VENTURE DEVELOPMENT

Years ahead in
a matter of months.

Build a world-class company with those who have established, worked with and scaled successful ventures.

GET STARTED
Navigation

Venture Development.

The best part of your story is yet to be told...
We invest financial, human, and social capital in remarkable founders to help them validate, build, and grow Australian companies of the future. Here's what you'll achieve with Skalata.
1. Product-market fit
Objectively measure if your business is meeting a real market need. If it's not, we'll help you pivot until it does.
2. Growth engine
Exceed your growth targets by building the team, systems & infrastructure required to scale.
3. Sustainable business model
Ensure your model is not only viable, but has healthy margins & unit economics to grow sustainably.

Background.

Learning from the best to become the best
Our Venture Development model is built on insights from leading accelerators, seed funds, university programs and venture capital firms around the world – Y-Combinator, StartX, Oxford and Kleiner Perkins to name a few.
Finding our own product-market fit
We've conducted years of extensive customer research and interviewed hundreds of investors, founders and business leaders from across Australia to make sure our model is the best it possibly can be.
Actionable advice
We've narrowed down the key challenges founders run into at the seed stage and developed specific activities and methodologies to address these challenges, systematically. 
One of a kind
There’s really nothing like our model in Australia (or the world!). We're proud to walk a slightly different path for the benefit of our founders. We’re constantly iterating to ensure we're offering the most value to companies.

What we look for.

A great idea can come from anywhere.
We’re not tied to a certain industry, personality or ability. As long as you have a clear vision, are obsessed with the problem and solution, and are uniquely qualified to build and scale it, let's talk.

We don't wait until there's a full feature about you in the AFR to get involved, but we do need to see the following...
Innovative
You have invented a solution, infrastructure or process unlike anything else on the market - and we really stress the ‘you’. Your business can't break down when you can’t get in touch with an external expert. We look for unfair advantages – defensible intellectual property, barriers to entry, top-notch teams or unique partnerships.
Market ready
You must have a product ready to go to market or at least be close. Ideally, you’ll have some form of traction (i.e. users or revenue). If you need a bit of time, capital or resources to bring your product to market, that’s fine. As long as you’re less than a month off launch, we can help. Commercialisation needs to be just around the corner.
Capital efficient
Our funding should meaningfully extend your runway – companies should have 12+ months runway upon initial investment. You'll also need to describe how you will hit a milestone that enables you to get closer to cash flow positivity or attract further funding.
More than one person
We know you can probably do it all, but it’s really important you have a core team around you - not just for us, but for you as well. That’s why we only invest in businesses with at least two full-time people. Having said that, it’s OK if you’re flying solo now but plan to bring someone on board in the near term.

Founder fundamentals.

Founders drive everything we do
Product, market, and business model are all important, but we're always most drawn to founders who share our values. Curious, thoughtful people, with deep convictions – those who are building their business for all the right reasons.

We've seen time and time again that a great idea can come from anywhere. Fresh graduates to seasoned CEOs have all found incredible value in Skalata's offering.
You're motivated by growth, not cheque size
The most valuable thing we have to offer is the know-how and networks that we share with you over the course of your time with Skalata. Capital is a commodity, but the know-how we provide and the doors we can open are not so easily accessible.
You dive in, head first
There's a close link between commercial success and the willingness of founders to fully engage. By being an active participant, being prepared for weekly and monthly meetings and critically analysing their business, founders get the most from Skalata.
You're self-aware and self-critical
Founders know their businesses best and we respect that. We’ve found that the best founders have a vision, are incredibly self-aware and are able to admit when things aren’t going as well as they could be. Open mindedness to try new things to solve problems is a trait that leads to greater outcomes for everyone.
You want to build a sustainable business
Growth-at-all costs doesn't really fly with us. We want to work with founders who are willing to put the infrastructure in place to scale, rather than growth hacking their way to temporary success. Those who realise that putting in the hard yards now will pay dividends in future.
You believe in diversity and inclusivity
From experience, people, companies, and communities thrive when teams are diverse and inclusive. We want to work with those who believe that the more different we are, the fresher our thinking can be. The chance to build the future should be an equal opportunity.

