First Antler cohort is officially LIVE

After months of preparation, the first Antler cohort is finally in full force in Singapore. It has been an intensive 120 hours as we introduced our 62 founders to the program, each other, and ran through key topics and exercises that broke down barriers in getting to know each other. These sessions were formatted with the intention of bringing out different personalities and working styles, through a range of high and low pressure settings. There was a variety of light-hearted icebreaker sessions to intensive product building hackathons. Lots of laughter, chatter and hard work ensued. Here, we've put together a little roundup of our first-ever week!

antler

Author

Antler

The investor backing the world's most driven founders, from day zero to greatness. Enabling thousands of founders every year to launch and scale companies that move the world forward.

Day 1: The kick-off

The Antler program welcomed its first cohort at Recognize Studios on July 2nd. Our CEO and founder, Magnus Grimeland, kicked off the day with an inspiring welcome address. He shared about his personal experiences and journey to getting where he is today. He touched on the value of a positive mindset and the type of personality it takes to power through the challenges faced in starting up your own business. The importance of possessing the right amounts of drive and tenacity and not giving up.

"Anyone can build great businesses. It is important to keep going, learning and improving along the way and maintaining that drive to not give up."

Guest of Honour, Edwin Chow, from Enterprise SG further highlighted the day, elaborating on how the Singapore landscape is primed for aspiring, young companies. He shared some valuable insights into the Singapore government's support for new startups and businesses ideas, lightly touching on the different grants and funding available for these purposes.

The rest of the day was spent getting to know the founders as each was tasked to share a 3-minute presentation on what they hope to achieve, what they are fanatical about and what makes them tick. The excitement in the air was palpable as founders made copious notes on what everyone had to say. The formation of dream teams was already in motion!

Capping off the speakers for the day, Tim Rath, co-founder of Lazada sat down for a chat with Magnus, describing his incredible professional journey and emphasising the importance of building good teams with good people. His candid anecdotes resonated strongly with the crowd. The night wrapped up with drinks at Antler's brand new offices on Anson Road.

Day 02: Getting acquainted

We started with a rigorous speed dating session which set the right the tone and energy for the day. The cohort was split into static and mobile groups and each founder got to meet a minimum of 25 people. The continuous swapping of partners made the interaction incredibly vibrant. The founders then jumped into the first of many hackathons, where they created an IOT solution to create a "home away from home". The brief was to think of how to assimilate to different environments and have all the comforts and services available to you anywhere in the world. The inspiration for this was in the cross-section of travel and IOT through a survey which found that these were two most pressing topics when considering room for innovation.

Some pitches were emotional like the one for baby monitors for working families, while some wanted to make digital windows in cabins for oil riggers. The length and breadth of the experience behind the ideas were certainly impressive.

Day 03: Storytelling

Anh Nguyen set the ball rolling for the day. She shared a unique triangulation storytelling framework to help founders prepare pitches and introductions. Her emphasis on storytelling left a mark on the founders and the high adrenaline interaction helped them bond and understand each other better.

"Think through the sequencing of information and emotions that you want to trigger in or deliver to your audience in order to achieve maximum impact for any presentation"

Anh helped each founder present themselves clearly and effectively to a crowd and offered some useful advice. Emphasis was placed on the need to relate to any audience and capture their attention by giving them the idea that you're doing something for them. Each speaker should list down key points that you want the audience to take away at the end of a speech and focus on those key deliverables in the intro, explanation and conclusion.

"If you push yourself, it'll happen over time. Keep learning and improving"

The second part of the day revolves around having a refreshing and honest discussion on VCs with TJ, founder of data protection company, Avepoint. He shared about his career journey in transitioning from academia to startups and had a real heartfelt conversation on his personal struggles. Having witnessed 9/11 first hand while working on Wall Street in New York, TJ realised his desire to do something more with his life. This ignited a passion within him for the startup world and in helping to develop business ideas for the betterment of societies.

Day 04: Build a business

Team point at projection on board showing app-based platform for first Antler Cohort

After a round of getting to know each other better, our founders were tasked to pick their teammates to build a new product concept at our first business hackathon. Teams were tasked to create an app-based platform which could be scaled to a billion users in a month. Ideas ranged from group gift-giving apps to remote platforms for elderly care. The short preparation time was not an issue for the founders who had elaborate wireframes and designed logos ready to wow the panel. The questions and feedback from the judges were a definite value-add to the exercise. The panel leveraged their extensive experience to share insights across industries. The winning company was Roam, a customisable travel guide app which crowdsources travel tips from your network of travellers with similar interest. They impressed the judges with a well-articulated pitch, great brand storytelling and an overall well thought-out concept.

05: Coaches

People sitting in circle having discussion for Antler Cohort

John Fitzpatrick, Head of Startup Program at Google, started things off with a talk on the Startup Program, particularly their offering for Antler. He shared how Google Cloud can be tapped into as a resource by all members and resulting teams from the cohort.

Teams then spent the afternoon invaluable one-on-one sessions with their coaches from the Antler team. A process which will take place and develop further throughout the coming months with the aim of helping the personal growth and development of each founder.

It has been a great and informative first week and we couldn't be happier to have such an amazing group of talents onboard with us this first cohort. We look forward to seeing what comes out of the next few weeks.

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.