October 2022 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
November 3, 2022

Hi SM Family,

The role of a Startmate Mentor is to guide our Founders through their challenges during the Accelerator (and beyond). Mentors are not there to provide all the answers, but to ask the right questions, so Founders can discover their own path.

From the beginning of the Startmate Accelerator back in 2012, we’ve celebrated and rewarded the Mentors who’ve gone above and beyond for each cohort of Founders. This is a ‘Founders’ choice’ award, with each startup nominating 10 Mentors when a cohort comes to a close, and five Mentors being awarded the Top Mentor title. These five Top Mentors are then awarded 10% of the carry in the cohort’s fund.

With the scene set, I’m proud to announce Megan Woff and Bronte McHenry in the Top 5 (who get carry through the Startmate employee pool) and the Top Mentors for the W22 cohort excluding the Startmate team (in this order) are Felix Wong, Michael Stocks, Luke Howes, Hamid Nazari and Dean McEvoy.

Congratulations to all of you.

I speak on behalf of the Startmate team and our W22 Founders when I say we appreciate your time, expertise and guidance.

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.


  • Pounding the pavement. Our Continuity Fund fundraising is tracking really well. We’ve smashed our minimum verbal agreement threshold and we’re continuing investor talks while we get the legal docs ready in the background. I can’t express how exciting it is that we will soon be able to continue to back our founders beyond the Accelerator, enabling them to enter into funding rounds knowing they have our backing, and giving them the best chance of building a unicorn company.
  • A 10/10 Demo Day. Demo Day was a massive success, with a number of people saying it was the best Demo Day they’ve been to. It was incredible to learn about the massive progress each startup made in the 12-week Accelerator program, and their massive global ambitions, reinforcing our mission to find the best early-stage founders and help them grow into unicorns.
  • Our Customer Success experiment. Our Customer Success Fellowship has launched, in partnership with Kirsty Traill. This is our second Fellowship partnership experiment (the first was Product Management 101 with Harry Hamilton). As you know, our goal is to build the richest community of operators in Australia and New Zealand, and this Fellowship is testing a series of hypotheses about magical community-run Startmate programs, while also upskilling a bunch of talented operators in the process. Win-win.


  • Intros.ai struggles. Startmate’s magic is its community, and our Fellow-Coach initiatives are a way we fuel this magic, connecting young professionals with operators who are a few steps ahead of them. However, to date the matching process has been highly manual and prone to glitches. We’ve been experimenting with Intros.ai to make the process more efficient, which sadly hasn’t been glitch-free either. We will keep experimenting with different systems until we get this one right.


  • Fund operation woes. In the past 18 months, Startmate has introduced two new investment vehicles. We have our Small Bets Fund, which is deployed by our growing community of First Believers. These ‘Bets’ are most often $25k checks into pre-idea and pre-MVP startups, enabling us to walk the walk when it comes to backing founders at the very beginning. Our other vehicle is our soon-to-close Continuity Fund, which will enable us to invest in our Accelerator alumni companies in future funding rounds. Why is this an ugly, you ask? There’s been a lot of heavy-lifting and learning on the job involved in getting Startmate ready to launch yet another fund, and our finance team has been working tirelessly to pull this off. We’ve realised we need a fund operations expert to take point on these projects in the future, and so we are hiring a Head of Finance and Fund Operations to set us up for future success.

In the news

  • Psylo (W21) founders Josh Ismin and Sam Banister have closed a $5M seed round to fuel their mission to treat mental illness with naturally occurring psychedelic drugs.
  • Steppen (S22) has raised $1.65M from Anthony Eisen, Galileo Ventures, Flying Fox Ventures, LaunchVic, Startmate and Jagen.
  • Critical. (S22) has been dubbed a ‘change maker’ by The Project NZ for turning rubbish into building materials.
  • Great Wrap (S21) founders Julia and Jordy Kay spoke to T Magazine about disrupting an unfamiliar space and using inexperience as a wildcard.
  • Amber (MEL18) has raised $13.4M from NRMA, Commonwealth Bank and Square Peg to give customers access to real-time wholesale electricity prices.
  • Clipboard (SYD20) has raised $3.1M to continue to help schools effectively manage extracurricular activities.
  • Xylo Systems (W22) working on threatened species is one of 8 ventures backed by Investible’s new Climate Tech fund.
  • Startmate First Believer and Bondi GP Dr Amandeep Hansra has joined Main Sequence as Principal.
  • Startmate Accelerator Mentor Mads Grummet’s professional journey has by no means been a straight line.

If we’ve missed your news, hit reply with the link and we’ll share it far and wide.

Thanks, team!

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