The Sydney University Genesis Program runs twice a year for any current and former student. Applicants may attend a series of lectures on various topics about converting their idea into a startup. I run a two hour workshop on funding in each series and am a judge on the final panel on the night of the presentation. This is a case study I have written to stimulate debate and questions about the process of seeking funding.

Mentor Match (a Case Study for Sydney Genesis Program)

We are developing a mentor matching solution with a difference. Users connect their LinkedIn profile to our system and indicate whether they wish to be a mentor or a mentee and our patented algorithms will use big data analytics to provide three matches. Users are then able to review the profiles on LinkedIn and make contact with them. We are expecting to achieve a match success rate of 95% within the first three years.

In 2016Q2 there were 450 million accounts on LinkedIn and 5% of people are looking for mentors while 5% of people are looking for the right mentee. This means we have a potential market of 45 million people who could use our mentor matching solution almost immediately.

To date we have developed the ability to run LinkedIn profiles through our matching engine and our trial of 20 users who were looking for mentors were all pleased with the matches produced. Even though this is our first attempt at matching, two of the users now have full time mentors who they are meeting on a monthly basis as a result of our introduction. The system is fully scalable since it runs on AWS.

The CEO is Brian Ripenose who has completed an MBA in Business at Curtin University (Perth) and our CMO is Melissa Ripenose who, prior to joining the team, was running a successful Social Media Consultancy in Perth with clients such as the Department of State Development, United Uranium and Rio Tinto.

Our income will be primarily from selling advertising space and offering a premium service in order to generate revenue. Our projection for the next three years is:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Income $12,983 $225,432 $12,982,954
Expenses $82,833 $273,298 $1,983,822
Profit ($69,850) ($47,866) $10,999,132


We are looking for $750,000 in order to complete development of the MVP and start an aggressive social media marketing campaign in order to drive users to our site. Being based in Sydney, we are eligible for and have applied for the MVP grant from the NSW Department of Industry. We are looking for Business Angels who understand the market and are able to bring expertise as well as money.