Startmate, a Sydney-based startup accelerator programme that has one of the highest startup success rates, has announced today that it will invest up to $150,000 into its next batch of startups. It has also partnered with creative agency Droga5 to help 2016 participants with storytelling, a struggle for many founders with promising products.
Startmate’s five-month program spans three months in Sydney and two months in San Francisco. Successful applicants for the 2016 programme will receive mentorship from Startmate’s network of successful entrepreneurs including Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar from Atlassian, and Bardia Housman who sold Business Catalyst to Adobe, as well as Startmate alumni including Stuart Argue, who sold Grabble to Walmart Labs, and Mike Baukes and Alan Sharp-Paul from Scriptrock.
Niki Scevak, Founder of Startmate and Blackbird Ventures, said the programme essentially helps “nerds become great CEOs.”
“Mainly, we do that by helping startups waste less time, focusing only on building product and talking to customers. But overarching all of it is the art of storytelling, which permeates every part of doing a startup,” he added.
Startmate’s partnership with Droga5 is anticipated to help sharpen the communication of each company’s mission. For the uninitiated, storytelling may seem trivial. However, in the startup world, being armed with a great idea or product is not enough, and many entrepreneurs end up facing rejection, or their businesses end up meeting their untimely demise, due to inadequate storytelling.
In fact, storytelling can be the difference between funding and no funding, a deal or no deal, customers or no customers, and is even critical to recruitment. Therefore, Startmate’s focus on storytelling training is not unprecedented.
Startmate’s announcement states that Droga5 will play a crucial role in the 2016 program, particularly in regards to storytelling.
“Often technical startups lack the experience of creating meaningful brands and communication strategies. This is something we can help them with, in turn learning equally as much from the startups about the world they are operating in and new technologies that may ultimately benefit our clients and our industry,” said Droga5’s Sydney CEO Sudeep Gohil.
Also, Droga5, at an agency level and Gohil himself, will invest capital in each of Startmate’s participating companies.
“There are a lot of conversations going on in our industry about incubators, innovation programs and startup businesses, but there are very few partnerships that come close to the work that Blackbird and Startmate do,” said Gohil.
“We are building a genuine, deep and exciting partnership, which will ensure we can be as effective as possible in elevating the startups selected.”
Gohil admitted that the benefits of the partnership with Startmate are “abundant” and that the partnership marks a “bigger shift” for the agency into “a broader conversation around business and creativity”.
“We get the opportunity to flex digital muscles that can only be developed with the right people around the table and most importantly we are challenging out people, clients, and partners to think of innovation in new ways,” he said.
Applications for Startmate 2016 are now open and close on the 30th of September. Startmate’s mentor network will collectively vote which startups have made the most progress in the program and invest along the same terms as the seed sound. If there are no co-investors, the startup will have the option to accept the investment at $2 million pre-money valuation.
Featured image: Niki Scevak, Founder, Startmate.