Startmate 2020 Wrap + 2021 Plan

Michael Batko
December 17, 2020
Startmate Team

Hi SM Family,

Today is the Startmate Team’s last business day and we’re at our quarterly offsite, so I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on what happened in 2020 and is happening in 2021!


2021 is all about Team and Product Expansion.

  1. Team - hire 7x FTE.
  2. Product - launch full-scale Student, Engineering Fellowship and First Believers.
  3. Back Founders before they are Founders - raise $1m small bets fund and launch Founders Fellowship.

2020 in Review

What did we say we were going to do?

Theme: Expansion and sustainability.

1. Sustainability - become profitable >> we are!

2. Expansion

  1. Fund - Increase the Startmate Fund to $1.5m per cohort >> $1.3m, $1.4m and latest cohort $2m.
  2. NZ - Expand Startmate geographically to NZ >> 5x NZ20 startups, $550k fund and 25x mentors.
  3. Fellowship - Expand the Fellowship >> from 10 to 24 to 100 Fellows / cohort.

What happened in 2020?

👩‍👩‍👦‍👦 Team

  • Hired Sophia, Lauren, 4x interns >> we went from 2 FTE to 4FTE in 2020 to 10FTE in April 2021
  • Remote move for the whole team

💫 Founders

  • First NZ cohort of 5x companies and 25x mentors
  • 27 new investments + 10 pro-rata’s
  • of which 8 raised already, 13 companies women-founded and 10 climate change-focused

🛠 Operators

  • 2x Women Fellowship of 124 Fellows, 74 Coaches and 10 Sponsors
  • Student Fellowship MVP launched

 💰 Investors

  • ContactOut returned 0.4x of 2016 fund
  • Propeller secondary sale of 22% returns 1.1x of the 2015 fund
  • First Believers MVP launch
  • $3.2m funds raised (vs $1.7m in 2019)
  • $2m raised for upcoming S21 cohort + full $75k from Startmate (without Blackbird co-invest)

In sum, it’s been a big year which worked out very differently than any of us imagined. For Startmate it presented opportunities to deliver our products (Accelerator, Fellowship, Fund) remotely with a wider reach.

2021 Plan

 What are we going to do next year?

Theme: Team and Product Expansion

  1. Product - launch full-scale Student, Engineering Fellowship and First Believers
  2. Team - hire 7x FTE
  3. Back Founders before they are Founders - raise $1m small bets fund and launch Founders Fellowship

1/ Product - launch full-scale Student, Engineering Fellowship and First Believers

Startmate is now truly expanding into a multi-product startup. We are always going to be a lean organisation with our community at its core who pay it forward and help each other.

Next years, we’ll be expanding our Product offerings into full-scale programs in this order:

  1. Accelerator - for founders (Cohort 15 kicking off in January)
  2. Women Fellowship - for Women operators (Cohort 5 kicking off in April)
  3. First Believers - for investors (MVP ongoing with 15 First Believers)
  4. Student Fellowship - for students (MVP ongoing with 20 students)
  5. Engineering Fellowship - for software and hardware engineers
  6. Founders Fellowship - for finding cofounders

This is the visual summary of what 2021 looks like for Startmate.

2/ Team - hire 7x FTE - 🙏 help us hire in Victoria and NZ - pls share this

Of course, we can’t manage that with the 4 FTE we have at Startmate.

So, we’re hiring 6 FTE by March/April and most likely a couple more later that year.

You can think of most of us as Product Managers or Product CEOs who will be owning the programs holistically, with the Outreach roles sitting across all products.

This is what the Team will look like in 3 months.

3/ Back Founders before they are Founders - raise $1m small bets fund and launch Founders Fellowship

 Startmate already backs founders right from the beginning. But we want to go even earlier. 

 We want to be the First Believers (1) helping you find cofounders and (2) the ability to invest $25k all year around.

 So we’ll be raising a $1m fund to back ambitious people who want to start a company and kick off a Founders Fellowship to surround them with the right people to start companies with.

Why are we doing all of this?

Startmate is the epicentre of startup ambition in Australia and New Zealand.

Everything we’re doing at Startmate is to increase startups’ chances of success.

And we tell all of you to be ambitious.
We would be hypocrites if we weren’t ourselves.

In the next 10 years, we are building a million people city.

How do we get there?

  1. Founders — Back the most ambitious people who want to start companies
  2. Operators — Surround them with the right team
  3. Cities — Build a space that helps everyone rise together

The 2021 plan creates more depth in Step 1 and 2 of the masterplan, whilst we’re building the foundation for Step 3.

Startups are building the future and our mission is to accelerate that future.

I hope you get a great holiday break!

Michael Batko
Startmate, CEO

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