and supporter. This is a big step in Startmate’s maturity with our first non-Startmate/Blackbird board member. The board now consists of myself, Kirstin and Niki Scevak, Startmate founder.
  • Women Fellowship mid-program feedback is in and the current NPS is 67. In particular, the Women Fellows had high praise for their Buddies (9.4/10), the SM Team (9.3/10), program content (8.9/10), social events (8.7/10) and their Coaches (8.4/10). We’ve actioned key changes to address the main areas for improvement (Fellow-to-Fellow connections and the rapid pace of the Fellowship).
  • The programming for the Media Fellowship has been epic, with recent sessions from David Swan (technology reporter at The Australian), Rohit Bhargava (founder of The Startup Playbook Podcast), Zara Seidler (co-founder of The Daily Aus) and many more superstars. Fellows are loving the sense of community, are feeling motivated and inspired to produce and ship content and have been jumping in and providing feedback on each other's content. One piece of feedback: “This program has blown me away. The amazing quality of content in the sessions, high quality advisors, insane efficiency of the entire thing. Julia and Lauren have been amazing. I’ve also felt very inspired and motivated to create more content. I’ve posted 5 times a week on my Instagram, seen an increase in engagement and am about to launch a new blog with 2 finished articles. Very happy with the progress.”
  • We co-hosted six thematic SM Underground events last week, with the goal of meeting new founders working at the cutting edge of their industries.


  • As the Media Fellowship is an MVP, we’re doing lots of experimentation. Mid-program feedback has helped shape some big ideas for future cohorts, as well as for the remaining half of the program. Feedback has shown that Fellows would like more tactical sessions and increased structure around elements of the program.


  • No uglies in May!

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

Thanks Team!

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