What is Startmate?
At Startmate, we invest in extraordinary founders who are changing the way we work, live and play, and we’re powered by the most successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists in Australia.
Startmate’s world-class community of mentors and alumni are scaling businesses from the first dollar to the next billion, and we share that knowledge through our 12-week accelerator program, 1:1 bespoke coaching and in-person events.
Startmate encourages ambitious founders to hit their next milestone and offers invaluable resources, advice and support along the way. Since 2010, we’ve been welcoming exceptional founders into a community for life as they create groundbreaking businesses of tomorrow.
How is Startmate different from other accelerators?
Startmate is the only Australian accelerator with alumni and mentors currently running everything from brand new companies to unicorns valued into the tens of billions.
This is important because it creates an unbroken chain of experience from the early stages of beginning a new venture through the trials of scaling, hiring and fundraising. There is always someone to talk to who is 1–2 steps ahead.
Another key difference is that Startmate’s mentors include Australia’s biggest angels and VCs and all mentors actually invest in the teams in our accelerator. Mentors invest at least $10k and some of the larger VC mentors invest much more. This means that teams form in-depth relationships with individuals that have already invested in them and are able to invest more.
The final difference is the most difficult to explain. Startmate has a culture of radical honesty and ambition.
This combination is a powerful thing that’s tough to explain.
Do I have to pay for Startmate?
We invest $75k in your company.
How does the Startmate investment work?
We invest $75k at a $1m valuation in each one of our companies as soon as you’ve been accepted into the program.
There is one exception — if you have signed term sheets for more than $250k by the application deadline we match your latest valuation.
We prefer to invest through a standard SAFE note, which can take as little as a week to complete and money to hit your bank account. In case you’re finalising your current round, we’re happy to come in and join the equity round.
Am I too early?
We’re looking for the most ridiculously ambitious founders in Australia.
Show us your passion, show us how you 110% know it’s a “hair on fire” problem that you’re solving and we take pre-revenue and MVP stage companies.
Making Things joined Startmate with an idea and a facebook group of 5,000+ knitters — here is Megan’s full story and how she raised $1m before the program even ended.
Read about some more examples in our SYD19 cohort here.
Am I too late?
If you haven’t yet raised a Series A round you’re not too late.
Founders are often reluctant to join an accelerator if they have a bit of revenue and feel like they can do it themselves. Startmate can push you in ways you never knew existed — sales, marketing, product or fundraising.
Work180 joined Startmate after bootstrapping the business for 3 years to $1m in ARR and raised $1m within a couple of weeks.
[Gemma] Lloyd joined the Startmate accelerator and started talking to venture capital firms and says within a month WORK180 had offers of $2.2 million [Source: SMH — here].
Talk to us if you’re concerned — reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect within 48 hours.
Read about some more examples in our SYD19 cohort here.
What types of startups do you take into the program?
Startmate is industry agnostic — we take the best founders, whichever industry they work in.
Our 100+ alumni are in all different industries.
Software as well as hardware.
From SaaS to marketplaces.
From beauty freelancers to spacetech, autonomous drones, foodtech, agtech, medtech, martech, sports tech to hypnosis.
You get the idea — as long as you’re a tech-enabled startup with a potential for abnormal growth — we want you.
I’m in a niche — do you have mentors with the right expertise?
Every cohort has a wide variety of companies. We offer most help with sales, marketing, product and fundraising.
It’s a big commitment to be a Startmate mentor, so we might not always have mentors in your specific niche market, but we can guarantee you that you’re only 1 step removed from introductions to customers and mentors in your niche.
Who are the mentors?
We have broadly three types of mentors:
- Successful Aussie founders
You can see the full list of mentors — here.
What will I get out of the program?
We don’t hand-hold. We don’t spoon-feed.
You get as much out of the program as you put in.
The best part about Startmate is the Startmate Family.
You’re joining a community of 300+ founders, operators and investors — who are invested in your future and want to help. Based on your needs you can get anything out of the program you want. Usually, founders get most help with sales, marketing, product and fundraising.
How big of a time commitment is the Startmate program?
Founders are busy building their companies.
Startmate is about accelerating and supporting that, not getting in the way.
Three big milestones are compulsory for all teams:
- Week 0 — two nights away at an offsite location to interrogate your strategy and set you up for success in the program
- Demo Days — one in Sydney, one in Melbourne in front of 400+ founders and investors
- San Francisco Trip — one week in SF at the end of the program to meet the likes of A16Z, General Catalyst, BoostVC, Zoox, Bugcrowd, etc
Throughout the program, there is only one compulsory weekly meeting, which is All Hands on Monday at 4pm.
Everything else is optional.
We encourage all founders to join as many sessions as they can.
Full overview of what happens at Startmate — here.
What happens during the program?
In a nutshell:
It all starts with Week 0 — two nights in a national park.
Throughout the 12 week program, we keep you accountable to the goals you set yourself as well as organise optional content sessions based on the founders’ feedback and needs. You meet most of our mentors during Mentor Roulettes across Sydney and Melbourne.
We finish the program with Demo Days in Sydney and Melbourne in front of 400+ founders and investors and a week in San Francisco.
How many founders need to participate in the program? Can my team join?
Only one of you needs to be part of Startmate, but we encourage all founders to participate.
We’ve seen teams of four founders join Startmate where all went to most sessions and on the other side, one founder moving to Sydney/Melbourne for the duration of the program whilst the other cofounders stayed in their respective cities.
If you have a team and you think the sessions are relevant to your team members, we absolutely encourage you to invite them along as well.
How do I get into Startmate?
At Startmate we have a four-step selection process.
1) Office Hours (Optional, highly recommended)
Apply for a 30mins 1:1 feedback session with our mentors. It’s your time to ask questions, for advice on your company or your Startmate application.
2) Apply on Angellist — here
Answer 15 quick questions and record a 3-minute video.
We receive ~300 applications per cohort.
3) Interview Day
Speed dating style ~2.5 hours of 10mins back to back meetings with our mentors.
The best 30 teams are invited to Interview Day.
4) In-depth Interview Day
A one-hour deep-dive into your business and the founders.
The best 15 teams make it to this stage and we’re happy to bring all 15 teams into the cohort.
Usually, our Startmate cohort size is between 10–15 companies.
How do I become a mentor?
Our community is the magic of Startmate.
Only 3% of startups which apply get into Startmate and we’re equally selective with our mentors.
If you’re an Aussie founder or investor — you have to be recommended to the Startmate team by three of our existing mentors. A month before the cohort selection begins we in-person screen through new mentors.