Meet Alea, student fellow pursuing the non-traditional, entrepreneurial pathway.

Holly Brooks
February 27, 2024
Student Fellowship, Founder, Startmate, Startup

We sat down with Alea Young, Summer’24 Student Fellow who is passionate about entrepreneurship and startups. Alea shared her experience of the Student Fellowship, the startup she pitched during the Founder Challenge and why she is so interested in founding. 

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Startmate: Tell me a bit about yourself

Alea: I studied a Bachelor of Commerce majoring in finance and economics at the University of Melbourne. While I was studying, I completed internships and work experience in a wide range of industries, including consulting, tech, and hospitality. 

When I finished uni, I started working at an Australian consulting firm called NousScoop. My role was focused on the public sector across education, climate change and health. It was a really interesting experience but I quickly discovered that I wanted to deep dive into something I’m really passionate about rather than jumping between different fields. 

Today, I’m working for an Australian jewellery startup and I’m doing a Diploma in Leadership.

Startmate: Tell me why you’re so interested in entrepreneurship.

Alea: I come from Indonesia. In Indonesia, I have countless friends and family who run their own businesses and have pursued a non-traditional career path.

Exposure to other people pursuing entrepreneurship led me to consider the same. I’ve always thought about doing my own thing that’s one of the reasons I chose to study Commerce at university. 

And when I heard about Startmate and the startup community you are building, I thought it would be the perfect place for me to meet like-minded people and learn more about startups. 

Startmate: How did you hear about the Student Fellowship?

Alea: It was promoted to me through some student clubs at my university. It took me a few semesters to apply, but I am so glad I did. 

Startmate: What did you love about the Student Fellowship?

Alea: The community was great. Everyone I met was so friendly and they were so keen to have a chat and get to know you. It was a very different vibe from the commerce clubs I was in university which felt very exclusive. 

I also loved the speakers. Each of them had an inspiring story to share and they were very approachable. I was able to reach out after the sessions and ask for advice. One of my favourite sessions was with Christie Jenkins, Athletic Ventures Partner. Co-founder & CIO at FC32

I also really appreciated the mentorship opportunities. You can book appointments and meet up with people one-on-one. This was incredibly valuable in learning new things and building my network. 

Startmate: What did you pitch for the SF Founders Challenge?

Alea: We pitched a product called ElderBuddy, an elderly companionship AI.

One of my co-founders had grandparents who called her often because they were lonely. So we did a little bit more research and found that people above the age of 65 are highly prone to loneliness and this can lead to mental health issues and early-onset diseases. 

While companionship products exist in the market, they are all very techy and possibly intimidating to an elderly person. We wanted to build a more advanced product that would be highly engaging and approachable for anyone over 65.  

So we pitched ElderBuddy, a physical soft toy powered by AI that could engage in conversation,  share medication reminders and be a source of support in times of loneliness. 

Startmate: Anything else you’d like to share?

Alea: At the moment, I'm looking to upskill in a few different areas. I know if you're a founder, you have to wear many hats. One day I want to be a founder, so I am preparing for that right now.  

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