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How to be a Great Startmate Mentor

It’s been two years since our last post covering great mentorship — read here.

The fundamentals of great mentorship haven’t changed, but it’s always worth revisiting the basics and learning from recent examples.

Startmate mentors include Australia’s best founders, investors and operators, who invest their own time and money into each cohort.

SYD19 recently graduated and we asked our founders to provide feedback on each mentor.

Instead of us telling you what a great mentor looks like — hear it directly from the founders. All of the below are quotes from our alumni.

The best mentors…

…provide tough, candid feedback

Rachael Neumann (Head of Startups, AWS)

→ Re-defines what an “operator” is.

Rachael is all about tough love and straight-forwardness. We could always count on Rachael to be honest and give us her best advice on a multitude of topics. Be prepared for her to be blunt but all with good intentions.

…challenge you

Dean McEvoy (CEO, TechSydney)

→ Dean saves lives.

Definitely has a strong opinion but is always willing to hear the other side and debate it with you. Worth defending yourself and he will respect.

…push you to think bigger

Tip Piumsomboon (Analyst, Blackbird Ventures)

→ Big Ledge! +1 +1 +1

Tip is approachable and friendly as well as knowledgeable with what VCs look for in regards to revenue and data. Ask about big vision!

…push you to do more with less

Matt Allen (Angel Investor, AWS)

→ Matta is O to the G! I’m also guessing he has his phone strapped to his brain because he replies within 0.5 seconds (60% of the time, every time).

GR8 guy, helps you see the bigger picture and pushes you to #hustle. Matta was helpful from start to finish and always willing to listen and help the hustle.

…push you to focus

Michael Batko (Head of Operations, Startmate)

→ I hope my kids turn out half as organized as Batko.

“How many customers did you talk to this week?”

“What would you need to do to talk to 10x more customers than that?”

…keep you accountable

Alfred Lo (CIO, Cicada Innovations)

→ Absolute legend.

Awesome mentor. Holds you accountable each week +100

…don’t leave you hanging

Rayn Ong (Angel Investor)

→ When in doubt listen to Rayn Ong ❤

Rayn makes founders cry in Pitch Practice, but he’ll carry you out the other side, and with a better deck.

…have deep expertise

Hollie King (APJ COO, Qualtrics)

→ Incredible. Just get time with her.

Loved her experience. Huge wealth of knowledge in B2B sales.

…provide you with “ways of thinking” rather than solutions

Matt Ryall (Product Director, Atlassian)

→ Get in a room with this guy for as long as you can.

Great systematic advice on how to manage a growing engineer team, as well as how to best make informed decisions as a head of product.

…connect people

Kylie Frazer (Angel Investor)

→ Ninja in all senses of the word.

Excellent. Really helpful connector of people. Most practical advice and introductions. Got us first customer and maybe investor.

…connect beyond borders

Hannah Field (Investor, Tempus Partners)

→ Absolutely fabulous!

Really great perspective from a VC, also has operator experience so great for some tactical advice. Useful intros to operators in the USA.

…are 100% honest

Rory San Miguel (Founder, Propeller)


Offered up advice about how to raise but also what to do about it, real honest.

…you can trust with anything

Chris Quirk (CFO, HEO Robotics)

→ Intelligent, loving, felt like the father I never had… but a lot younger.

Chris was ever-present during the program and really formed a connection with the teams. I could trust him and be open to him more than anyone else in the program.

…are passionate about your industry and business

Joel Connolly (Head of Community, Blackbird Ventures)

→ Seriously a great dude.

Listens, gives solid advice and actually connects. Has a great lens on community building and gets passionate about things others are doing in spaces he loves.

For anyone who wants to be a mentor — this is your guide in 14 steps.

If you’re a founder who is thinking about applying — this is what you can expect from our mentor community.

Reminder: You can apply for Startmate Now!



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