September 2023 Monthly Update

Phoebe Pincus
September 30, 2023
September 2023 GBU

Hey Startmate Family,

First off, I know what you’re thinking… why the heckkKKK is this GBU not coming from Batko?!


and here



Batko is offline, for a month, getting married, in Italy. We’re all bloody excited for him - I can’t think of many people who deserve some time off more than Batko does.

So I've been passed the metaphorical GBU baton in Batko’s absence and let me tell you, this responsibility does not sit lightly on my shoulders. And nor should it: I don’t think Batko’s missed a GBU in 5 years. The man is a MACHINE I tell you. If this doesn’t land neatly in all of your inboxes at exactly 8:00 AM Sunday morning I will resign maybe.

Before I get into things, I have a very small request (dare I say - opportunity?!) for those willing: 

Hit reply to this with a small congratulations/thank you message for Batko

I’m compiling a card of screenshots to send to him pre-wedding: it would be so nice if he could know how appreciated he is!! DW he will never read this, we’ve locked him out of his inbox, thanks for your help with that btw Ed.

Without further ado, and as they say in the business: LET’S GBU MY FRIENDS!

^^ What a PIC Brady am I right?! 

We’re enormously proud that our funds continue to outperform on a global stage - as many of you would have seen on the front page of the AFR last week 😎

If you invested $1M across our first 6 funds it is worth $10.29M (even after fees and carry). That’s 10x - and growing. And we’re not just talking paper returns: we’ve already distributed 2.69x cash on cash back to these investors.

This is not a once-off. We’re beating the top quartile of global VCs every year. We continue to deploy our investment strategy with great success a decade on. We back the most ambitious, and we back them early.

We were the first investors in Upguard in 2012. The second, I hear you ask? Peter Thiel (mic drop). At their latest round, our total investment of $45k is worth $9.4M. That’s a 209x return (!)

A decade on, Accelerators and VC Funds across ANZ have come and gone - and Startmate is still the most active investor in the country. Based on the data from Cut Through Ventures, 1 out of every 6 rounds raised were a Startmate company in Q1, 2023.

But we’ve expanded beyond accelerating dozens of founders every year. We also believe in the best investors and operators at their beginnings. Startmate launches over 1,000 Startmate Fellows every year. We’re bringing diverse talent in from every industry to flood the startup ecosystem with the people it needs to reach the next level.

As our community grows both in size, depth and connectivity, so does our ability to unearth more ambitious founders at the beginning. It’s a virtuous cycle, and one that will allow us to continue outperforming for the decade ahead.

PS. if you’re interested in investing in Startmate funds, send an email 💌 

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.


  • Deadlines are fast approaching for our Manager Fellowship. This might just be the best thing you ever do for your career. Make managing your superpower in this Startmate x The Mintable collab. 
  • 🚀Accelerator applications are open!! Building something cool? Maybe you know someone building something cool? Get in early.
  • 🧢 Help us out and win some SM Mystery Merch! We would love some feedback from our community (you!) to help us improve our programs, clean up our messaging and inform our ✨rebrand ✨. Fill it out here by Sunday 8 Oct. It’ll take 3 - 5 minutes! ❤️‍🔥We’ll pick 25 people who complete the form at random and send you the first drop of our new merch post rebrand ❤️‍🔥Note: please ignore this if you were part of the accelerator or first believers… Your time/survey will come.


  • 💗Welcome new startmates!!!! We have 3 x new friends. The warmest of welcomes to Emma Grife (Chief of Staff - Founders) (who is already a media star), Seb Camus (Marketing Intern) and Teala Stephens (Program and Community Manager). They are magic and we are so chuffed. We also continue to unapologetically hire from the SM fam: Teala is a Woman Fellow and Seb a Student Fellow.
  • ⚡Team is trés engaged: We’re proud to say our recent Culture Amp engagement score showed that our internal team engagement is at an all-time high. We haven’t always got this right at SM (see @ past GBUs) but we’ve worked hard to learn and take on feedback and it’s paying dividends. Lessssgo.
  • 🪩Demo Day: Our W23 accelerator cohort has been heads-down building for the past 10+ weeks, but will soon resurface for Startmate Demo Day in Sydney. This will be our biggest event yet with 1,000 seats in the ICC as part of SXSW. There will be 14 incredible pitches, networking, and an epic after party (free food and drinks!). We’re already 50% sold-out so grab your tickets here - don’t say we didn’t warn you.
  • 🧑‍🚀Launch Club: In the last few weeks our 80+ founders have learned from some top investors and founders, including Blackbird’s Silk Kadala and Tom Humphrey, Turo’s Anna Cheng and Upbound’s Nathan Merzvinskis to name a few. 
  • Women Fellowship: Fellows have heard from some awesome founders, operators, and coaches including May Samali, Jess Blomfield & Tash Jamieson.
  • ⚒️ No Code Fellowship: We wrapped up our inaugural cohort with the fabulous Connor Finalyson, with an immense rating of 9.3/10! If you’re keen to line up for the next one, let us know here
  • 🐝 First Believers:  Cohort 6 has officially kicked off with a ridiculously talented group of people. Check out who made it into the cohort here!
  • 💸 Finance & Fund Operations: Our finance + fund ops team has been busy the last few months implementing upgrades to the way we manage our investor reporting. To be modest and name just a few wins, we’ve imported 400+ investors into FundPanel (fund admin tool), deployed an Investor Portal for investors to access annual reporting and updates, and off the back of these, we shipped investment updates for each of our 22 funds to great feedback from investors :nails:


  • 🥵 We leaked our own news to the AFR lol. We did not realise it would be published in a matter of hours… cue a few verrrry frantic rush to get our final investor comms in order. Whoopsieees. 
  • 📈Area of improvement from engagement survey: our performance growth frameworks need some work. We’ve had them for nearly 2 years and they’ve been a huge level-up from what we had previously, but the time has come for an upgrade.


  • 🎾Some balls got dropped while people were on leave: contracts were not sent. Agreements could not be found. Apology emails were distributed and graciously accepted. We pick up. We go again. 

Hope you enjoyed the read fam!

🧡 Phoebe

Give the author some love!
Written by
Phoebe PincusPhoebe Pincus
Written by

More Articles