May 2023 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
June 2, 2023
May 2023 Monthly Update

Here’s a statistic that sucks:

In AU in 2022, 10% of VC capital went to startups with at least one woman in the co-founding team.

This number has been all over the media over the last 6 months, and deservedly - it’s incredibly frustrating that despite our ecosystem's supposed best efforts, so little funding is going to women founders: this % has actually trended downwards over the last few years.

Plenty of VCs are doing some incredibly admirable work in this space to try and fund more women founders: increasing women-founded deal flow, reducing bias in the decision-making process, you name it. These are all imperative initiatives and we applaud them.

But at Startmate, we look at the problem a little differently.

We’re looking upstream to understand how we actually got here, and how we can work at the cause of the problem to create systemic change.

So - let’s take a step back.

(1) Year 13, 2022.

(2) Tech Council of Australia, 2022

(3) Startup Genome, 2023

(4) State of Australian Startup Funding Report, 2023

These numbers tell a really interesting story.

Only a third of women in high school are even considering a career in tech, compared to over two-thirds of men.

About a quarter of the people working in tech are women.

Only 15% of the founders building the future of this country are female.

So now, when we arrive at this final, dismal statistic - it actually makes quite a bit of sense.

This is where Startmate comes in.

For four years now, we’ve been working to systematically address this problem at every level.

We inspire young women to lean into tech as a career path through the Student Fellowship (45% women/non-binary participants).

We run the life-changing Women fellowship to help women make the transition into tech (100% women/non-binary participants).

We run Launch Club (our pre-accelerator program) to help aspiring founders launch their startup (48% women/non-binary participants over the last 2 cohorts).

The impact of this?

In our recent accelerator application round, we had nearly 500 applications, and ~ 45% of them were women-founded startups.

For our last 6 accelerator cohorts, we've invested in ~ 45% women-founded companies.

This is what impact at scale looks like. And loath we are to say ‘we’re just getting started’ - it’s absolutely true. Watch this space.

What’s on?


  • 💃 Were you amped up by the impact Startmate is having on women in startups above and keen to be part of building the future for women in startups?! We very quickly hit our cap for Coaches for the upcoming Women Fellowship, but there are plenty of other options to get involved:
  • Industry Exploration Night - Thursday, June 15 from 5:30-6:30 pm6:30pm (AEST).
  • Get the Women Fellows inspired and excited about some of the super cool problems being solved in the startup space
  • Startup Roles Q&A Night - Thursday, July 6 from 5:30-6:30 pm (AEST).
  • Help the Women Fellows explore potential roles in the startup world 
  • If you’re interested in hosting a virtual table for either of these events, please sign up HERE by Monday, June 5!
  • Note: We are looking for those who have been working in the startup/VC space for at least 3+ years.
  • 🧑‍🎓Want to help build the next generation of startup talent and dip your toe into coaching (maybe for the first time)? We’re looking for some more superstar Student Fellowship coaches. It’s 4-5 hours, 26 June-14 July. Keen?! Find out more & sign up HERE by 9 June 🦸


  • 10% off if you’re a Startmate fellow
  • 50% off if you’re a Startmate founder 


  • ✋Welcome to 3 new Startmates: Mia Millman (running the Women and Student Fellowships), Kaya Moore (helping us launch new Fellowships) and Holly Brooks (Content Lead). We adore you all already.
  • 💞Startmates Wellbeing: We’re very pleased to say that our latest Culture Amp well-being score of 80 is our highest in a looong time. This has been a concerted effort on many fronts so we’re really stoked to see the impact here.
  • 💸 We’re capping our Accelerator Fund size. We’re having to turn away or scale back allocations in the funds due to the strong demand from investors. I guess a good problem to have?
  • 🤝 We just signed off on our first Continuity Fund investment. It’s the largest cheque we’ve ever written at Startmate. Super excited to continue investing in our alumni.
  • 🕵️Selection for the W23 cohort has just kicked off! There are a lot of moving parts and people that help us select the lucky 12-15 companies and to make this experience that much better we’ve rebuilt the entire process on its own platform to help us better highlight investment thinking and add in a little bit of fun to level up something that’s been under-served for a long time.
  • 📈 Record application numbers: We recently advertised for a CoS - Founders role and had nearly 200 applicants. Always gratifying to see our community rallying around Startmate opportunities!
  • 🌱 Climate Tech Fellowship has reached Week 5 of 8 and we’ve had absolutely cracking sessions across the different sectors of climate tech (think clean energy, agtech, food, waste and more!). Our Fellows also got the opportunity to visit some of the most exciting climate tech companies including Amber, Vow, Hullbot, Goterra, Tritium and Aquila! 
  • 🧑‍🚀Launch Club is getting to the pointy end of the program with amazing sessions from Startmate’s very own Paul Boudet, Cassie Bell, Jenny Rudd & Jindou Lee. Next week we are excited to join forces with the First Believers program in what will be a great opportunity to cross-pollinate our investor and founder communities.
  • 🍯 First Believers joined forces with Blackbird’s Giants in an epic Pitch Roulette. 27 hours worth of pitching in under 90 minutes! 82 startups, 55 First Believers, 164 pitches, 273 votes. Is this ANZ’s biggest pitch night?


  • 😥 Goodbyes: In May we said farewell to Doug (our Accelerator Lead). Doug did an incredible job leading Demo Day and we’ll miss him! 
  • 💽 Website update: A side effect of this is that the inimitable Ryan is jumping back on the accelerator train to project manage selection. He’s such a weapon that we’re stoked to have him leading this, but it does mean we’re pushing back the website update for another few months. 
  • 🎨 Rebrand: On that note: SM needs a rebrand. We’re really excited to kick off this project soon!


  • 🪫 Low energy: The one factor that has dropped in our Culture Amp survey is energy. It’s been a huge 5 months to kick this year off and SM is moving faster than we ever have - but this has taken its toll on the team’s energy levels. 

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

More Articles