Founder Support

How exactly do we support Skalata portfolio companies? Find out below.
How will Skalata help grow my company?
You can break our offering down into three broad areas:

Growth funding: when you join Skalata, you’ll receive $50k to $300k of initial funding, with follow-on rounds available up to $1 million. In return, we’ll receive an equity stake in your business. When you’re ready for more, we’ll introduce you to our fund investors, and handle all the heavy lifting. You’ll never need to look beyond Skalata’s network for growth funding.

founders are matched with a dedicated Venture Partner. Someone with deep seed-stage experience. These are founders, investors, operators and SaaS experts. Our Venture Partners provide coaching week-in and week-out.

Advisory Network: each company also gets access to a network of experienced business leaders, operators and founders. These advisors will help you with governance and discipline within the business. They can also open doors to talent and new customers, or help facilitate international expansion.
How did Skalata design this support model?  
Short answer? With a lot of hard work! It’s taken time, trial and error to refine our development process, but we think we’ve got it humming along nicely now. It involves three main ingredients.

The team: the Skalata team and board has created, built, advised and exited successful companies across Australia, Asia and the US. We’ve also funded and worked with hundreds of companies at the seed stage for over a decade. It’s literally all we do. Our CEO, Rohan Workman and COO, Maxine Lee were part of the founding team of the first university-based accelerator in Australia (Melbourne Accelerator Program – MAP) back in 2012. 

International best practice: to inform our approach, we used insights from people who run the world’s leading accelerators, seed funds, universities and venture capital firms. These include Y-Combinator, StartX Stanford, Accel Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Techstars, Oxford, Cambridge and Right Side Capital Management, among others. 

Extensive local research: prior to launching Skalata, we conducted five intensive months of customer discovery in Australia and abroad. We interviewed 100+ people, including: pre-seed/seed-stage founders, founders at a later stage (post Series A), and people who invest in or work with early-stage companies. Through these interviews, we uncovered: what early-stage founders need help with, what later-stage founders wish they’d done earlier, and what investors need to see in companies in order to back them.
How much support do I get?

Each company is assigned a Venture Partner. They’re your primary point of contact, and the one driving your venture development. But you’ll also get a Venture Associate as a secondary point of contact, plus access to the broader Skalata venture team, our advisory network, investors, experienced founders, operators and business leaders. Our Venture Partners will work on your business, but not necessarily in your business. Their sole purpose is to help you get your company to the next level. They can help with:

  • Setting and achieving business goals
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses as a founder
  • Working through specific challenges or risks
  • Developing a powerful operational cadence
  • Improving your business infrastructure
  • Additional operational support (i.e. hiring, negotiating a major contract, pivoting the business, scripting your sales calls)
What does the first month of support look like?
First week: we spend a lot of time getting to know the founding team, understanding your vision, your goals, and your high-level plans.

Second week: we conduct a deep-dive into what’s worked well in the past (and what needs work moving forward). We also want to know what you're feeling more or less confident about. Next, you’ll meet with our Venture Partners as a team and be allocated a lead point of contact depending on your goals and priorities, and who we think might be the best fit for you.

Third week onward: our venture team will support you within your working style – whether you prefer short check-ins, longer working sessions, or something totally different. It’s all about finding a cadence that suits you. In the first instance, a weekly check-in is usually a good way to go, but this depends on your specific requirements and preferences.
Is founder support the same for everyone?
Definitely not! For the same reason that no two companies are the same. The Skalata experience is unique to you and your business. There will always be fundamentals and best-practices to keep in mind, but the goals, challenges and strategies will be tailored exclusively to you.

There are no workshops, no homework and no compulsory lectures. Our support will suit your stage, your cadence, and your growth plans. You’re in the driver’s seat, and you get to manage your own time. The last thing we want to do is micromanage our founders.
What's the ultimate goal of all this support?
Ultimately, to make you a success. But there are a few objectives that can lead to bigger and better things. These include:

Develop a growth engine: helping you achieve your growth targets. We also help you build the team, systems and infrastructure to scale.

Achieve product-market fit: helping you measure where you stand in respect of product-market fit. What it means, and how to optimise it. 

Build a sustainable business model: helping you develop a viable business model with healthy margins and unit economics to ensure consistent, sustainable growth.