Investment structure.

Capital is a commodity. Experience isn't.
With decades of experience building and advising companies in Australia and around the globe, we know what world-class seed stage companies look like, and what it takes to get them executing at the highest level.

We don't treat our initial investment as a direct valuation, because we believe that companies receive value from our our venture development model that can’t be quantified in dollars and cents. From our coaches and operational resources, to our network of expert advisors, we work tirelessly with founders to help them build the foundations to scale, and become later-stage investment ready.

Beyond our initial funding, we have the capability to make a more significant follow-on investment (up to $900k), as well as help you raise additional capital via our network. We strive to always be the most valuable partner relative to investment on your cap table.
Initial investment
When you are accepted into Skalata, you'll receive:

$100k - $200k
investment funding. In return, Skalata Ventures receives 5-10% equity in your company. Initial investment and equity stake is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Subsequent investment
Skalata may elect to make further investment up to $1m (including our initial investment) throughout the life of your company.

This is at our discretion, and you do not need to accept this investment.

Learn more

Selection process.

Interested in applying? That’s great news. Here’s what it takes to be selected.
01
Expression of Interest & Application
It takes 30 seconds to submit the initial Expression of Interest form. We’ll just need some details about you, your company and your growth plans.

If your business fits our eligibility criteria, we'll invite you to our Investment Submission and Company Overview forms. This is a little more involved, and we'll need details on your team members, market and financials. We also ask for a brief product demo to get a closer look at what you're working on.
02
Interviews with our Team
This stage involves two or more interviews which help us learn more about you, your business and team. We’ll ask questions covering your progress to date, your product, your business plan and financial forecasts.

From here, we may present a conditional offer to you, subject to due diligence. If that happens, we’ll give you a copy of our participation agreement and term sheet. This should all happen within 8 weeks of your initial Expression of Interest.
03
Confirmatory Due Diligence
It can be a bit dry, but due diligence is important. As part of our review, we’ll need additional documentation and information from you to confirm what you’ve told us. We might also validate the technical viability of your product through some additional questions.

Don’t worry if you don’t have all the information we ask for. Many early-stage companies haven’t had the chance to implement things like a Company Constitution or Privacy Policy. The good news is that we will help you develop these important items over time.
04
Offer & Investment
This is the exciting part. We’ve double-checked everything, our Investment Committee has given the go-ahead, and we're are ready to invest in your business.

You’ll need to fill out a Participation Agreement and Term Sheet (if not provided earlier), Shareholders Agreement, Constitution and Subscription Agreement.

Once completed, we'll transfer you the funding and you'll begin your venture development journey. Welcome to the Skalata portfolio!

Day to day.

Here's what to expect during your five-month stay.

Structured Support

Prepare to scale

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 Venture Development framework 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.

Early on, 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.

Weekly Coaching Sessions

A coach in your corner

Every Skalata founder gets access to a dedicated 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. 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.

High level + hands on

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.

Humility goes a long way

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 – coaches included – is that they listen respectfully, engage honestly, and contribute meaningfully.


Weekly Accountability Sessions & Workshops

Collaboration is key

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. 

Monthly Advisory Board Meetings

Preparing for the big time

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. 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.

Work On and In your Business

It's all about balance

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 joining Skalata, 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. If we had to average it down, your time will be split on average 30% on vs 70% in your business.

Looking out for your Wellbeing

You are more important than your business

Skalata 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 of your business. 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 truly understand what it's like to walk in your shoes.

Flexibility through Restrictions

Remote & ready

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. 

We 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.

And Beyond...

We stay deeply involved with our founders throughout the lives of their companies.

Advisory/Board Selection

Who gets a seat at the table?

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.

Fundraising

Ready for Series A and beyond

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.

And once you're in, you're in. 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.


Community & Events

Community Slack channel

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.

Breakfast series

We run a fortnightly breakfast series where we invite prospective applicants, portfolio companies, industry leaders and investors to get to know each other over coffee and brekkie. To date, these rapid 1-hour breakfasts have helped companies find new investors, advisors, team members, and broaden their networks.

