The Startmate Fellowship, X-Factors, why I applied, and how to pursue your dreams too.

Full disclosure, I’m approaching my 40th year on the planet.
Don’t all tell me at once how young and fabulous I look (go on then, just a little), and I’m planning & executing my journey into startups now?
Aren’t they full of energetic, hip, tech-savvy, coding geniuses, decades younger than yours truly?
Do startups have a place for someone like me?

Kristy Bertenshaw
4 min readOct 5, 2021


A couple of things.

I never did like trying to fit in the mould. Or in boxes.
They are often too small. And too rigid.

Then there is the X-factor.

My ex-husband, that is.
My ex-husband was a founder, inventor, entrepreneur, and, to be fair, brilliant visionary.
While I was with him, I felt like I was in the world of entrepreneurship, technology, innovation, EO — everything.
We travelled the world attending trade shows, industry, Singularity University and Entrepreneur Organisation events.
I truly felt like I was more than just his plus one.

Imagine you’re at your favourite sports game.

Is it baseball? Rugby? Football? AFL? Netball? Soccer? Or something else.
It’s matchday. You’re a huge fan.
You’re on the sidelines — screaming, shouting, cheering, supporting, telling the ref someone is offside — it feels as if you’re part of the game.
As if you’re a player.
So many of us are actually on the sidelines whatever game we wish to play and literally think — believe — feel that we are a player.
But we aren’t. We are fans.

One of the huge realisations I came to after my relationship ended was how many games I thought I was playing, and I was just support crew. My life was consumed by taking care of everything he needed, predicting everything, doing everything, obsessing how to make sure he was taken care of, so he only needed to focus on building his game—his business, his life.
This was my choice, and at the time, I was beyond happy and fulfilled—to feel a part of this world in this context.
However, in reality, I was nothing more than a PA or EO, without the job title or the pay. And then when we ended, that ended too.

Time has passed, and I miss being part of that world. The tech world. Innovation. Companies with impact and mission at their core. Those utilising exponential technology. Startups. Like really miss them.
I believe that for things to change, I must change them.
For stereotypes to change, aren’t we each responsible for redefining them?
And I do not believe in tearing things down.
I’m a build them up gal. Add value. Get creative. Be the change!
To be a positive, uplifting, energetic change.

Ok. So it was time to walk the talk.

I applied to the Startmate Fellowship with a total abundance of imposter syndrome — that I was too old, not tech-savvy enough, didn’t know how to code, wasn’t enough to this, or that.
When I was considered and made it through the rounds, it felt like a miracle. Like someone made a mistake, but I kept getting through.
And poof.
Fast forward.
Week 1 is done. It was amazing, and went by so fast.

How can this help you achieve your dreams, goals, objectives and outcomes?

I’m not special.
If I can do this, so can you.
With the Fellowship OR whatever your version of this is.
You can’t be in to win unless you’re in—unless you start by taking some form of action.
And no? When we hear no?
It doesn’t mean no when it comes to applications (applying for stuff).
It means, maybe you didn’t nail that one.
Maybe you haven’t quite worked out how to articulate yourself optimally yet.
And there is more fun research and play (aka work) to be done.

Don’t play small.
Fortune Favours the Bold.
Courage is not the absence of fear, but acting despite it.
Rehearse and practise in advance.
The people who are the most successful fail the most. So it’s OK to fail, but try and Fail fast.

Tomorrow I’m going to write about what I’ve learned so far, after week 1—

I’ll cover the Who, Whats, Lessons Learned so far, action taken, stuff implemented, strategies and my favourite flavours of the Startups I’ve learned about to date.
Unless, of course, you want to ask me a question, then I could cover that?

For my fellow Startmate fellows, how are you going?

Particularly with the application of what we are learning?
I would love it if you could share your top tips for being in action in the comments below.

To my fellow movers, shakers, action-takers and dreamers!
Where would you like to fit into the world next? What contribution? Communities or careers would light you up? What’s one action you could get started with now?



Kristy Bertenshaw

I love to write bite-sized stories, essays & poetry. Revenue Generation & Growth Specialist | Passionate About Using Technology & Storytelling to Drive Results.