Get to know First Believer Christie Jenkins
Tell us a little about yourself.
First and foremost, I’m an athlete. I’ve been number 1 in Australia and top 10 in the world in 3 different sports — Trampolining, CrossFit and Beach Volleyball. I’ve also spent a decade in the world of management consulting and strategy.
Now, I’m a partner at Athletic Ventures and looking to grow my career in the VC space.
Personally, I’m incredibly passionate about high performance psychology and I speak and write about what we can learn from elite sport and how we can apply it to business.
What interesting spaces are you looking at, and why?
Human performance. How can we improve what the human race is capable of both physically and mentally?
The intersection of health and finance. How can we set up our health care systems so that we can afford to pay for them into the future?
Solving negative externalities. How can we do business in a way that doesn’t create problems for the environment or society?
Globalisation of health and education. These are the two big industries that are still predominantly managed within national borders and I think that’s going to change.
What’s the most interesting startup you’ve come across since becoming a First Believer? Why?
Arete. It’s a sports psychology and resilience building app for youth athletes (and eventually other youth audiences too).
As an athlete I know how important getting the mental side of your game right is, however, access to sports psychologists is prohibitively expensive.
Arete used AI to develop a chatbot coach. It’s the first time I’ve seen psychology done in a personalised and scalable way, and I’m excited for the impact it will have.
How has your perception of angel investing changed since going through the First Believers program?
It is not about the numbers — at all! A founder that you love and a great idea are usually all you are going off as an angel investor.
Also, the speed at which deals are done is incredible — you want to be a good judge of character because you might only get one meeting with the founder.
If you could wave a magic wand and change anything about the startup ecosystem, what would it be?
I’d remove the mystery.
From the outside, the startup world seems like a mythical place filled with people who have unique and special skills, that hustle 24/7. We perpetuate this myth with stories about unicorn founders and the unavoidable 2 minute noodle diet.
The reality is, everyone is just a regular person who is figuring it out as they go along.
Remove the mystery and I think we’d see a lot more people stepping up to be founders, operators and investors.
What’s the best piece of advice you received as a First Believer and who gave it to you?
Help. Be generous with your introductions. Share your knowledge. Give your time.
At the end of the day the money you invest is the smallest part of what makes you valuable to a founder.
I’ve done everything from help a founder practice their pitch, to making an introduction to a journalist for a PR opportunity, to filming content for the company, to figuring out how to get a website built.
In the early days, don’t worry about the pay-back or whether you’ll get to invest or not — this is a people business and if you start by helping as many people as you can you’ll wind up being in a great position as an investor.
(I can’t attribute this to any one person as literally every single investor we’ve met through the program has said this.)
What advice would you give someone about to go through the First Believers program?
The best part about the program is that it’s a small cohort. And that means you get to co-create the program.
Want to hear from a particular VC? They’re now on the schedule.
Want to understand how to dissect a pitch deck? We’ll organise a masterclass.
Want to learn how to write an investment thesis? That’s now your homework for the week.
My advice is to be proactive in what you want to get out of the program because the First Believers team will make it happen.
Introducing First Believers…
First Believers is a six-month program inspired by Startmate’s original mentors.
We believe to create a truly diverse and powerful startup ecosystem across Australia and New Zealand, we need more fresh perspectives, thinking and networks coming to the investment table. First Believers is the catalyst for a new generation of investors.
If you are thinking of building a career in venture, want to build confidence in making angel investment decisions, or want to better understand the investor’s lens, First Believers is the place for you.