2020 — A Year in Review

2020 in Review + 2021 Goals

Michael Batko
6 min readDec 22, 2020

2019 , 2018, 2017 in Review here.

Pic of 2020 >> local travel, lockdown, coffee, empty beaches

Status Quo

  • 🏡 Location — Live in Australia, Newcastle
  • 👩‍❤️‍👨 Girlfriend — Gabby (6Y anniversary in July 2020), M&A lawyer
  • 🧳 Work — Startmate the epicentre of Startup Ambition
  • ✈️ Travel — 2 weeks in Austria/Poland (January), 2 weeks in NZ (February), 1 week in Byron Bay (July), 4 week working from East Coast (November)
  • 🏃‍♂️ Sports — Run
  • 📺 Hobbies — Anime (One Piece, Attack on Titan) + Nintendo Switch (Zelda, Dark Souls, Mario, Witcher)
  • 💥 Things I do Read, Write a Substack

Update vs Last Year

  • 🏡 Moved to Newcastle in April 2020
  • 🌇 Startmate expanded from startup accelerator to people accelerator
  • ✈️ Travel plans got derailed and I worked the year from my couch in Newcastle
  • 🏃‍♂️ Off the sports bandwagon and jumped back on mid-year running 5km a couple of times per week
  • 🧑‍💻 Startmate went from 2 FTE to 4 FTE + 4 interns
  • 📝 Started a Substack newsletter and it’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of this year

Family & Friends

This is the first Xmas right now that I won’t spend with my family in Austria. On the flipside I got to spend a long Xmas together with my family last year and also two weeks in Austria/Poland for my cousin’s wedding in Jan/Feb.

Despite lockdowns, I felt as connected to my family as ever, maintaining my habits from last year — call weekly, monthly family/friends update emails, annual catchups and elephants group. On top of that, I got to spend lots of time with Gabby’s family in Newcastle.

The three major milestones this year for us were:

  1. Moving to Newcastle
  2. Buying a Car
  3. Receiving my permanent partner visa (= permanent residency)

Health & Sports

Probably the biggest fail this year. After the Half-Ironman in Nov 2019, I fell off the sports bandwagon. I know that I need a sports goal to work towards or I just don’t do it. Halfway through 2020, I started running 4–5km distances again as we had a work and Bleakley family challenge which motivated me.

On a health front — all good apart from two kidney stones, but there’s not much I can do but drink lots of water. #gettingold


Another big year for Startmate — more detail here.

  • Team: Built out a team of 4 FTE superstars
  • Founders: Funded 27 companies + 10 pro-ratas and raised $3.2m
  • Operators: two cohort of 24 and 100 women Fellows
  • Investors: raised $3.2m and two distributions returning 0.4x and 1.1x of the fund
Startmate Team Evolution


  • Reading — as soon as lockdown kicked in I stopped reading (total: 6 business + 16 fantasy books)
  • Writing — biggest win here — loved writing my Substack newsletter
  • Public Speaking — getting more comfortable, but feels like I’m cheating as it’s all on Zoom

Social & Hobbies

The best decision we made was to work for 4 weeks from a different Airbnb up the East Coast. We spent lots and lots of time with Gabby’s family. My new hobby is playing the Nintendo Switch and I was going through phases where I played lots. Lastly, I also participated in an Inktober challenge, drawing every day in October.


Still not eating beef, avoiding plastic bags and bottles.

2020 Reflection

My goals for 2020 are here and below:

2020 will be a big year of travel for me → SYD, MEL, AKL, SF, Poland and Canada. My focus will be on still spending enough time with Gabby and empowering the Startmate team to work in an environment they love.

😂 Well, that first part wasn’t true 😬

1. Build a great team culture

Startmate’s CultureAmp Engagement Score for the end of Year was 85%.

We definitely went through ups and downs as team — travel restrictions, working from home and resource constraints. We grew from 2 FTE to 4 FTE + 4 interns, which ensured that we had enough hands-on board to execute. We experimented with new 1:1 meeting structures, quarterly directionals, slack updates, onboarded Sophia and Lauren remotely, celebrate weekly achievements and still came together for quarterly offsites.

Feeling incredibly proud of the team.

2. Spend quality time with Gabby

Similarly, lots of ups and downs. Lockdown at first was kind of fun, then started to wear us down as we weren’t used to spending every waking and sleeping minute together. And now — we can’t imagine not working together from home.

We still got to spend lots of quality time together — weekly coffee dates, lots of time with Gabby’s family in Newcastle and three big trips — Austria/Poland in January, a week holiday in July and a month working from the East Coast in November.

3. Explore my personal brand

This is the goal I most struggled with. On a positive note — Substack was a game-changer for me and I love capturing my thoughts in writing and receiving feedback.

I wasn’t as Twitter active as I would have liked to be. I completely fell off the reading bandwagon this year. I didn’t lean into this goal enough.

2021 Goals

I still think the same three goals are the best goals for myself. I added a couple of metrics to make the goals more quantifiable for myself. Tbf they might not end up being the right metrics, but the underlying goals are the right ones.

  1. Spend quality time with Gabby — weekly ritual, celebrate monthly anniversaries, two 1+ week holidays together
  2. Build a great team culture — maintain CultureAmp score as we scale from 4 FTE to 12FTE
  3. Evangelise Startmate and Personal Brand — daily tweet, weekly LinkedIn, monthly Substack, launch productivity product

🎄Merry Xmas! 🎄