November 2023 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
November 30, 2023
November 2023 GBU

Hey Startmate Family,

We keep hearing the same questions over and over again.

So rather than yet another blog post.

We tried something new.

Say Hi, to Startmate’s Myth Busting 💥 

Watch all 60 second short-videos here.


Enjoy this mini-snippet write-up 👇

🚀 Myth 1 “Startmate doesn’t invest in winners.”

230 companies worth $2.5b. 10-15 companies with hundreds of employees each worth $100m-$300m incl Propeller, HappyCo, Upguard, Bugcrowd, 5B, Morse Micro, etc. Another great example is Sicona Batteries which raised $22m straight post-Accelerator.

🤝 Myth 2 “Startmate and Blackbird are the same.”

Startmate and Blackbird were both founded by Niki with SM becoming a subsidiary of BB. SM is financially independent, profitable, raising our own funds every 6 months, making our own decisions with Batko as CEO and Niki as chairman of the board.

🛰️ Myth 3 “Startmate doesn’t invest in deeptech”

40%+ of our companies since 2018 are hardware deeptech companies. Examples from Morse Micro (wifi chips), Great Wrap (compostible cling wrap), Hullbot (ship hull cleaning robot), Uluu (renewable seaweed material), Astrix Astronautics (inflatable solar panel on satellites).

🍒 Myth 4 “Blackbird cherrypicks the best Startmate companies.”

Whilst Blackbird has consistently invested in 1-2 Startmate companies a year, we work with all funds. As Switzerland of the VC industry, we help founders find the right capital partner for them as each fund has its own mandate and you need to find the right fit for a long-term partnership.

If you watched the Myth Busting series - give me feedback and tell me what other questions I should address!

What’s on?


What’s happening in your world? 

It’s easy to miss all the epic news happening in our community because honestly there is SO much happening and it is all so exciting. We would love to help amplify your voice. 

If you have any news you’d like shared on our Insta, LinkedIn, Twitter, Newsletter etc. 


We have 20k+ Newsletter subscribers and 30k + LinkedIn followers.


  • End of Year Xmas Drinks in Melbourne 🎄15 December
  • Join us at the Startmate office for our last event of 2023. Register here. Pssst. The ENTIRE Startmate team will be there. 
  • Startmate x International Women’s Day ❤️‍🔥8 March 2024
  • Workshops, panel discussions, drinks, and LADY MATES coming together in one place to build each other up, facilitate connections and VIBE. Register interest here

😀 Good

  • Women in startups: It’s official. 2024 is the year of the Woman. We have set some lofty goals that will shake up gender diversity in startups for the better and for good. We are going to build ANZ’s largest community of powerful women. Think of our International Women’s Day event as the opening ceremony. Stay tuned for more!
  • Manager Fellowship: Manager Fcuk up night happened and the stories were wild - Chatham House rules applied so we can’t share many details but were stoked to hear how valued the session was for both the guests sharing and the fellows.  
  • Climate Fellowship: We've run two virtual Industry Nights for our Fellows and Alumni - putting them right in front of companies that are hiring. Across the two evenings, we've held a total of >19 hours of Q&A, with 15 hosts and ~40 open roles represented.
  • PM101: Cohort 3 Hackathon has again been an absolute program highlight. Teams hacked on solutions for Accelerator alumni - DDLoop, Leesy & Nomad Fleet. Fellows showcased learnings from the first half of the program, founders were impressed with solutions pitched. Congratulations to Team Nomad 1 - People’s Choice (Aimee Gordon, Faisal Dewan, Anas Farooqui) and Team Leesy 1 - Judge’s Award (Mitch Cornish, Jonathan Limpah, Salma Sadek)
  • First Believers: Cohort 6 have had a MASSIVE few weeks putting their newfound angel investing knowledge to work - reviewing, debating, interviewing, and ultimately voting on which of the 552 accelerator applicants should make it all the way to the final cohort!
  • Accelerator # applications: We had 522 applications. 
  • Stage 1 saw 3715 investment decisions logged from 133 Selectors. 10% of these were a Hell Yes.
  • Stage 2 saw 600 votes across 60 companies, with 20% being Hell Yes Votes.
  • So we’ve taken 32 companies through to the final round - which is a first (last cohort was 22)! ~80% of the companies have never raised capital before, and 50% are women co-founded. Epic.
  • Finance update: We’ve kicked off the process of formalising all the carry from our funds over the years. The teams currently working through a backlog of carry letters to ensure all our deserving mentors & employees over the years receive their share of Startmate’s success!
  • Student Fellowship: We have just kicked off the Student Fellowship with over 200 Fellows!! Unprecedented numbers of founders and founders-to-be and SO much enthusiasm. We love to see it. Loads of exciting speakers this week including Alex Naoumidis & Christie Jenkins, & an event with Culture Amp! 

🥴 Bad

  • Stretched: Team is a bit overloaded in the sprint to the end of the year: we overcooked ourselves trying to do 5 year strategy, 12 month goals, week long offsite, selection, growth frameworks and salary reviews in the last 2 months of the year. Bit of headless chook energy but we wear it well.

😵‍💫 Ugly

  • Walking the Walk: We talk a lot about championing women in startups, and we do that across all our programs and cohorts. But we’ve fallen short in our latest Student Fellowship cohort with only 33% women. Whilst better than many stats out there, not where we want to be and we’re already taking action for the next cohort.

Hope you enjoyed the read fam!

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