Bring on the Bootcamp!

Written by Mary Lieu on the 2nd of December, 2016

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Whenever someone asked us how the SheStarts bootcamp went, we had only one thing to say: “Incredible.”

Spread across two weeks, we had finalists flying into Sydney or dialling into workshops & mentor sessions over Zoom, filling our Sydney BlueChilli office with energy and determination to “get sh*t done” and make their ideas happen. And of course, it was incredible finally meeting our founders and getting to know more about them as well as their businesses/ideas.

You can catch all the action on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook & Instagram) but we wanted to share some photos and learnings with you here.




Krupa Bhagani & Kruti Balakrishnan from MediText.


Wendy Suen, Quivalence:

“My initial thought when I thought of embarking into this foreign land of startups, was that my idea was so important that it would just fly and come together. I thought the problem was obvious. I was so wrong – so very wrong. The problem may be apparent to me but it isn’t to everyone else. I gained so much knowledge this week. The two lessons that really stand out are the need to be very clear about defining the problem and being true to you.

A startup will only become a viable business if your customer is convinced that you can solve their problem. That will only happen if you both look at the problem through the same lens.

You need to understand your customer. You can only do that by listening with your ears, watching with your eyes and keeping your mouth shut when the customer is telling you what matters to them. This is where you really need to be true to yourself and respect the customer and all the other people who help you along the way in Planet Startup.”



Catherine Eibner, our GM of Startups, taking the finalists through a workshop.



Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin sits down with the SheMakes team – including Tim Atkinson.


Madeline Green, Shark Share

“The first week of the SheStarts program was a phenomenal experience. Our team was able to gain advice and insight from a broad range of specialists, which in turn has allowed us to focus our energy on important aspects of our startup and enable us to create a strategy moving forward. The SheStarts program is providing us with the support we need when having to make big decisions as well as tips and tricks that will make our chances for success greater.”



Madi, Kelley, Sally, Claire, Alex, Liz & Nicola – taking an early morning work before another day of bootcamp.



Brett Geoghegan, Startup Advisor, flew down from Brisbane to join us at the bootcamp. We had our advisors from Melbourne too – it was a full house!


Lisa Chen, Xplaw

“It has been at times exciting, overwhelming and inspiring. I have most valued the opportunity to connect with advisors, external mentors and other founders who have all been incredibly generous with their time and advice. My top three learnings from the first week:

  1. On nailing product-market fit – get inside your customer’s skin (in a non-creepy way) and be like a child; keep asking why!
  2. On pivoting and lean experiments – “Learn fast,



Jessica Christiansen-Franks from Neighbourlytics.


Eglantine Etiemble, The Boomerang Factory

“Last week I learned about speed and volatility in constructing/deconstructing business models and the importance of having the right tools to do so.

At this early stage where everything is hypothesis, you need to absorb enormous, often contradictory feedback, translate it quickly into pivoted models and start testing again. I learned as well about the criticality of having a compass, a clear idea of why you are in it, deeply – as the model iterates and the ground feels uncertain, it keeps you progressing.

Finally, the most naive but best part for me so far: I am amazed to have met so many passionate, bright, bold, kick-ass women of all horizons. Australia, this is your asset, and if you are worried for the future, look this way!”



Our incredible finalists.