October 2023 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
October 31, 2023
October 2023 GBU

Hey Startmate Family,

At the core of what we do at Startmate is support ambitious founders right from the beginning.

And when we say ‘right from the beginning’, we really mean it :)

Just Start, Mate!

So we’ve been experimenting with ways to unleash ambitious people on problems before they even consider themselves as founders.

We noticed that across all our programs, people are catching the founding bug: there is a fast-igniting hunger to solve a big problem and start something.

As the inimitable Cameron Ensor likes to say: ‘our fellows are like eggs and we don’t know what they’ll hatch into yet’.

Our challenge - how can we help people who are getting itchy in their shells to hatch?

🚀 That is why we quietly launched an MVP ‘Founders Challenge’, a one-month sprint for anyone in the Startmate community to test their burning startup idea while surrounded by a community of unhatched eggs on the same journey.

🤔 How does it help unlock aspiring founders?

  • Start - try out an idea in a low-stakes environment and see if founding is for you
  • Momentum - build momentum for your idea
  • Community - surround yourself with others interested in becoming a founder 
  • Magic - get to meet people from across Startmate’s different programs <3

🧰 How does it work?

  • 1 month sprint with accountability groups and clear goals - help identifying the most important thing and permission to run at it at full speed!
  • Core content sessions to get your startup off the ground
  • Access to check in sessions to unblock you
  • Concludes with submission of pitch, with highest ranked pitches getting access to Launch Club Pitch Showcase.

Incredibly, we had at least one participant from every single Startmate fellowship in our MVP experiment.

👉 You can check out some of the pitches here. In the words of one of our judges during the pitch finals last week: “I can’t believe you all started just under a month ago!”.

We want to be first believers on your founding journey to back you right at the beginning.

Strategy Step 1 - Talent Funnel ✅

Our Fellowships a funneling 1,000+ fellows to work at startups every year.

Strategy Step 2 - Founder Funnel 💫

As more Startmate Fellows work in startups, many realise that they want to solve a problem themselves. We’re building the pathways to setting out on your own journey.

Now, we’re helping you scratch that itch to break out of the shell as a founder.

The next Founders Challenge should see 100 aspiring founders from our entire community to take part

💗 We’d love to have you join us - you can express interest here!

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.


  • 🚀Accelerator applications close on Sunday! Building something cool? Maybe you know someone building something cool? Send them to our Accelerator. Apply here
  • 🧑‍🎓 Looking for more Student Coaches: Want to help build the next generation of startup talent and dip your toe into coaching (or know someone who would be good)? We’re looking for some more superstar Student Fellowship coaches. It will require a commitment of 4-5 hours over 3 weeks. Dates: 28 Nov-15 Dec. Keen?! Find out more & sign up HERE by 15 Nov.
  • 🍺 Join us for Startmate drinks in November! This is a great opportunity to meet and connect with other Fellows, Alums, Coaches, the Startmate Team, and other members of the community. The events are from 5:30 - 7:30pm across cities, but we'd love to see you there for as long / as little as you can attend. Register below 👇

😀 Good

  • 🕺 Demo day: On Oct 19th - Startmate had our largest Demo Day EVER! We filled every one of the 1k seats at the ICC in Sydney (with 200+ people on the waitlist). 14 startups took the stage and absolutely nailed their pitches. We also had a special guest appearance from The Hon. Ed Husic, Australia’s Minister for Science and Industry. See pictures here!
  • 🔈 Launch Club Pitch night: We had our Pitch Showcase this month to cap off what has been an epic 10 weeks for our early-stage founders in Launch Club. Founders pitched startups from across almost every industry imaginable to the top venture capital firms in ANZ. Congratulations to winners, Lachlan Ratjens and Dallas Hall (99 Bottles) from Launch Club, and Iva Charlopova (NannyShare Network) from the Founders Challenge. 
  • 🎁 Women Fellowship: We’ve just wrapped the latest cohort of the Women Fellowship: 8 weeks, 20+ sessions, 50+ coaches and contributors, loads of shiny, new features (including a Speed Interview Night with 70 interview opportunities, and a Choose Your Own Adventure Week) and a whole lot of love ft. some tears in our wrap party - congratulations Spring23 Fellows!! 
  • 🪴 Student Fellowship insanity: We’re a week out from applications closing and we’ve had 500+ students start… first review of early submissions indicates quality is 🔥. This cohort is going to be something special. Send your favourite students here.
  • 💟 Team offsite: We had a very special week together as a team around Demo Day. It featured a huge house in Bondi, an unbelievably competitive game of How Well Do You Know Your Colleagues, lots of team problem solving and strategising, some early morning swims, and some late night werewolves.
  • 🔥 First Believers midpoint: We are midway through the program and have already heard from the best in the business: Niki Scevak, Cheryl Mack, Christie Jenkins, Rachael Neumann, Alex & Chris Naoumidis, Nick Crocker + more. Now, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and put the theory to practice - interviewing founders and making investment decisions for the next 6 weeks!

🥴 Bad

  • 🤦 Technical difficulties at Demo Day: Cue music frozen, files too big, wrong videos being played… it’s all part of it. The founders and SM team rolled with the punches incredibly well and all we could do was thank our lucky prayers for Ryan who got hands-on in the tech box to make sure every glitch was sorted before it became a huge problem.

😵‍💫 Ugly

  • 🛶 Overbooked Demo Day: yeppp, our 1000 person theatre that we were so proud of was too small. We had a lot of people on the waitlist arrive to queue in person and we let them fill the empty seats ~20 mins in, only to have people with actual tickets show up and not have a seat… We ended up with an overflow room where people could watch a livestream. To cap it off we hugely underestimate the number of people who would walk 1km to an afterparty on a weeknight, and that hit capacity almost immediately, meaning we had 100+ people lining up for far too long (including most of the SM team!) Lots of lessons learnt 😅

Hope you enjoyed the read fam! Enjoy a few BTS pics from offsite:

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