Meet Climate Tech Fellow: Eddie Dostine

January 14, 2024
Stories from the Climate Tech Fellowship: Eddie Dostine Cohort 2

Hey there. My name is Eddie Dostine and I’m a recent graduate of the Startmate Climate Tech Fellowship Summer 2023.

I live in Clovelly, Sydney and have a deep love for anything ocean-related. I spend most of my free time either going as fast as I can on top of it (wingfoiling, surfing or sailing) or going as deep as I can under it (which isn’t very deep at 10m but we will get there - with my latest passion of learning to freedive).

A bit about my childhood first

I grew up in Kakadu National Park as the 2nd of three boys to my parents Robin & Peter who were working for the National Park* at the time. Mum was a ranger and Dad a scientist.

* Not to be confused with the Hemsworth family who also grew up in the Park at a similar time and had three similarly famous sons.

This Wild-thorn-berries-esq upbringing was simply magic and filled with adventure. The National Park was our playground. My childhood memories consist of strange animals  we would keep as pets including possums, crocs, joeys, pigs, snakes, native birds (mum was a member of the local Wildcare Group).

Although we owned clothes, they always seemed like an afterthought in my childhood. My brothers and I ran in a fearsome-nudie-BMX gang and we would have terrorised the local neighbourhood I’m sure.

This upbringing instilled a conservationist mindset which I still carry today.

Fast-track to an education at Darwin High and a year abroad in rural Brazil (story for another time) I chose to study Environmental Science at USYD, with the idea that I’d become an coastal geomorphologist (yes this is a word - Geomorphology is the study of land i.e “geos” over time) specialising in climate change and sea level rise.

I probably had too much fun at college because by the time I finished my degree the only jobs available were for those who went on to do Honours and that level of academia was not for me. From an outsider's perspective all the good jobs were taken by these ageing academics who, like a big-salty-in-a-billabong, weren’t going to budge from their prime spot anytime soon.

This led me to do a Masters in Management (I did the CEMs component which is like a pre-experience MBA) to “widen-my-horizons” with some business skills and this was probably one of the best decisions I ever made for two reasons…

  1. It meant I got to study at some of the top business schools in Europe and Latin America via Nova School of Business in Portugal and Fundacao Getulio Vargas in Sao Paulo, Brazil and…
  2. It landed me a serendipitous role interning at Uber when they first launched in Sydney and led me on an amazing pathway launching double-sided consumer marketplaces around the world.

Speeding up time again, I’ve spent the last 10 years in tech. Rather than recite my resume I’ll spin some whimsical anecdotes from my highlight reel which I enjoyed the most and am most proud of.

Launched Uber Boats in Sydney Harbour during my time with the ops team in Syd and DJ’d with Steve Aoki. Also launched Uber Ice Cream in my hometown of Darwin with some big old utes. Scaled Deliveroo from 0 to many thousand orders per day and met a lot of Sydney’s best couriers who are still my mates. Had a great time battling the entry of Uber Eats and launching Free Burger Friday on the same day as Uber Ice Cream day and got my old Uber pals in trouble for the cheeky corporate espionage at the time - sorry.

Launched Airtasker into London and regional UK. Launched AirCandy across London - delivering free Candy to customers as a launch tactic. Build the B2B Flywheel of Zip in the UK and was part of some very interesting M&A opportunities scaled Envato’s creative assets marketplace from 1M to 10M assets by leading the supply growth team co-founded a proptech startup Leesy with a college friend and got to launch a startup from 0-1 in an incredibly archaic industry.

Which takes us to the present day… and therefore what might be next?

I sat on this question for a while because, to be honest I became a bit burnt out running my own startup and thoughts around my purpose kept bubbling up in my brain-noise.

Throughout the 10 years of me having all this fun building companies, how much value had I really created that’s long-lasting and actually means anything? How much work was actually aligned with my own values vs some VC or public market share price?

Don’t get me wrong I get a kick when I tell an Uber partner that I was there at day 0 or being able to go around any city in the world and see delivery drivers being able to make a life for themselves in Sydney but I was craving for more.

I kinda became stuck. Not wanting to go back to some meaningless C-suite role but needing to figure my shit out soon (I wasn’t exactly coming off the biggest paying wicket and my mortgage wasn’t going to pay itself).

So I did what anyone in my position would do. Book an extended flight to remote Indonesia to do some deep thinking and a whole lot of surfing (like Eat Pray Love but swapping out the Praying and Loving for Surfing and Reading).

I read Jane Goodall’s “Hope” after picking it up at the airport (I rarely buy books as more of a Kindle or Audio book kinda guy) and also “How to do Nothing - Resisting the Attention Economy” by Jenny Odell; and let me tell you now I did a whole lot of nothing.

What did I learn from all the sitting, thinking, surfing, freediving and reading?

In summary

How to detach myself from the “need to be productive”. I’d conditioned my self-worth to be dependent on my career, the respect of my peers and the adoration of the “Linkedin gaze”. I came to realise that it’s OK to value connection and introspection above productivity.

I’m an artist, self defined or otherwise I don’t mind. Photography fills my cup and I missed taking photos (if you’re reading this now head to to check out my prints - FREE shipping globally just for you * wink * ). I’m also leaning into designing a shirt brand and with no fashion experience I know absolutely nothing and am making all sorts of mistakes, a process of learning which I’m thoroughly enjoying.

I’m a waterman, I have a passion for marine conservation and biodiversity. This lights my fire and fills my cup. I decided to turn my problem solving mind towards these real challenges facing the natural world.

Last but not least I learnt that I’m an expert barrel dodger on my backhand.

So I guess the above is a long winded way to explain WHY I chose to do the Climate Tech Fellowship on my return to Sydney.

Stay tuned for the next chapter for what else I discovered….

Psst. Apply for Cohort 3 of the Climate Tech Fellowship

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