Meet…Tracie Thompson, HackHunter (Startmate Mentor)

A photo of Tracie Thompson gesturing excitedly.

Name: Tracie Thompson

Company: CEO and Co-Founder at HackHunter, Startmate Mentor

HQ: Melbourne

What were you doing before Startmate?: Before Startmate, we had sold our security consulting and software business and spent 12 months consulting while thinking about what we wanted to do next. My co-founder Mike came up with the idea of HackHunter (a WiFi security product) and we thought there might be a market for it, so we applied for Startmate with an MVP and were accepted into the Melbourne 2018 cohort. We went full-time on HackHunter the day we started Startmate.

How did involvement in Startmate alter your trajectory?: When we applied to Startmate, we thought HackHunter was a WiFi security product for consumers, and we tested that market throughout Startmate. By the end of the 12 weeks, we had produced our first hardware product and had a paid beta group of 20 users. So Startmate confirmed that HackHunter solved a problem, but we also knew the market was too small, and this helped us narrow down our target market to enterprise and government. Without Startmate, we would probably still be thinking HackHunter was a consumer product. I think Startmate sped up our development by about 18 months.

HackHunter Co-Founders Tracie Thompson and Mike Thompson pose in front of a colourful wall.
HackHunter Co-Founders Tracie Thompson and Mike Thompson pose in front of a colourful wall.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given and who gave it to you?: The best piece of advice I received was to have confidence in ourselves and HackHunter because we had been selected for Startmate for a reason and the mentors all believed in us. This advice came from Matt Allen at Week 0 (the initial Startmate off-site) and it really helped me get over my questioning of how and why we were in Startmate and realise that others believed in us too. It was both humbling and energising!

What advice would you give someone about to go through Startmate?: My advice to anyone going through Startmate is to think of the one thing you want to achieve and do everything you can to do that. It might be finding a co-founder, or getting funding, or working out your go-to-market strategy. You will have the most amazing resources and network at your disposal, so make sure you squeeze everything out of it that you can. Get the word out there, speak to as many mentors as possible and, if they can’t help you, ask for a referral or intro. And really challenge yourself — it’s amazing what you can achieve in 12 weeks!

What is a daily habit you swear by?: I meditate before I go to bed every night. I find that it helps my monkey brain to just slow down enough so I can be relaxed when it’s time to go to sleep. I was inspired by a session we had during Startmate where Peter Huynh, a Startmate mentor, took us through a guided meditation. Since then I have joined his online guided sessions, which he started at the beginning of COVID, whenever I can and started meditating daily.

Startmate is the epicentre for startup ambition across Australia and New Zealand.