Antler welcomes its eleventh cohort in Australia

Antler's eleventh Australian residency marks a new era of innovation and talent, welcoming over 70 exceptional founders from diverse backgrounds. Featuring increased selectivity and experienced participants, this cohort is set to redefine startup success over the coming years. Discover the unique blend of expertise, global insights, and entrepreneurial spirit fuelling this transformative journey.


Joel Cacciotti

Joel is responsible for discovering exceptional founders to join Antler. As a successfully exited founder himself, Joel is a serial entrepreneur with his most notable startup, Hey Tom, which was acquired by Hometime. He has also advised various startups across a variety of industries. Previous to running his own businesses, he specialised in Sales and Sales Management for fast growing startups.

Joel is the Scouting Manager for Antler Australia, he is responsible for discovering exceptional founders to build their companies with us.

Antler's eleventh Residency in Australia has kicked off with 70+ founders running across two locations: Sydney and Melbourne. 

There are two key differences from previous Residencies: selectivity and experience. 

Selectivity - We received 1379 applications for AUS11, meaning only ~5% of those that applied were here on day 1. This is a significant increase from our previous residency - which received 830 applications. 

Experience - AUS11 participants have an average work experience of 16.4 year, a median of 17, most 30, and least 3. This is up from previous years, with average years of experience being ~12. 

Whilst funding conditions remain difficult and these founders face a difficult journey ahead we're confident that 2024 will be a great year to launch a company.

A snapshot of the Residency

  • 7 previously exited Founders
  • Average 16.4 years of overall professional experience 
  • 51%/49% Commercial to technical/domain skillset split
  • 25% women
  • Founders representing 20 countries
  • International representation with ~60% of the cohort coming from non-Australian birthplaces
Melbourne founders
Sydney founders

What the founders are saying

Sheena Burce:

This next chapter is all about building my own innovative venture, fuelled by the invaluable lessons from corporate sales, the hustle of Sapphire Digital, and the incredible insights gleaned from mentoring and angel investing.

The Antler network is a game-changer. Expert guidance, a global community of founders, and access to top investors – it's the perfect launchpad to turn my idea into reality. 

Here's to conquering fears, embracing the unknown, and chasing that big, fat startup dream.

Mykhaylo Shaforostov:

I am extremely excited to announce that I have decided to take my career to the next level by joining Antler and build the next startup! After 10 successful years leading Go To Market teams [worldwide] I decided to take on an even bigger challenge to build something from the ground up.

Mona Chiha:

I'm on an exciting mission to make legal research easily accessible for everyone, using the coolest tech and data science tricks up our sleeves. Think of it as giving the legal world a much-needed tech hug. We're all set to shake things up in how legal battles are fought and won... As we embark on this journey, I'm reminded of the inspiring words from Star Trek, "To boldly go where no one has gone before." Let's navigate this new frontier together, with the spirit of exploration and innovation guiding us. Here's to a year of making history!

What the founders have done so far

Week one kicked off on Jan 29th with a mix of founder networking opportunities, masterclasses, and launching into ideating with design sprints.


The masterclasses were led by the General Partners of Antler in Australia, James Mcclure and Mike Abbott. These included an introduction to Antler - and the opportunity presented by building with Australia's only truly global VC - and Antler’s 'View on Ideas' to share insights on where great ideas come from and how founders can leverage their unique skillets.  

One notable part of Antler’s founder proposition is you do not need to have formed an idea of what you want to build, so this session is valuable for those seeking inspiration. It lays the foundations of where ideas can form, a framework to test if they are VC backable, and how founders can validate their problem statements.

A session on 'Why Antler Invests in Great Co-founding Teams' follows, which covers the investors view and data to support that teams (mostly of 2 but sometimes of 3) outperform solo founders and tips on how to find your co-founder in an Antler residency. 

And the final masterclass of week one, 'How Antler Makes Investment Decisions,' covers what to expect in an Antler Investment Committee and the must-haves in a pitch.

Antler GP, Mike Abbott, welcoming the cohort to Antler Australia


Networking is crucial in the initial week at Antler, especially for those seeking a co-founder. To facilitate effective networking, Antler employs several innovative tools. One of these tools is Fingerprint4Success, which boasts the largest data collection on what drives founders. This tool helps in understanding the motivations and driving forces behind each individual.

Additionally, Antler uses 'The 50 Questions'; a thought-provoking set of queries focused on introspection regarding values and life goals. This is designed to spark deep and meaningful conversations, bringing personal beliefs and situations to light. Such discussions are instrumental in preventing potential conflicts or disagreements among founders, which might arise 6 to 18 months into the journey.

Moreover, the week includes a blend of speed networking sessions, both virtual and face-to-face, along with social events like lunches and drinks. These gatherings serve dual purposes – allowing participants to connect professionally and offering a more casual environment for interaction, fostering stronger and more personal connections among participants.

Founders networking in the Sydney office

Design Sprints

One of the best chances founders get to meet and work together is during the design sprints. We run both founder-led and Antler-led design sprints. 

This is an opportunity for founders to get their thinking caps on, start figuring out which other founders in the residency are great to work alongside and make the initial moves to find a significant problem statement. 

Some of the roles we encourage founders to assume during the design sprints

Scouting Manager, Joel Cacciotti, presenting on Design Sprints

What’s next?

Over the next 10 weeks, participants will engage in dynamic team-building activities - either by creating new teams or augmenting existing ones. This phase is crucial as it lays the foundation for collaborative success. 

Alongside team formation, they will immerse themselves in a series of advanced masterclasses. These sessions are meticulously designed to cover key entrepreneurial topics, including Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies, achieving product-market fit, and effective approaches to secure venture capital funding.

Simultaneously, participants will rigorously test and refine their business ideas. This process is about idea generation and validating these concepts to ensure they are market-ready and have the potential for scalability and growth.

The culmination of these 10 weeks is a significant milestone: pitching to our Investment Committee. This is where teams present their refined ideas and business models. This pitching process is not merely a formality but a critical step in their entrepreneurial journey, providing an opportunity to showcase the culmination of their hard work, learning, and collaboration.

We eagerly anticipate sharing updates on their journey and achievements as they progress through this transformative phase of the Antler program. Keep an eye out for the exciting developments and breakthroughs these talented individuals are bound to achieve.

If you would like to build a business with Antler, the world’s day zero investor, the next residency kicks off on May 6th 2024. Apply to join here.

For more information on building with Antler click here.

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