Our Fellowship Vision: The startup ecosystem’s magnet for ambitious talent

Sophia Witherington
April 9, 2021
Boom boom boom

The Startmate Fellowship exists to tangibly increase the economic growth generated by startups by systematically removing the bottlenecks to finding exceptional talent and upskilling the leaders of tomorrow.

Our programs help talented, ambitious people to gain the insights, network and skills needed to build the next generation of great technology companies.

Our Fellowship community is a melting pot, bringing together startups and ambitious people of all identities who want to change the world, and facilitating life-changing connections.

Our goal? That over the next 10 years, 20% of startup employees, investors and founders across the Australia and New Zealand ecosystem have gone through a Startmate Fellowship.

We want to be the first port of call for anyone to find their sweet spot in a startup.

Whether it be:

  • Getting your career started;
  • Switching careers;
  • Developing as a leader;
  • Or actually starting a company…

We got you.

To date, we have taken 141 women through our programs, with 67% of them now in their dream startup job or having launched their own company.

We want to 10x the number of founders, operators and investors building world- changing companies that are coming out of Australia & New Zealand.

And here’s how we plan to do it…

Creating our Playbook ⭐️

We started with the Women Fellowship, have run an MVP of the Student Fellowship (and are now set to scale it), and are primed to launch two new programs this year for engineers and early-stage founders.

We are taking the ingredients of program infrastructure, community and magic, and creating a “Launch Playbook” to add new programs under the Fellowship umbrella.

Each program serves a different identity of talent, which, in turn, supports the startup community in a different way. A double-sided marketplace, if you will.

So far, here are our programs and the corresponding problems they aim to solve:

Our 2021 programs — and we are just getting started! 😉

The goals that drive us…

  • Can we help funnel 1,500 Fellows through all of our programs by the end of 2022?
  • Can we ensure a minimum 65% of them to land a job in a startup or become a Founder?
  • Can we build the infrastructure to “plug & play” 10+ programs a year into The Fellowship?
  • And can we do this whilst retaining the essence of what it means to be part of our vibrant community?

What’s in the pipeline for the rest of 2021? 🤟

Student Fellowship 👩‍🎓👨‍🎓

Led by Cameron Ensor, this year 300 students will survive a baptism-by-fire startup bootcamp, propelling their curiosities of a career outside the traditional graduate schemes into an impactful, meaningful startup career. Our goal is to place 150 students in internships in 2021.

Women Fellowship 💃🏼

Led by Cristabel Gekas, 2021 will see 200 women go through this program. We have just kicked off our Autumn21 cohort, which is supported by LaunchVic, 11 incredible sponsor companies and 100 “Coaches” (senior leaders in startups).

Founder Fellowship 💡

Led by Sascha Kerbert, this program is aimed at fledgeling Founders — all with the right raw ingredients — priming them to find co-founders, test ideas and get early traction. We are raising a Small Bets Fund to help them to do so too.

Engineering Fellowship 🛠

Startups are hungry for engineers, and their appetite is insatiable. How can we find and nurture engineering talent that hasn’t already been across your radar, and support them to do the best work of their lives in your company? Stay tuned.

Startmate Labs 🚀

Led by Mr Ghosh, we will be taking things from 0 to 1. Building out a process for testing all new programs, taking them from idea to launch. In turn, we create a consistent framework and platform in which we can “plug and play” new programs over the top.

Each program will tap into a different ‘identity’ of talent — be it product, hardware, chief of staff, leadership development — we are here to serve you.

Why are we doing this? 🧐

In short, more ambitious people = more opportunity for serendipity.

The Fellowship’s value compounds exponentially with every program and cohort we launch.

The result of more programs and more Fellows are very real network effects. As engagement grows, the community gets smarter, faster to respond, and generates more value.

Imagine a world where 1,000+ Fellows come through Startmate every year.

Our existence is predicated on the soul and fire from our community. There is something magical about a small, intimate community. Where one can truly belong.

But the true magic and impact comes with the cross-pollination of adjacent programs and operating at scale.

Examples of flywheels to date

  • GridCognition (MEL20 Accelerator Alumni) hired Hannah Johnson (Spring20 Women Fellow) and Eddie Atkinson (Student Fellow 2020) as interns, and later took them both on full time.
  • Three leaders from Brighte supported the Spring20 Women Fellowship as Coaches, and through this met Iva Charlopova, who they hired. Brighte has now returned to sponsor the Autumn21 Fellowship.
  • Paloma Newton (Winter20) joined Baraja as Marketing Manager and 12 months later hired Apoorva Ramesh (also Winter20) as a Production Engineer.
  • Christie Jenkins took part in Spring20 Women’s Fellowship and later joined the MVP First Believer program (for aspiring investors).
  • Kylene Jones (Spring20) joined Auror (Folklore portfolio company) through an intro from Hannah Field (Partner at Folklore). Folklore has returned to sponsor the Fellowship for the third time and Auror’s Head of People Kirsti Grant (also a Startmate Accelerator Mentor) has joined as a Coach. Kylene went on to be a Mentor for the student program too.
“Our networks can powerfully shape our thoughts, beliefs, and actions, so the best way to change our path is to change our networks. The Fellowship accelerated this process for me 10x. Looking back, it’s hard to believe how much has changed in 8 weeks. I now see opportunities instead of obstacles, and have made connections for life.” — Iva Charlopova, Spring20 Alumni

If you want to join us — as a Fellow, Coach, Supporter — fill in this EOI form.

If you are a company looking to hire or wanting to sponsor our programs (read: free access to talent), email me!

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Like this article? You’ll like our Women Fellowship too!

The Startmate Women Fellowship is a program and community for ambitious women looking to supercharge their career in startups.

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