Years ahead in
a matter of months.
Build a world-class company with those who have established, worked with and scaled successful ventures.
The first few years of your company’s life are critical. It’s not just about surviving – it’s about learning a lot, fast, in a hyper-competitive environment to build the infrastructure of your future business.
Our program focuses on five key business areas: Strategy, Customer Growth, Product, Management and Operations. We have the experience to know that working on these early will pay dividends in the future.
At the beginning of the program, we’ll identify your key metrics, strengths, and goals over the next 3, 6, 12 and 18 months. We’ll then talk you through each one and assess how to achieve them to grow your business, and also attract investment further down the track.
Every Skalata founder gets access to a dedicated program coach – all of whom have helped build and exit high-growth businesses. Some earned their stripes in the scrappy world of Silicon Valley, and some, a little closer to home.
Their full-time focus is to intimately understand your business, as if it were their own. During the program, they’ll be your day-to-day sounding board, and using their tactical and strategic know-how, they’ll keep you on track.
Founders will have a scheduled weekly meeting with their lead coach, but can also reach out to other coaches for a second opinion, or for help on a specific activity.
Our coaches dig into your operational processes and provide actionable advice – they're not just mentors preaching high-level strategic sermons. They won't make sales calls for you, but they'll help you develop the script!
You will also be supported by our team of associates who bring years of startup, investment banking and legal experience to the table. We want to add the power of every mind at Skalata to your business, and we encourage you to take us up on that.
Your coach will push you hard to help you succeed in the real world, and keep you accountable to your vision. Good, honest feedback can sting, but confronting problems is what will help you succeed in the long run.
They will work with you as a person, not just as a company, and as humans, they won't always be right – you will often know better! All we ask from everyone in our program – coaches included – is that they listen respectfully, engage honestly, and contribute meaningfully.
We’re big on collaborating here – and it’s led to great things. It starts with weekly cohort sessions, where founders get together to share their progress and problems. Sometimes just talking things through solves an issue that’s been hanging around for weeks.
We also have Teach Me Something in Ten (TMSIT) where we encourage founders to run their own workshops to educate the cohort on something they're passionate about.
We run weekly educational workshops where content is applicable to everyone (i.e. fundraising, pitching, goal setting, customer discovery and product-market fit).
All sessions are conducted by our coaches to encourage founders to keep each other accountable to their goals, offer support and share knowledge across the group.
We hold monthly mock advisory board meetings so founders can gain experience with good governance and discipline. To hit the ground running, we run a governance workshop in the first few weeks of the program. This gets you up to speed on director duties, stakeholders, and important documents you should begin preparing.
You'll also need to prepare a monthly information pack of your financials, performance and metrics which you'll present as part of your own meeting agenda. Over time, with consistent reporting, you’ll develop a level of rigour that will serve you and your business well.
Towards the end of the program, we will invite industry experts from our wider network to these meetings to make sure you're getting feedback and advice from industry experts.
During the program, you can expect to spend time working on your business (i.e. strategy, governance, goal-setting, hiring plans, fundraising) as well as in your business (i.e. customer acquisition, product development). Before coming into the program, we've found that most founders usually don’t spend enough time working on their business.
We understand that at this early stage, your day-to-day involvement in your business is crucial. We're not going to force you to attend irrelevant workshops or waste hours in cohort 'get to know you' sessions. But we need to reinforce the importance of putting the correct structures in place to scale. Your future company will thank you for it. During the program, your time will be split on average 30% on vs 70% in your business.
Our program will push you to achieve things in timelines you never thought possible. But we never let that pace take a toll on your mental health. Your passion for your business shouldn't come at the expense of your wellbeing.
Early on, we'll work with you to understand how we can help put processes in place to prevent burnout and ensure you're keeping a good work-life balance. We're not going to make you do yoga sessions or breathing exercises if that's not your cup of tea, but we do want to find the best way to help.
We'll do our best to understand your style of working and your commitments outside the program. If you're a parent, we understand you'll face some unique challenges (we're sure you're already well-versed in juggling!), but we pride ourselves on making Skalata a family-friendly environment, both online and offline.
As former founders, our coaches and wider team know what you're going through, and we've found that talking is often the best medicine. We're also happy to set up calls, coffees and catch-ups with our portfolio founders – those who have already been through the program are the ones who truly understand what it's like to walk in your shoes.
Sometimes the unexpected happens. Like finding $5 in the pocket of a jacket or a global pandemic that completely stalls the world’s economy. Whatever happens, we’ve got the flexibility to deal with it.
The Skalata Seed Investment program operates under a hybrid model – which means anyone in Australia can participate remotely, while Melbourne-based companies can participate in person if they choose to.
Sometimes, we’ll need all our companies in Melbourne for things like inductions, or the monthly advisory board meeting (which we like you to attend in person if possible). The good news is that we schedule social events around these dates so you can get to know our other portfolio founders at the same time.
Unfortunately (and surprisingly), only 1 in 4 Aussie startups have an independent director. That’s not a great stat for early-stage companies who need to navigate some critical challenges. We're determined to skew those numbers in your favour by helping our portfolio companies appoint independent directors and/or an advisory board.
Hailing from incredible careers, we have a real-world database of hundreds of experts across functional areas who we can connect you with to provide focused advice.
Later stage investors consistently tell us that Skalata portfolio companies have stronger fundamentals than their peers – giving them an unfair competitive advantage, and naturally, making them more investable.
If you successfully complete the program, you'll never need to look beyond Skalata's network for growth funding – whether you're raising in a year, or ten. We will make introductions, work with you to refine your pitch – anything we can do to help make your next round a success.
Both during and after the program, you'll have access to our community of hundreds of founders and advisors via our Skalata community Slack channel. If you need anything from a digital agency recommendation, to advice on where the best local cafe is to meet an investor, fire away.
We run a fortnightly breakfast series where we invite prospective program applicants, participants, alumni, industry leaders and investors to get to know each other over coffee and brekky. Over the years, these rapid 1-hour breakfasts have helped companies find new investors, advisors, team members, and broaden their networks.
From startup fundamentals, to exploring the latest trends in the metaverse, our network of experts love to share their insights in person and online. Sessions with our resident live white-boarding expert, Peter Laurie, are always in hot demand.
We also run larger scale events (at least) twice a year which give founders the chance to meet with our wider network. If you've been working remotely, we encourage founders to make the trip to Melbourne – we promise to make it worth your while.
While you have your head down building your business, PR is probably not your highest priority. Luckily, our team will happily work with yours to develop content, devise an actionable media strategy, and get your story in print, to build credibility and social proof.
Have you invented something, improved something or built something with a clear competitive advantage? We're on the lookout for the very best founders from across Australia to support next.
We ask that you please familiarise yourself with our eligibility criteria prior to expressing interest. Whether your company is a good fit or not, we'll communicate thoughtfully and transparently.