What I learnt From Startup Onramp [5 Key Takeaways]

Key takeaways from Startup Onramp by Lachlan Kirkwood.

Startup Onramp Brisbane course summary by Lachlan Kirkwood.

It’s a common expression that life’s a long roller coaster. Most founders, however, will tell you that every day is a roller coaster ride, filled with both extreme highs and lows.

12 weeks ago was one of those highs. After placing second in my first Startup Weekend, my team, Cloval, was given a wildcard invitation to participate in the Startup Onramp Brisbane cohort.

Just two days after developing our startup, we stepped onto the next roller coaster – starting Onramp with the intention of scaling our new venture.

Startup Weekend Brisbane 2nd place team, Cloval.
Cloval is a marketplace connecting socially conscious users with purpose-driven clothing brands. Think, the Amazon of conscious clothing.

When we’d left Startup Weekend, our team had successfully completed a top-line validation of our product, developed a long-term business strategy, and generated revenue through our early-access subscription.

Being a part of the Onramp cohort would allow us to start scaling our concept. With access to a myriad of seasoned mentors, my team and I were prepared to get the most out of the program.

Startup Onramp Brisbane cohort meeting at WeWork.
Throughout the initial weeks, we covered some insightful topics like; scaling distributed teams, sourcing funding, and IP protection.

But during this time, something else became quite clear. My team wasn’t just trying to develop a startup, we were also trying to develop our internal relationships.

Having only met days before the program, it was essential to understand each others backgrounds, strengths, and values.

Unlike most solo founders in our cohort, we were challenged with finding a way to streamline tasks between a team who had completely different schedules.

I’d never worked with a co-founder in the past, let alone a team of 5.

By effectively managing our workloads, we were able to soon use our resources to our advantage.

Trello project management board for Brisbane-based startup, Cloval.

Once we’d created an effective process for managing tasks, we didn’t waste time getting to work.

Our main priority was to not only ship our platform, but also develop an active community to service.

Sustainable clothing startup, Cloval, website UI.

Over the 12 week period, we’d created a community of over 400 users and partnered with 19 socially conscious clothing brands across the globe.

This might not be considered sizable growth in comparison to other startups, but we’ve now created the foundations and workflows to rapidly scale.

So what were the key lessons I’d learnt throughout Onramp?

Each week, an industry mentor would visit the cohort to share their knowledge and experiences on a select topic. I found these sessions the most valuable.

My 5 key takeaways included:

  • Build SaaS solutions, they’re scalable – Holly Cardew
  • Adding features to a product won’t always create new solutions. It can often lead you to compete with those who offer similar features – Jase Clamp
  • Don’t raise funding, build a product – David Ryan
  • Copyright protects code, but a patent protects the underlying method – Andrew Clarke
  • When raising capital, it’s important to remember that VC’s aren’t giving you money, you’re selling them something in return for their money. It’s a sale – Steve Baxter

As the 12-week experience concludes, I’m excited to continue our journey as we learn more about scaling Cloval each day.

The entire Startup Onramp program has been such a valuable experience. I’ve not only learnt so much about building our startup, but also a great ordeal about working alongside my team.


I can’t thank both Colin Kinner, Nick Shewring, the Startup Onramp facilitators enough for the unforgettable experience.

You can catch our pitch from the Onramp demo day in the video below.



About me: 

I’m a twenty-three year old Digital Marketing & Conversions Specialist based in Brisbane, Australia. With a passion for all things digital and tech, I aim to connect and learn from as many like-minded digital enthusiasts as possible. If you have a passion for emerging technologies and digital practices, I’d love to connect and hear your story.


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