Looking to join a high-growth startup?

Don’t do an MBA, join the Startmate Fellowship

James Tynan
Dec 2, 2018 · 5 min read

Our next cohort of Startmate Fellows will kick off in March 2020 — applications are closed for now but you can register your interest.

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The Startmate Fellowship is a new program to bring talented people from the corporate world into growth roles at rocketship startups. This post will tell you why we’re launching it and how it works.

Startmate is a community of the best technology founders, operators and investors in Australia that offers perpetual access to incredible career and business opportunities. Our mentors include the founders of startups like Atlassian and SafetyCulture and the largest venture capital firms in the country. We’re a part of Blackbird, the investor behind companies like Canva, Fleet and Culture Amp to name just a few.

With the Startmate Fellowship, we’re opening this community to the brightest minds outside the world of tech who want to build a career in startups. In short, it’s an intensive, mentor-driven, program in which successful candidates get paid while they learn from the best inside a world-class startup. You’ll also end up with a network of mentors and a cohort of peers you’ll know for life.

So who are you?

The people we are looking for dream of transforming industries and succeeding on a grand scale. You may have finished uni and spent a few years at large law firm, investment bank or consulting firm. Or maybe you didn’t finish uni and have been excelling on the front lines of business.

The important thing is you crave ridiculous levels of autonomy and live for opportunities to run fast alongside creative colleagues. You have a strong growth mindset, are eager for feedback and love to learn by doing. And you’re ready to dedicate your time to a learning rollercoaster that will set you up for a life in startups.

Why offer a Fellowship?

It used to be that you had to go to Silicon Valley to build a career in startups. For me, the six years I spent working in the US were amazing: I helped scale and lead the biggest ed-tech organisation in the world (Khan Academy), created content with Pixar, and ran meetings with Bill Gates. All this happened because I made a jump out of a well-respected corporate trajectory.

I came back to Australia because some of the best opportunities are emerging here now. Companies like Canva, SafetyCulture, Propeller and Koala are taking over the world stage, and they’re opening up a new world for Aussie talent.

Take Zach Kitschke, who at 27 is running Canva’s entire people operation. Or Sophie Taylor who left her law firm to help Koala become Australia’s fastest growing retailer of all time. Next year she’s opening Koala’s US office. Jumping on board the right startup can also be incredibly lucrative. Matt Ryall, an early employee at Atlassian told me recently “I never focused on the equity, but getting a small piece of the company in the early days means I now don’t worry about my paycheck — I just love what I do.” Matt’s 36.

These types of career trajectories only occur when two conditions are met: First you have to pick the right startup in a world where many don’t make it. Second you have to find a role that leverages your skills and fits the idiosyncratic needs of the founders and the business.

So how do you transition to startups?

Traditionally, the best way to de-risk a transition between industries was to do an MBA or leverage personal networks. But here’s the problem: few personal networks have good visibility into startup opportunities. And even if you’re well-connected, those intros won’t give you the skills to thrive in such a different working environment.

Sadly, neither will an MBA. Many candidates will spend $50k in Australia or up to $200k in the US on a credential that is just not highly-valued within fast-growing startups. Luke Anear, the founder of SafetyCulture will tell you that kind of classroom learning “is like training in a swimming pool for a running race.” Dany Milham, cofounder of Koala says “by the time many skills find their way into a classroom they’re out of date. The only way to truly 10x your abilities is to learn by doing in companies where new skills are being invented.”

So if you want to learn from the best and find the sweet spot that can catapult your career, here’s your shopping list. You need:

  • A network that gives you visibility into all fast-growing startups in Australia and extends across Silicon Valley
  • Some of the most successful founders and operators in Australia as mentors to help you translate your talents and find your fit
  • In-depth experience within the best startups to build skills on the cutting edge

Enter the Startmate Fellowship

The Startmate Fellowship is a pathway for talented people in the corporate world to find their sweet spot in a rocketship startup. It’s an intensive, mentor-driven, program in which successful candidates get paid while they learn from the best inside a world-class startup. You’ll connect with the best practitioners both here and in Silicon Valley and get real feedback on how your ideas and talents fit within the best startups in Australia. You’ll also have a network of mentors and a cohort of peers you’ll know for life.

Here’s how it works:

  • Candidates apply via our resume-blind process. Applications are rated by Startmate mentors.
  • Successful applicants are invited to join the Startmate Fellowship Bootcamp — a 1-month, part-time, program designed to build your skills and give you exposure to the best startups in the world
  • Following the Bootcamp, Startmate connects candidates with startups for final interviews.
  • Fellows receive a year of ongoing mentorship and support from Startmate while learning from some of the best practitioners inside a world-class Australian startup.
  • Fellows also receive a trip to the US to participate in private learning sessions with the some of the top startup talent in the world.

We’re looking for curious, creative, fast-running, ambitious, super-learners. People who:

  • Have spent a few years working at the best law firms, investment banks, management consulting firms or top companies but are too curious and creative to stay long term.
  • Want to work on the toughest challenges, side-by-side with incredible teammates
  • Are deep thinkers about the intersection between human psychology and technology and curious about how tech products grow
  • Have a strong growth mindset, are eager for feedback and love to learn by doing.
  • Are ready for a six-month full-time learning rollercoaster and a life in startups.

Our next cohort of Startmate Fellows will kick off in March 2020 — applications are closed for now but you can register your interest.

Any questions? Email us at fellowship@startmate.com.au.

Startmate

Startmate is Australia and New Zealand's most ambitious accelerator.

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