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!

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