A startup focused on...other startups
A startup focused on...other startups

Chris Hexton, 24, worked for PwC full-time while attending the University of Technology in Sydney. He did an exchange program in Milan, where he says he met many people outside of his normal sphere of influence and realized there was so much more to the world than a full-time job at a large corporation.

He quit his gig at PwC just nine months after he returned. He and his business partner quickly discovered that their original startup idea wasn't viable, so they moved into IT consulting and eventually launched Startmate in January 2012. Startmate is a group of startup executives that offer mentoring and financing specifically for founders of Internet and software businesses based in Australia. They offer a three-month program that gives participants a total investment of $25,000, mentoring from 20 successful entrepreneurs, legal counsel, and a two-week trip to Silicon Valley where they present to early-stage investors. In the first year, they invested in five companies, one of which was acquired. This year, they founded eight companies, many of which are just announcing large angel rounds. Startmate works like Y Combinator, taking 7% equity for $25,000.

By Dan Schawbel @FortuneMagazine - Last updated June 26 2012: 3:31 PM ET
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The following startup founders decided to take the scenic route -- as opposed to the eight-lane highway -- toward business success. Here's what they were thinking.

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