My startup Nexus Notes had the privilege of going through Startmate 2015. Here are seven reasons you should apply for Startmate 2016 before submissions close Wednesday evening.
Two thirds of the applications to Startmate will happen in the next 48 hours so it’s not too late. Apply now http://t.co/qadpeRnjj9
— StartMate (@startmate) September 29, 2015
1. It’s who you know, not what you know
There are two currencies in life: money and relationships. Introductions to Silicon Valley investors — you got it. Need to pick the brains of another tech founder — no problem. Although Australia’s tech scene is growing, it’s still small. Going through this accelerator will expose you to most of it. How you make the most of those interactions is up to you.
2. The perks actually help
In addition to the $50,000 you receive in return for 7.5% equity and potential follow-on funding, all members of the Startmate program gain free access to a co-working space and partner offers. These actually help. The space is housed within the world’s best incubator, ATPi, in Sydney’s inner south. Most other spaces in Sydney cost around $2000 per person per month. Startmate also has a lot of exclusive deals from companies that service startups but two of the best are $15,000 of credit from AWS and up to $150,000 free transaction fees with Braintree and PayPal. We use both of these deals at Nexus Notes.
3. Get your business investor ready
Irrespective of whether your business needs to take on outside money or not, it’s always good to have your legal agreements in order. A condition of being accepted into Startmate is that you sign their standard paperwork. Whether you are a US- or Australian-based company, these agreements are in line with best practices for early-stage tech startups. Every stakeholder benefits from the process.
4. They are better than the rest
If you are hell-bent on going through an Australian accelerator you do have a few other options. While they are all good and are all increasing Australian innovation, they can’t boast the same success as Startmate. They are often backed by big corporations or universities and a lot are very new. Startmate is now in its sixth intake and is backed by Blackbird Ventures — Australia’s biggest tech venture capital fund with over $230 million under management. They are a good big brother to have.
5. The trenches are better with mates
Aussie mateship is often traced back to our troops in World War I. If running a startup were akin to being in the trenches, it sure is made better by having your mates with you. You’ll form special bonds with the other eight teams who are going through the exact same thing as you. You can compare notes and ride the highs and lows together improving your team’s morale. It sure beats using public libraries or your kitchen table.
6. Taste the snake pit
While we have access to the same resources as the rest of the world, we are geographically isolated Down Under. With Startmate, you leave your comfort zone and spend two months in San Francisco/Silicon Valley. This will open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about your startup and how it fits within the broader ecosystem. If you’re main purpose there is to raise money, meeting sophisticated investors who have previously backed game-changing startups will sharpen your thinking. You can’t get this experience in Australia…yet.
7. Applying is easy
Don’t let the application process scare you off. You simply need to create a profile through Angel List, make a brief no-frills video and answer a handful of questions. The cut off is Wednesday, 30 September so if you’re on the fence about whether the program is right for you just apply anyway. If you make the first cut of 25 applicants, you’ll get to meet about 30 members of the Startmate community (mentors and alumni) on the speed-pitching day. From there, the best eight teams are made an offer to enter.
To finish, I’ll leave you with the words of the greatest ice-hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
Go for it!
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