Visiting the Startmate Accelerator — Day 9 as a VC intern

We (the 3 VC interns from fundedbygirls) and Samantha Wong (Partner at Startmate) jumped on an early morning flight to Melbourne for a visit to the Startmate Accelerator.

I was ready for another blast of learning and gee did I learn a lot.

First lesson of the day — Make your own opportunities

She reached out to contact a person she thought could help, who unexpectedly referred her onto Samantha. They met in person and during that 90 minute meeting Vyoma pitched her idea of being hired as an intern.

Coincidentally Samantha and Rohen Sood from Reinventure had been talking since Christmas about conducting an internship similar to BBG Ventures (co-founded by an old friend of Samantha’s).

As a result, Sydney’s own fundedbygirls program emerged. Now 3 girls, Hannah, Vyoma and I get the opportunity to intern at Main Sequence Ventures, Reinventure and Blackbird Ventures.

Thank you Samantha, Rohen and BBG Ventures for making this amazing opportunity possible. These past 2 weeks have been an unforgettable experience.

I became aware of how lazy and fortunate I was. Lazy because I only look for available opportunities and fortunate because I’ve been lucky enough to succeed once or twice. But from now onwards, if I can’t find the opportunities I want, I’m not going to sit back and twiddle my thumbs. I’m going to get out there and MAKE my own opportunities.

Second lesson of the day — Intro 101

The tips given:

Always ask for introductions. If you’re a founder looking for angel investment and you’ve just been rejected, ask that angel for 2 other angels they could connect you with.

Be succinct. It’s quality not quantity, long emails mean that you have too much time (to write the email). The recipient doesn’t want to read an extremely lengthy piece of introduction. Make it straight-forward and to the point. 3–4 sentences will do (but again this depends on the context)

Include numbers an data. Just by saying you’re company has been growing 3x every month for 6 months is more effective than describing how great your company is. Numbers help cut down inefficiencies.

Flattery. Have something in there that talks about an achievement specific to the person you want to create a connection with. It never hurts to make someone feel good.

Small ask. Don’t ask for a 1 hour meeting straight off. Start off small e.g. a 10 minute phone call. The recipient is more likely to agree to that.

The third series of lessons for the day from a marketing guru and entrepreneur

The more the not better. Sometimes having 1 product is good, and when you start introducing many more products it can become bad. Why? Consumers can start to feel analysis paralysis. Scenario 1: Consumer lands on your webpage sees one product and makes the purchase. Scenario 2: Consumer lands on your webpage sees 5 products and doesn’t know which to choose. They start looking at reviews, wait till they meet with a friend to ask them about it or see responses on social media. And they may never come back to your page to make the purchase.

See the Jam Test

Quickly cut your losses. One of the differences between successful & unsuccessful founders are how you deal with losses. The startup ride is not smooth and often times it’s a crash. You can cry for 2 hours, but after those 2 hours you start looking for new ways to achieve your goal. There is not enough time and resource to give founders the luxury of a long grieving process.

The fourth lesson — importance of a one liner.

Why is this important? Investors and customers need to be able to grasp your company’s value proposition. Understanding needs to occur before they buy-in.

Why one-line? You need to arm these investors and consumers with the ability to communicate your unique value proposition (UVP) to other investors and consumers. You need to enable an effective network effect, so that consumers can tell their friends who can then tell their friends.

I had such an incredible time at Startmate, the hub of smart, innovative entrepreneurs as well as giving and supportive mentors like Sam.

It was lovely meeting my fellow interns. I learnt a lot from both you :)

Growth & Marketing @Canva with a passion for all things data