Why a day zero investor is your best bet, according to a first-time entrepreneur

Andre Dean Smith, co-founder of ScreenApp, shares his experience of building a startup with Antler, and the traction he has gained post-Antler’s investment in December 2022.


Nina Leong

Nina is an Associate in Scouting based in the Melbourne office. She has a passion for data and analytics and uses it to strategically identify the most exceptional founders and onboard them into the Antler program. Prior to Antler, she worked in PwC's Deals Advisory business and lead operations for the expansion of Deliveroo across Australia.

What started as an idea born in the Antler cohort, ScreenApp has quickly turned into a flourishing SaaS platform. It's aim: to revolutionise video capture and organisation using AI to help businesses capture and generate insights from their video content.

Andre Dean Smith, co-founder of ScreenApp, sat down with Antler Associate Partner Adele Moynihan for our 'Why is a day zero investor your best bet? AMA', the first of our five-part inaugural AMA series.

During the discussion, Andre shared insights into his experience at Antler, leveraging the Antler network, and the traction he has made since launching his product.

Initial weeks of the Antler program

Reflecting on the initial weeks of the Antler program, which involved meeting his peers in the cohort, speed networking, design sprints and finding his co-founder, Buddhika Jayawardhana, Andre shared that a crucial part those initial weeks is learning how to think like a founder.

“The most valuable bit was understanding design sprints and really understanding the teamwork and what goes into a really good design, and then actually applying that in such a quick turnaround for us or for me, was particularly valuable,” he said.

Design sprints are run during the first week of the program. They are group exercises are designed to equip founders with the right framework for idea generation and problem solving. In doing so, the hope it that when it comes to building a business they can test and validate ideas quickly, and importantly, start with the foundations of a VC backable business.

Leveraging the Antler network

When founders join Antler, they join a cohort of other exceptional founders that have been vetted and also ready to build!

“It was a cohort of about 50 people. All these 50 people are domain experts in something. They have a massive network and frankly, are probably going to be lifetime friends of mine," said

Andre cleverly used this group to his advantage to gain early-stage validation of his idea, saying that “getting a really clear understanding of what if that business idea is valid or not is very, very important as foundational stages.” 

And it hasn't stopped there.

Andre continues to leverage Antler’s network now as a portfolio company.

“After Antler's investment, there's a huge network of angels and investors that you can get introduced to and for us that was particularly useful.”

Traction since Antler

Since gaining investment from Antler in December 2022, ScreenApp has scaled to just over $50,000 ARR and acquired 18,000 monthly active users, a figure which is growing 15-20% month on month.

“It's been really exciting solving real problems and providing value to real people," says Andre. "The revenue is certainly an amazing thing to be able to chase so early on in this process."

Watch the full AMA to learn more about Andre's journey with Antler. And if you're an individual looking for a co-founder(s) and seeking to build a startup, applications to join Antler Australia are open!

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
5 min read
Introducing Canada's Next Big Thing: A blueprint for future entrepreneurs

Exciting news for entrepreneurs ready to leave their mark: We've launched a pivotal initiative that spotlights the diverse opportunities within Canada's thriving industries.

Our report curates pivotal problem statements from Canada's leading tech visionaries, founders, and VCs, offering aspiring entrepreneurs a pathway to impactful innovation.

Discover 20+ big opportunities pinpointed by top Canadian minds, spread across six fast-growing industries. Each challenge is an invitation to create and innovate—leading the way to the future.

We hope it will serve as a roadmap for aspiring founders ready to build tomorrow's solutions today.

5 min read
Invest in women: fast-track progress

Making progress a certainty—our north star goal at Antler—can’t happen if driven and visionary people aren’t firing at all cylinders with the support they need to tackle the pressing problems of our time. We’re marking International Women’s Day by asking women founders and team members in Antler’s global community why women are essential to progress.

5 min read
How to secure venture capital as an underrepresented founder

There is growing recognition that diverse founders and diverse teams generate more innovative solutions, ultimately building stronger businesses in the long run. Read Antler in the UK portfolio director Sarah Finegan's recent article in Startups Magazine, offering 10 tips on securing venture capital as an underrepresented founder.

5 min read
From day zero to greatness: Magnus Grimeland on the Capital Allocators podcast

How can the world tackle the increasingly complex problems of our time? With a new global infrastructure backing the most driven founders. Listen to Antler founder and CEO Magnus Grimeland discuss this—and why we're building Antler—on the Capital Allocators podcast.

5 min read
Antler expands into Queensland, Australia

Antler is charting a new course for innovation by expanding our presence in Australia. We are launching in Queensland and partnering with the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC).

Supported by the Queensland Government's Queensland Venture Capital Development Fund (QVCDF), the partnership is poised to transform the state's innovation sector. With a focus on bridging the early-stage funding gap, Antler and QIC are committed to attracting and nurturing the nation's top talent, driving forward Queensland's position on the global innovation stage.

5 min read
Bridging startups and industry leaders to drive purposeful innovation

As Jeff Bezos once said: “What’s dangerous is to not evolve.” While most business leaders understand that stagnation is fatal, for a host of reasons established companies often struggle to innovate—purposefully and powerfully.

Antler’s Business Development and Collaborations Group helps global corporates drive innovation excellence through high value-generating collaborations with Antler’s 1,000+ (and growing) global startup portfolio. In our collaboration with Investa, a leading Australian real estate investment manager and developer, we are connecting them to our global community of founders and the cutting-edge solutions they are building.

Read more about the powerful outcomes that happen when ambitious startups and industry leaders come together.

5 min read
The next wave of innovation: 27 industry trends set to define 2024

What will innovation look like as we move deeper into 2024? What are the biggest industry trends that will define the coming year?

We asked our global network of Antler Operators—founders, sector leaders, CxOs, and VPs from companies including Roblox, Airtable, Shopify, Spotify, Affirm, DoorDash, Uber, Hubspot, and more, who offer 1:1 advice to Antler portfolio companies, giving them extra firepower to help fast-track their growth.

5 min read
Antler leads $5.1M pre-seed funding for 37 startups across Southeast Asia

This marks the highest number of pre-seed deals completed in a single round in the region.