Join the world of startups with the Startmate Fellowship

James Tynan
Aug 1 · 6 min read

The Startmate Fellowship is opening applications for our second cohort so start your application now. The deadline is Monday, August 26th.

Apply now!

“Without a doubt, the Startmate Fellowship has been the most valuable and enjoyable thing that I have done in my professional career.”

For the first time, late last year, we opened up the Startmate community to the brightest minds outside the world of tech. It was an experiment to see if we could bring talented people from the corporate world into growth roles at the best startups.

We called it the Startmate Fellowship.

Here’s what happened.

The Fellows

We put out a call for talented people and the response was amazing. The AFR picked up the story and 600 people started the application process.

We narrowed down to six exceptional Fellows:

The Fellows (from left to right) — Zac Thorneycroft, Nicole Liu, Damian Png
The Fellows (from left to right) — Jeremy Grunfeld, Jess Liu, Vamsee Thalluri

Zac has a background in corporate law. At the Office of Sport he developed policy for NSW and delivered events like the BigBash League, NRL, and Bathurst 1000.

Nicole worked at McKinsey where she launched new products for a childcare organisation and redesigned sales pipelines for hundreds of stores across Australia. Previously, she was an Analyst at Reinventure Venture Capital.

Damian was a consultant at BCG where he designed a large telco’s B2B product roadmap, simplifying a portfolio of ~600 products and saved $100m+ p.a. Damian also co-founded the Monash Boardrider Club.

Jeremy worked as an innovation consultant at MinterEllison, Australia’s largest law firm. Previously Jeremy led product at InsideSherpa, an ed-tech platform.

Jess worked on some of the largest M&A transactions in corporate Australia, and sits on the investment committee for the Foundation for Young Australians. She is also the co-creator of the Leading Women video series.

Vamsee is a Medical Doctor with specialist training in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. His practice focused on Infertility/IVF and he has developed an interest in health-tech.

The SF Trip

We wanted to give the Fellows a life-changing experience.

I’d give the program a rating of 100/10 if it allowed me! It’s been an incredible experience right from the SF trip and the calibre of the founders, operators and VCs we met to the network Startmate has in Australia.”

The first stop was San Francisco. The Fellows sat down with some of the best startup operators, founders and investors in the world. Here’s a text Vamsee sent after he interviewed Andrew Chen, General Partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and former Head of Growth at Uber.

Some of the other SF stops included:

As well as the Golden Gate Bridge!

The mentoring

When the Fellows returned we kicked off the mentoring process. Each week the Fellows would have to present a project to a panel of startup execs. Throughout the week they’d have an Ask Me Anything session with one of the best operators in Australia on the topic, and Office Hours with a rotating group of mentors to help them dial in on an answer.

Here are the companies who supplied time for mentorship, selection, and social events with the Fellows.

The results

So what happened? Five of the six Fellows are now working in a startup and one is assessing multiple opportunities.

  • Nicole is the founding GM of a new business for Eucalyptus, a Blackbird-funded startup that is building new frictionless e-commerce brands
  • Vamsee is also working with Eucalyptus on their health-related businesses
  • Damian is the COO at Hearables3D an early-stage startup that builds personalised headphones
  • Jess is working with Ignition Lane an organisation that helps startups scale
  • Jeremy is leading product development at InsideSherpa
  • Zac is assessing opportunities across VC, incubators and accelerators

Here’s what they had to say:

“The network + the pure willingness for everyone to help everyone out = Amazing! I think the program was great in connecting up amazing mentors from all different companies and different roles.”

“Through the bootcamp I developed brand new skills and it helped me to identify blind spots so that I know where to focus attention next and why.”

“I come out of this with a lot more certainty, a better understanding of different types of roles, and an understanding of where I’d fit. Meeting so many people from startups gave me super high conviction that it’s what I want to do next!”

Apply the magic of the Startmate community to your career

Today we’re launching a new and improved version of the Fellowship.

It’s a free, two-month program for highly-talented professionals that includes ongoing career placements and support and access to the Startmate community for life.

It includes:

  • A trip to SF, mentoring opportunities, and networking events
  • Career guidance sessions, introductions and personal recommendations
  • Options to work on projects, secondments or join full-time roles across the spectrum of software development, marketing, product management, operations, finance and strategy

You don’t need to quit your current job. And it’s free.

You’ll come away with job opportunities at the best startups in Australia, knowledge of where you can best put your talents to work, and a powerful and supportive community for life.

Applications close August 26th.

Key dates

  • 26th August — Applications close
  • 3rd September — Selection Night in Sydney
  • 1st October — Program Kickoff event in Sydney
  • 6–13th October — Trip to SF

Any questions please don’t hesitate to email us at Or come visit us at We can’t wait to meet you!


Startmate is Australia's most ambitious accelerator.

Thanks to Michael Batko

James Tynan

Written by



Startmate is Australia's most ambitious accelerator.

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