November 2022 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
December 3, 2022

Hi SM Family,

We’re extremely excited to have recently launched our inaugural Athlete Fellowship. This is a world-first program bridging the gap between elite athletes and startups. I want to share some context on how we make decisions about launching new programs, and why this program specifically.

Our mission is to make Australia and New Zealand the best place in the world to build a startup, and the way we do that in a Startmate unique way is to grow the most ambitious startup community in ANZ. To do this effectively, we need to be able to identify pockets of ambition where there is not yet a clear pathway into tech, and create a community that gives them the confidence to make the leap into founding, investing or working in a startup. By doing this we can (a) raise the ambition of these communities, and (b) uplift all startups with constant injections of diverse and engaged founders, operators and investors.

Elite athletes have been on the cards for us for a while. To succeed in startups you generally need these key qualities:
- Thrive in fast-paced, competitive environments;
- Unusually self-motivated and disciplined;
- Feedback and learning/self-improvement expert;
- Excellent communicator & teammate; and
- Highly goal-oriented.

There is no career that matches this skillset more closely than that of an elite athlete. Without knowing it, athletes have been training for a career in startups their entire lives.

Athletes have:
1. The resilience, confidence and motivation to found world-changing companies;
2. The communication, teamwork and work ethic to make incredible operators; and
3. The connections, unique perspective and resources to be highly desirable angel investors.

Despite this incredible potential, athletes can get lost in the transition from elite-level sport to their next opportunity. Research shows that athletes find the departure from such a dynamic, high-performance environment to a slower-paced, static workplace highly demotivating. The Athlete Fellowship is an educational program and community for elite athletes who want to re-ignite (or keep firing 🔥) the sense of challenge and purpose felt in their athletic career.


We’re hiring an Accelerator Lead and Growth Marketing Associate.

  • These are two of the most important and impactful roles in the startup ecosystem across Australia and New Zealand.
  • It’s in all of our best interests to find someone incredible for these roles!! If you know anyone, please share and encourage them to apply.
  • Any questions about the Accelerator Lead role? Come along to our AMA, submit any questions beforehand here

Startmate goals

Reminder: our mission is to make Australia and New Zealand the best place in the world to build a company.

We have four key streams that we’re leaning into in order to move towards this goal. The second half of 2022 is all about building focus, momentum and integration in these streams.

- 🦄 Founders: find the best early-stage founders and help them grow into unicorns.
- 💸 Investments: surround these founders with the investors to back their wild ideas.
- 🚀 Careers: build the richest community of operators in ANZ and supercharge their careers.
- 🔈 Media: build Startmate into a beacon for ANZ’s most ambitious people.


  • S23 selection progress: We had 470 accelerator applications (just under our 500 stretch goal) and more importantly the quality was super high across the board: a great signal of the talent and ambition across the ecosystem. A quick insight into the process to get from 500 to the Top 12:
  • Every application was reviewed 3 + times by a combination of our mentors, first believers and the Startmate team, resulting in 2500+ votes, which unearthed the top 50
  • We then ran 10 x 10 minutes interviews with the top 50 to cut that group in half
  • Then, with the help of some exceptional mentors, investors and SMEs from our portfolio/community, we ran depth interviews with top 25
  • We’ll now surface those insights to our mentors and they will help us narrow down to the top 12
  • Supermentor: We’ve brought in extra help to make sure our Accelerator mentor experience is excellent. Kirstin Hunter, Startmate mentor and board member, ex-Head of People @ Brighte, is joining us for a couple of hours per week to upgrade the mentor experience.
  • The Women Fellowship wraps up this week. This looks to be one of our best programs yet, with mid program NPS at 74 (up from 69 last cohort). Big props to Kelly for the love, care and ingenuity you have put into this program.
  • Climate Fellowship was hard launched at Sunrise by Eytan Lanko from Boundless during his keynote. We smashed our target of 400 EOIs and are now well over 500, with offers to be involved streaming in from all angles
  • Product Management 101 applications are now open for our second cohort. Our inaugural cohort was a great success and we can’t wait to up-skill our next cohort of aspiring and early-stage product managers


  • Saying goodbye to Bronte. As you may have seen, our inimitable Bronte McHenry is hanging up her Startmate Bucket hat. We have loved every second of the last two years with you Bronte and you should be so proud of the impact you have made on this team + the startup ecosystem! To anyone looking for someone to fill a ‘remote, flexible, maybe part-time role in the storytelling/content/brand space’ - you could not go better than Bronte!!
  • While we’re here - we will be hiring a Growth Marketing Associate to replace part of Bronte’s role. If you know anyone with similar B energy, please send them through!
  • Spirits high but the team is tired. Startmate operates at breakneck speed without a lot of time to catch your breath. This can be energising and motivating but also catches up with you, and it’s absolutely that time of the year. We are looking forward to putting our feet up for a few days by the beach at offsite next week and then enjoying a few weeks of office closure over Christmas!


  • Legal documents. It does take longer than I anticipated to get a new fund up and running. We’ve got the verbal commitments for a first close on the Continuity Fund, but now I’m holding it up by getting all of our legal and tax ducks into a raw. It is underway, but the first close will now happen in February instead.

Thanks, team!

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