Women in tech

Startmate launches ‘Ladymates’ to help women accelerate their startup careers

- March 25, 2024 2 MIN READ
Kelly Spoerk & Holly Brooks
Startmate's heads of Ladymates Kelly Spoerk & Holly Brooks

Startmate has taken its support of women in startups to the next level.

The “Ladymates” initiative – a term was coined by Startmate’s team in the accelerator and investment program – will support more women to work, found and invest in startups.

They’ve set a goal of equal gender representation in the ANZ startup sector and have written a White Paper outlining the reasons behind why they see it as an important area to focus on over the next five years.

“Ladymates” is a community of mateship, growth, and support.  They wanted to create ways for women to gather, share personal and professional challenges and offer advice.

To start with they will be supporting women pivoting into techfounding startups and as emerging leaders.

It spans several things Startmate already does and plans to introduce, from the Ladymates Collective for networking and building skills, to the Women Fellowship and Ladymates Leadership, Ladymates Student to help young women pursue careers in startups and tech, Ladymates Coaching to help women in startups to reach their full potential – from a first startup internship to jobs and leadership, Ladymates Founders creating a tight-knit network of role models, peers, and mentors to help them succeed.

Applications for Ladymates Leadership close March 25. Apply here. The program will take 30 women in leadership working in a startup, tech company or VC in fortnightly sessions from May 6 to Aug 22.

The initiatives follow on from 60% of the startups in Startmate’s summer cohort including women cofounders. Of the 10 startups chose, two – Graphics et al and Learna – have solo women founders.

Startment has now supported an average of 43% women cofounded startups over the last five years. (Last September’s cohort of 13 featured 40% female founders.)

The predominance of women follows on from the Winter 2022 cohort where Startmate backed a majority of female founders for the first time.

Startmate launched the Women Fellowship in 2019 to help more women land jobs in tech, and so far, it’s helped more than 550 (66%) of the 700-plus women who’ve taken part pursue a career in startups.

Startmate CEO Michael Batko said women make up only 26% of the tech workforce and that figure drops for leadership roles. Globally, only 15% of founders are women and in Australia, only 18% of VC funding goes to women cofounded startups.

Startmate is addressing the challenges women face from all angles to ensure these numbers see a significant increase over the next decade. Their suite of solutions aims to systematically break down the hurdles and barriers women face to ensure radical change for women and ultimately better outcomes for the world at large.

“If we truly want to solve the world’s biggest challenges, then we need the most brilliant people coming together – through full representation of our population,” Batko said.