A look at one of the most critical days in the Antler program

On November 13th, Antler held its first Demo Day in Amsterdam. This day is the finale of the 6 month long Antler program. The big moment for an entrepreneur who's been building a company with their heart and soul. The first time your company is unveiled to the world.

hayden-young

Author

Hayden Young

Picture this. You've been waiting for this day for the past three months. Since the Antler investment committee, you've incorporated a company, built an MVP, got your first customers on board and started generated revenue.

Now comes the REAL challenge.

Demo Day.

The day where you get the chance to take the stage and unveil your startup to the world for the very first time.

There's an excitement in the air around the potential of these hot new companies on show. You're waiting backstage rehearsing your pitch over and over.

It's almost your turn.

You walk out onto a stage that sits in front of an audience of over 250 people who have the power and financial clout to take the company you've been building for half a year - a company you hold incredibly dear to your heart as if it were a child - from a startup into a global game-changer.

The spotlight is on you, the crowd is ready. You take a deep breath ...

...and begin.

This day is the pinnacle of The Antler program.

The chance to reveal everything you have achieved as an entrepreneur since the program began. It's a stressful time, sure. But it's also one of excitement, hope and anticipation. There are few points in my life where I can remember feeling such a positive vibe in the air.

I can say with certainty that every Antler founder who was there did not want to be anywhere else. The 10 startups who pitched worked exceptionally hard to have the right to command a theater for 7 minutes.

And believe me, command it they did.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't ALL serious. There were some particularly bright moments of levity throughout. One moment came from Jozef Misik, CEO of furniture-as-a-service company, Homespring who described himself as the ultimate hustler:

"When you kick me out of the door ... I just come back through the window".

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more sales-driven mindset.

In fact, come to think of it, Homespring's entire video intro was a great insight into the characters of the founders Jozef and Perry Kroes:

Despite moments like these, to me, the brightest part of Demo Day is witnessing the passion that these entrepreneurs have for their ideas.

The grit and tenacity flows out of them in a way that feels inherently real.  

When Tudor Mihailescu, CEO of word-of-mouth marketing platform, SpeechifAI discussed the power of their platform:

"We are uniting communities around causes that people care about. Our platform gives everyone a voice by making it easy for people to post high-quality content in their own tone on social media. In a matter of months, we have reached 14,000 users from 150 countries who generated more than 105 million Twitter impressions."

There was a quiet over the room over those astonishing numbers.

During the intro of precision nutrition company Clear, Piet Hein van Dam, the founder and CEO, said:

"I love building companies. Building something where people can develop a culture to then develop themselves. That is what I am passionate about. What we are building, is data intensive and requires an extreme amount of scientific precision."

One thing I know for certain

Demo Day is a testament to the quality of entrepreneurs Antler selects and the guidance the program provides to those entrepreneurs when it comes to finding a co-founder and building a global and scalable company.

Perhaps the team behind medtech startup RespiQ said it best:

"Antler brought us together. I don't believe that we would have ever met and formed a team if it wasn't for this environment."

— VITALII VORKOV, CTO OF RESPIQ

Hard to argue with them when you understand the different backgrounds they hail from.

CEO, Mira Gleisberg, the Dutch healthcare expert with degrees in medical biology who has also been a top gymnast her whole life, and CTO Vitalii Vorkov, the Russian data scientist with degrees in Aerospace engineering.

Probably not the two who usually run in similar circles, but now they've created an incredible company together.

What's next?

Demo Day is over for now. We are already busy preparing for the next cohort of future world-changers who will have their chance to find a co-founder, build a company and pitch under that spotlight.

I can't wait to see what they have in store.

___

Antler Amsterdam are currently accepting applications for their next program beginning January 6th 2020. If you would like to apply or refer a friend please do so here.

View all of the startups that pitched at Antler Amsterdam Demo Day here.  

This article was written by Hayden Young marketing & program manager for Antler Amsterdam.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest news and views from Antler’s global community

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Must-read articles from Antler

Browse our collection of founder stories, industry insights and latest startup successes from Antler Australia

See articles
Insights
5 min read
The 2022 Benelux Unicorn Founder Roadmap: How to build unicorns in Benelux

As everyone anticipates the next wave of ultra-successful companies in Benelux, what does it take to get there? What do the successful founders of Benelux unicorns look like? This report is an in-depth look at the Benelux startup ecosystem and its brightest stars. And above all, it is for anyone who is helping build the next 50 unicorns in Benelux.

Insights
5 min read
The Angle: Why the long-term view is the hard but right one

The Angle is a new content series from Antler, featuring perspectives from our team members on the biggest events and trends impacting founders and early-stage investors today. Every article is that person's unique angle on a hot topic—what they see from their vantage point in one of our 25 offices around the globe—not Antler's stance. In our first edition, Jeff Becker draws lessons from the demise of FTX and turbulent tech moments in recent years. This article first appeared in Jeff's Monday Morning Meeting on Substack.

Founder Stories
5 min read
Jamie Bubb: The tech marketing venture developer connecting brands and content creators

Our new content series—"It All Starts with People"—delves into the passions, motivations, and vision of the exceptional founders we have the privilege of partnering wtih around the world. In our second spotlight, we sat down with Jamie Bubb, co-founder of Twirl, a remote content studio powered by top-quality creators that helps brands scale their content engines rapidly and cost-effectively.

Insights
5 min read
Venture investing in the downturn

We are living two simultaneous realities: the uncertainty of the current downturn and the unstoppable wave of innovation disrupting every industry. Against this backdrop, Antler's Kevin Brennan shares perspectives on assessing your position in venture capital for the rest of 2022 and into 2023. Might 2023 be the best vintage for the coming decade?

Founder Stories
5 min read
Emilia Theye: The psychologist using AI to democratize access to mental health solutions

Antler was founded on the belief that people innovating is the key to building a better future. To honor them, we are launching a new content series—”It All Starts with People”—spotlighting the exceptional founders we have the privilege of partnering with around the world. Each story is a window into their passions, motivations, and vision—the reasons they are building and the positive dent they are aiming to make on the world.

In our first spotlight, we sat down with Emilia Theye, the co-founder of clare&me—a mental health app that uses language-based AI to develop an innovative approach to virtual self-help.

News
5 min read
Backing founders from day zero to greatness

Today we are sharing our new brand that reflects that commitment and the reason Antler exists: to stand behind our founders from day zero and to keep backing them on their paths to greatness.

Founder Stories
5 min read
Seven ways founders can prioritize mental well-being as they build

Founders are the life force of the startup ecosystem. They give their all, betting on their seemingly “crazy” convictions and executing on abstract ideas that can potentially make our lives and work easier, faster, healthier, and better optimized.

But sometimes they do this to the detriment of their health. Being a founder means being beholden to customers, employees, and investors while balancing personal life. Often founders trade their stable, well-paying jobs to prioritize the restless inquisitivity of their mind. In the quest to answer the question “what if?”, they sometimes sacrifice their mental and physical health, only realizing the effects on their state of mind once they have impacted their ability to function as a leader. We have also seen how the mental pressure on founders can cause distress to those who depend on them for their livelihood and direction.

Insights
5 min read
A fresh take on early-stage VC: Harvard Business School publishes a case study on Antler

Harvard Business School (HBS) recently published a case study about Antler’s fresh approach to early-stage venture capital. Antler Co-Founder Fridtjof Berge shares thoughts on how the case sparks discussion about the best ways to identify and support great people anywhere on earth.