Startmate is a mentor-driven seed fund. The expertise of our mentors is very narrow and so we believe only a small number of types of startups will benefit from the program.

Firstly, the business must solve a clear customer problem or need from the outset. We are firm believers in the mantra of 'Make something people want'.


You should operate primarily in a web or mobile environment or both and chase global markets from day one. And not just the product but also the majority of customer acquisition should happen online as well.

We like people who dial-up their ambition. We are not interested in investing in businesses that are the best in Australia and you must strive to be the best in the world in what you do.

At the heart of the business should be a transactional model, which can mean many things. We also realise that assumptions about business models in young startups will likely be wrong but here are some types of businesses that are attractive to us:


SOCIAL & MOBILE GAMING

Social Games or mobile apps that are either free with in-app transactions or paid apps. Examples include Tapulous or Flight Control.

DIRECT RESPONSE ADVERTISING

Businesses where the customer is measuring their spending on a completely direct response basis. This means firms like RetailMeNot, HotelsCombined and AdWords but not sites like large portals or businesses that need to reach extreme scale to appeal to media buyers looking to purchase brand-directed advertising.


In general, if the site is helping a consumer make a financially-significant decision then an advertising business is attractive. If advertising is being used to support a tangential application like communications, then we are unlikely to invest.

ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE

High value products for enterprise customers where the price points are very low so that they can be sold online and without a large sales force. Firms like Xero, Campaign Monitor or Atlassian‘s suite of products.

CONSUMER SUBSCRIPTIONS

Low priced monthly subscriptions where the product grows in value over time through more customer data being accrued or where there is a network effect. Firms like Evernote or products like Gmail are good examples.

MARKETPLACES

Marketplaces that connect buyers and sellers of a particular community. 99Designs, oDesk and Envato are great examples of marketplaces that started by serving small but growing markets and now have large defensible positions.

There will always be exceptions but those are types of markets that are primarily of interest.



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