September 2021 Monthly Update

Michael Batko
October 1, 2021
September 2021

Hi SM Family,

It is the end of Q3, which means 12 weeks until Xmas!

It is also a good time to reflect on where we’ve come from and where we’re going.

Theoretically, everything you’ve seen Startmate accomplish this year shouldn’t have been surprising. I outlined our plan in Dec last year and we’re now in the final stages of achieving our goals, and more.


  1. We hired 8x FTE.
  2. The Student Fellowship and First Believers launched, and the Engineering Fellowship is going live next month.
  3. The Founders Fellowship launched and we have $1m+ committed to the Small Bets Fund.

Yet, in reality, reaching our goals came with a lot of surprises and learnings.

I’ve underestimated many things — the time required to set up fund legal docs, the difficulty of hiring technical talent, the length of lockdowns, the complexity of managing a team of 15, and much, much more.

Yet, we got there.

And that is a testament to the extraordinary community and team we’ve built.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller (YouTube clip)


  • The Engineering Fellowship has been re-launched. Retweet and share on LinkedIn!
  • Join us for Demo Day next Thursday, October 7th at 5pm AEST. Register here!
  • Know a talented university student wanting to crack into the startup space? Share this link with them! Applications for the Student Fellowship close this Sunday! 

Startmate Goals


1. Lay the Foundations: Set up Startmate for long-term success

  • The Small Bets Fund has $930k in signed subscriptions and a further $185k in verbal commitments. This will allow us to invest $25k checks in diverse founders all year round.
  • We’ve got 19 Fellowship sponsors, highlighting the need for talent with startups in Australia and New Zealand and the resonance of our mission.

2. Ambition Magnet: Attract the most ambitious founders, operators and investors

  • Demo Day has 1,172 people registered with one more week to go.
  • The Women Fellowship had 386 applications, and cohort 5 kicked off on Monday.
  • The Student Fellowship has 241 applications so far for our November cohort.

3. Smooth Operator: set us up as the smoothest plug-and-play system to serve the team

  • We’re behind on the goal to fully set up our programs to have a plug-and-play interface.
  • Financial Operations has received a massive uplift since our Head of Financial Operations Ben joined the team, with more streamlining and process improvement to come.
  • Internally, we’ve upgraded too, with our Chief of Staff Phoebe leading offsites, wellbeing, workflow management and development across the team.


  • The last Startmate offsite was a celebration of our community and gratitude for each other. It was truly heart-warming!
  • The W21 Accelerator cohort received a mid-program NPS of 74 and 71 from founders and mentors respectively.
  • Our Founders Fellowship MVP program is halfway, with an NPS of 49. We’re learning plenty through our first experiment of helping founders start companies, but excitingly we’re starting to see early signs of co-founder relationships being formed that are starting to solve problems.


  • We’re going through the classic startup growing pains which come with going from 4 to 15 FTE in 9 months. How should the org be structured to serve our customers best and scale beyond here? What is our strategy beyond this point? We have our strategy hats on and we’ll have a plan ready to share by the end of the quarter.


  • Fundraising and investing has put a strain on the team, as we’ve now got 130+ LPs every 6 months, invest in 40x companies, do ~20 follow-ons and sign dozens of changing SHAs a year.

Startmate in the News



First Believers


Thanks Team!

Michael Batko

CEO, Startmate

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