We are updating the Startmate standard terms to $120k investment at a $1.5m post-money valuation, for founders that have not raised a prior round and match the latest valuation of founders who have raised. This will come into effect from the Summer22 cohort onward, and applications are open now.
Over the last five years, the startup ecosystem across Australia has grown in leaps and bounds. From the exponential growth of new startups, to the incredible scale of some of our most significant technology businesses, to the explosion of talent looking for roles in the sector to the emergence of new funds, backed up by the deepening pockets of the original guard - so much has changed to make this one of the strongest ecosystems globally. But one thing hasn’t changed, and that’s Startmate’s standard investment terms for companies accepted into our Accelerator.
Since 2017, we have offered a $75k cash investment at a $1m post-money valuation, meaning Startmate becomes a co-owner with 7.5% equity. The intention of this investment is two-fold:
While any Startmate alumni company will attest that the value of Startmate lies in the incredible mentor and peer support community more so than the cash investment, there is still a financial reality to growing a business. In 2021, the world is generally more expensive and $75k is no longer enough to provide a six-month baseline for founders at this critical point in their company’s development, meaning companies are making choices to raise earlier than they might like.
Based on conversations with Startmate founders, average burn through the program for a company with no employees is around $25k per month. Ultimately, we believe our investment should equip founders with enough runway to both get through the program and comfortably reach their next meaningful milestone (revenue, fundraising or otherwise) roughly two to three months post-program.
The investment amount and valuation are of course inextricably linked in that they equate to the percentage of ownership Startmate holds for its investing mentors. To raise the investment amount without adjusting the valuation would of course result in more aggressive dilution of early stage founders, which we fundamentally don’t think is the right thing to do. At the same time, the bar of what an ‘early-stage startup’ looks like has been well and truly raised over the last few years, as we see deep domain networks and expertise, experienced operators and repeat founders coming back to start something new. In short, Startmate’s existing base valuation of $1m had begun to feel less competitive in our efforts to attract the region’s best new startups had begun to feel uncompetitive. We ultimately think that holding an ~8% stake in each of our portfolio companies gives our mentors meaningful ‘skin in the game’, while ensuring the founders have enough control of their cap table at such an early stage.
From Summer22 onward, Startmate will invest:
Every now and then, a company’s circumstances don’t fit neatly into the above two scenarios. We wanted to create a clearer framework for how to approach these cases to further streamline and remove any ambiguity from the selection process.
For cases where the valuation is over six months old, or there has been significant revenue traction up to the time of application, Startmate will invest:
Through this third option, we think we can best align incentives between founders, our mentors and investors and Startmate to offer fair valuations at any point in a startup’s journey, reinforcing that you are never too early or too late to apply to be a part of the Accelerator.
As always, our primary goal at Startmate is to attract the most ambitious founders across Australia and New Zealand, and changing our investment terms is all a part of fulfilling that mission.
We are excited to be able to support our cohort founders with additional funding and more competitive valuation terms from the Summer22 intake, while ensuring our incredible mentor community is as engaged as ever to help unleash that ambition on the world.
*To understand the importance of the ‘post-money’ valuation, check out YC’s article from when they adjusted their own terms a few years ago.
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