Seminars & webinars

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.

Events

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.


PR & Marketing

Your wins are our wins

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.

Register your interest.

We're now accepting year-round applications and conducting investments on a rolling monthly basis.

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.

Register your interest

“Skalata has really built something special.”

“The balance between hard-nosed business and a focus on culture – that the team model every day – has genuinely set our business up for success.”
Grace Petherick
founder, Age up health

Arrive at Series A with confidence and velocity.

01
Venture Development
Over five months, we work with you one-on-one to develop the business infrastructure you need to achieve your growth goals. We put our experience to work, and offer strategic and operational day-to-day support to help you win.
02
Capital
You can’t build an empire on dreams alone. We give you an initial round of funding to develop your product, expand your team and prepare to scale. We can then follow on, up to a total $1 million investment cap.
03
Network
We'll connect you with our network of industry leaders, domain experts, advisors, investors and potential clients – the right people for the right stage of your business. We also help you appoint independent advisors to your board.
Register your interest

Take your business from good to great.

Expressions of interest are now open.
Let's get to know each other.
Uploading...
fileuploaded.jpg
Upload failed. Max size for files is 10 MB.
* We don't share your data. See our Privacy Policy
Thank you for your interest in our May 2022 program!
A member of our program team will be in touch shortly.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Emma Inteman
Co-founder - Shopshare
“Skalata encouraged us to have laser-like focus on our grand vision, but also understand the importance of taking small side steps to get there!”
Emma Inteman
Co-founder - Shopshare
“Skalata encouraged us to have laser-like focus on our grand vision, but also understand the importance of taking small side steps to get there!”
Michael Tutek
Co-founder - Preezie
“If we didn't go through Skalata, we wouldn't have put together the sales and business processes needed to really scale. I think we're years ahead by working with the Skalata team over the last few months.”
Grace Petherick
Founder - Age Up Health
“Skalata has really built something special. The balance between hard-nosed business and a focus on culture – that the team model every day – has genuinely set our business up for success.”
Alex Ewart
Co-founder - Explorate
“The benefit of the Skalata network is that they are literally the elite of the Australian business community. You're getting the highest level introductions you could possibly ask for.”
Nicole TJ
Co-founder - Travis
“Having support from the coaches and other founders we could relate to, gave us much more confidence and made us accountable for setting our priorities and achieving them.”
Darren Wolchyn
Founder - Smart Paddock
“Skalata is a completely different animal in the Australian VC world. They're really good at pushing us to progress our company as quickly as possible.”
Lisa Cousens
Founder - Style Sourcebook
“Skalata exceeded all my expectations! Doing a deep dive into every aspect of our business, pinpointing areas to improve and then workshopping strategies with an experienced team was extremely valuable.”
Jimi Frew
Co-founder - Emanate
“If you stay open-minded, take a step back and work incredibly hard to soak up everything Skalata has to offer, you'll undoubtedly succeed.”
Sonya Stephen
Co-founder - Choovie
“I've previously been a CEO and non-executive board director. But there's so much i've learned through the Skalata program about business and leadership. To have other people who believe in your story is really powerful.”
Gus Hoirisch
Co-founder & CTO - Flux
“We’ve learned how to focus on data-driven decisions instead of being led by what we felt was the best decision. I don’t think I understood what being data-driven meant until working with Skalata.”
Sara Khorasani
Co-founder - Gamyra
“Skalata feels like a bootcamp for startups. It really whips you into shape. It's also been great working with companies at the same stage as ours – everyone seems to have a pay-it-forward mentality.”
Josh Marsden
Co-founder - Active & Thriving
“Don't be afraid to ask! Skalata’s combined knowledge can help you take your company from good to great. The program opens doors and helps move you forward.”
Katherine Roan
Co-founder - Edapt
“There will be a lot of things that you don’t know how to do, but just give it a go and you’ll figure it out along the way. It's all a learning process, but the Skalata team will help you get there.”
Pip Stocks
Founder - Hearsay
“Skalata was vital in helping me work on my business instead of in it. Even that small perspective change was absolutely invaluable.”
//