The Antler Sydney Demo Day was a celebration of many things - one was women

Of the 12 companies Antler showcased at its inaugural Demo Day in Sydney, five were represented by female CEOs.



Adele Moynihan

Adele is responsible for leading Scouting and Angel fundraising. Scouting is a pivotal function for Antler to secure exceptional founders to build businesses with the Fund. Turning to fundraising, Antler holds a powerful angel community that deploys post Antler's initial investment. Prior to Antler, she was an early hire of now unicorn SafetyCulture and with corporate VC the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) Digital Ventures.

Adele is responsible for leading Scouting and Angel fundraising at Antler Australia.

On November 7, startup generator and VC fund Antler unveiled to the world the 12 companies created within its Sydney program.

These businesses covered health tech, Insurtech, deep tech and more. The event attracted 1,000 people to Sydney's iconic Town Hall, and an additional audience of 1,100 via live stream. It was a showcase of what talented and inspired people can achieve when driven by an ambition to create a global tech company. These teams deserve acknowledgement and should have a huge sense of pride in what they have created in just 12 weeks.

However, there's one component that I must highlight - of the 12 companies which presented on stage five were represented by a woman in a CEO role.

Why must I accentuate this?

Women hold less than 5% of CEO positions across the UK, Europe and US. Here in Australia, just 6% of ASX-listed companies are represented by a female CEO.

The women leading companies as a result of the Antler program are:

Cortina McCurry, Co-founder and CEO of Caia Health

Skye Theodorou, Co-founder and CEO UpCover

Shivani Gopal, Co-founder and CEO UpStreet

Lara Solomon, Co-founder and CEO Story Antics

Erin Corcoran, Co-founder and CEO Nuzzl

The Antler Sydney program started in June this year with 70 people, 25% were women. At the end of Phase 1, when Antler makes pre-seed investments, 50% of the companies had a female co-founder.

To see the evolution of these numbers surpass 40% when looking at the presenters at Demo Day, demonstrates that women in tech leadership roles thrive, and we need to do more to show examples of how others can follow a similar path to success. As one of Sydney cohort founders Siobhan said "you don't need to do anything special to help women. Just open the door". This is what the Antler program does.

Why is this important?

To make the major societal shift to achieve gender balance many things need to happen. A key driver will be having women-led companies, as within these companies the voices and needs of women will be understood from the top.

Looking at the Demo Day event as a whole, of the five who presented from Antler two were women. I was honoured to have been one, with the other being Partner and Head of Capital, Andrea Hajdu-Howe. Now, in typical female fashion, I did not raise my hand for the opportunity, I needed to be asked, but when I was, I jumped at the chance.

Let's keep giving the women around us opportunities to step up.

This chance let me practice in front of my two young girls, Tabby and Jemima, and for them to see me up on stage. I can more easily get up on that stage in front of a thousand people than shield them entirely from the gender profiling that is still pushed upon them by society. I hope to see me and other women in leading roles and on stage at high-profile events sends a stronger message to them about what they can achieve in life.

As this is an article to celebrate women I must highlight a few more.

There is a core Antler team of 11. Alongside me on the female front, there is our Director of Technology Harini, Program Manager Luddy and Director of Communications Sarah. This Demo Day was the vision and flawless execution of Sarah.

To let you know how recruiting efforts are going for our next Antler program starting in January, we are currently sitting at 30% of offers made being to a woman. It's an increase on last time but imagine if this was even higher!

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
Founder Stories
5 min read
Sharon Li & Vanessa Chen: Empowering employees to be their healthiest and most productive selves

“People sometimes think the emotional and professional are conflicting, but what we believe is when people love their organization, the emotional value will actually make them productive. It will make them give their full self to the organization and make the organization grow for the long term.” —Sharon Li, co-founder and CEO of CHOYS

Founder Stories
5 min read
Piet Hein van Dam: The seasoned data entrepreneur aiming to eradicate type 2 diabetes

Our content series "It All Starts with People" delves into the passions, motivations, and vision of the exceptional founders we have the privilege of partnering with around the world. Bringing a clarity of vision to our latest spotlight is Piet Hein van Dam, co-founder of Clear, the award-winning digital self-help tool for diabetes patients.

5 min read
Unpacking the $80+ billion ONDC opportunity: India’s next startup catalyst

India's approach to unbundle payments made the world look up and take notice. Now it's time to disrupt commerce with the Open Network for Digital Commerce or ONDC. In our latest Theory of Next deep dive we mapped, researched, and reached out to every network participant live on ONDC right now.

And we're excited to share with you a comprehensive what could be India's next unicorn catalyst with inputs from Vibhor Jain (COO of ONDC), Sujith Nair (Founding member of Beckn Protocol), and founders building on ONDC!

Co-authored by Nitin Sharma (Partner, Antler) and Gokul Kumaravelu.

5 min read
Five steps investors can take to support more diverse founders

Despite growing calls to create a more inclusive venture capital ecosystem and remove the barriers to entrepreneurship, only a fraction of funding is raised by founders from underrepresented communities.

The first step towards change is quantifying the challenge. While in-depth research has been conducted about women founders and founders from ethnic minority backgrounds, data has never existed about tech founders from the LGBTQ+ community—until now.

5 min read
A record year for Europe's leading day zero investor

A look back at 2022, a record year for the leading day zero investor in Europe—showcasing investment activity and key predictions for the early-stage tech ecosystem in 2023.

Founder Stories
5 min read
Antler and Microsoft for Startups partner to back women founders

Antler is proud to join forces with Microsoft for Startups to support rising entrepreneurs—starting with 23 non-dilutive grants to women founders in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and North America—and reduce the barriers to startup success. Meet some of these founders.

Founder Stories
5 min read
Tanika McLeod: The educator empowering the next generation with an on-demand social learning platform

Our content series—"It All Starts with People"—delves into the passions, motivations, and vision of the exceptional founders we have the privilege of partnering with around the world. In our latest spotlight, we spoke with Tanika McLeod, one of the three co-founders behind MinuteSkill, a Toronto-based social micro-learning platform that uses bite-sized content and knowledge-sharing communities to empower the next generation.

5 min read
Venture capital as an engine of positive transformation

Antler's second annual ESG and Impact Report shares learnings on how VCs can focus on creating sustainable value from the outset, and celebrates our portfolio companies' work in this space.