Investment Information

We want our investment process to be as transparent as possible.
If we haven't covered everything here, then please don't hestiate to ask.
Does Skalata invest in a particular industry?
No, we’re sector agnostic. The truth is, we don’t want to box ourselves into a particular industry, because growth and good ideas can come from anywhere. Our current portfolio includes everything from Agtech and logistics to healthcare.
What is Skalata looking for in founders?
We’re looking for founders who are honest, determined, driven and open to feedback. They’re not afraid of hard work or the unknown, either. At Skalata, we champion all backgrounds, languages and abilities. What’s more important is your attitude. Not sure if that’s you? Check out our analysis of successful founder personas.
Does Skalata invest in solo founders?
We do work with solo founders (meet Lisa and Declan), although we’d encourage you to build a team ASAP. Running a company is already a lonely road, so we need to see you’ve got the skills, and the support, to scale.
What is Skalata's investment structure?
1. Initial Investment we offer flexible initial investments of $50k to $300k. In return, Skalata receives an equity stake in the company. That stake is based on your valuation, and is determined on a case-by-case basis. 

2. Follow-on Investment(s) - at any stage of the journey, we can make further investments up to $1 million. When you need additional capital beyond this, we'll open the door to our fund investors, and do all the heavy lifting.
How long does the investment process take?
The ball’s in your court on this one. We’ve outlined our general process here, but this can change depending on the stage and readiness of your company. Due diligence is what tends to slow things down, so if you have your data ready to go, we can often streamline the process. On average, investment takes about 6-8 weeks from pitch to investment, but it can also take as little as 4 weeks.
I’ve raised at a higher valuation implied by Skalata. Am I too progressed as a company? Is this a down round?
Not at all! Quite a few of our portfolio companies raised funds at a higher valuation than implied by Skalata’s initial investment. The difference is, our founders tend to recognise that value beats valuation, and the hands-on experience of working with Skalata (through dedicated coaching, access to best-practice business resources, and a broader advisory network) will help materially increase the value of their business.
What if Skalata passes on my company?
The most important thing to remember is that this doesn’t mean it’s a bad company, or a bad idea. Usually it’s because your business either didn’t meet our investment mandate, or, after diving into your value proposition, we weren’t able to develop a strong enough business case to move things forward. At the end of the day, we get things wrong just like anyone else. We also know how emotionally draining this application process can be, so we’ll try and be as transparent and speedy as possible. Whatever the outcome. And even if you miss out on Skalata funding this time, that doesn’t mean you won’t be successful down the track, or come away from the interview process with actionable advice.
What does Skalata not invest in?
There are a few areas that we don’t invest in, including gambling, tobacco and weapons (we want our founders to have a net positive impact on society). We also don’t invest in pure e-commerce plays, biotech or pharma, capital-intensive businesses (which require significant funding to get off the ground) or anything based solely around banking, insurance, provision of capital, leasing, property development, infrastructure acquisition, land ownership, construction, or making investments to derive rental / royalties / interest / dividend income. Phew.
What's Skalata's investment mandate?
We’re after companies at the seed stage who have already built some momentum or traction within the business. You’ll need a unique proposition (some defensible IP, special industry insight, or market solution) 12+ months of cash flow, and a market-ready product. There are over 30 data points we look at, but this is broadly what we need to see before we invest.
How does Skalata value my company
We value companies based on a carefully-developed formula. We look at over 30 separate data points (both quantitative and qualitative) across four key categories: team, problem/market, solution and traction. Value is driven by data: it’s important to us that our investment approach is as fair and objective as possible. We do not place a dollar value on the additional support provided. Instead we offer a conservative initial valuation as an acknowledgement of that support. Any follow-on investment is offered at a regular market valuation.
What about later stage (Series A+) funding?
Our investment cap is currently $1 million, but that isn’t the end of the story. Once you’re in with Skalata, you’re in. You’ll never need to look beyond our network for growth funding down the track – whether you’re raising in one year or ten. We’ll make the introductions to our investors, and help refine your pitch. Anything we can do to make your next round a success.
Who are some of the investors in Skalata's funds?
Skalata counts a number of very successful entrepreneurs among our fund investors. These include: Anthony Eisen (Co-founder, Afterpay), Jan Cameron (Founder, Kathmandu), Alex Waislitz (Founder, Thorney Investment Group), John Rubino (Founder, Monadelphous), Paul Dwyer (Founder, PSC Insurance Group), WA entrepreneur Ian Trahar and Bell Potter’s Hugh Robertson. They’re always on the lookout for co-investment opportunities in great companies.
Will Skalata sign my NDA?
Unfortunately not. We could go into all the ins and outs – it’s complicated – but we think our article here sums things up.
If Skalata passes on my company, can you provide feedback?
Feedback on the investment outcome is a perfectly reasonable thing to want! We aim to be as transparent as possible with investment decisions (and often provide as much detail/feedback as we can), however, it isn’t always possible for us to provide comprehensive feedback for every company. In short, we’ll do our best.

Pitch? Perfect.

To get started, tell us a little about your company. We personally respond to every pitch we receive, and try our best to get back to you within a couple of days.
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Thanks! We've got your pitch and will take a look shortly. Expect to hear from us within a couple of business days. In the meantime, check our new founder-focused content platform, KnowHow (shameless plug).
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