Founder Series: Glaize - The Cure to the Manicure




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.

Their partnership may have come as a surprise to a few people in the cohort, and maybe even to themselves: Gina was initially interested in the sustainable fashion and beauty space while Chris's background was in biotechnology. Together, they joined forces to build Glaize - a D2C nail care brand that is on a mission to change how women get their nails done and what nail care products are made up of.

After spending five years in Investment Banking in Dubai and London, Gina decided she wanted to do something for herself and start her own venture. Chris previously worked in biotech in various startups, but he also dreamt about building his own company. Their paths have crossed at Antler. Now, Gina is the CEO, and Chris is the CPO at Glaize. Here is their co-founding journey.

What type of co-founder were you looking for?

Gina: In the early days, I thought that the right co-founder for me would be a CTO to go along with my commercial background. I knew I wanted to build a company that I could relate to as a consumer but I also wanted to build something with purpose, so I was initially exploring ideas in both the sustainable fashion and beauty space. I decided to let go of my sustainable fashion ideas when I realised that the other founders that I was networking with were not getting as excited as I was. I wanted to take full advantage of Antler and finding a great co-founder was my priority.

Chris: I did not have an ideal co-founder profile in mind. I had always been on the commercial side of science. I just knew I needed someone very detailed oriented to counterbalance my big picture approach. As we were networking, I quickly realised we were only three from biotech and so I was encouraging people to come to me with their ideas. Everyone knew a lot and I was enjoying having conversations!

How did you both meet?

Chris: Gina thought I looked like the CEO of Cambridge Analytics and told everyone in the cohort. That fun fact (which I don't believe!) certainly made Gina memorable to the cohort!

Gina: Chris and I clicked from the very early days of Antler but I don't think either of us was considering one another as potential co-founders. As you can imagine, Chris wasn't really envisaging building a beauty tech start-up and I was too fixated on the idea of finding a technical co-founder.

How did that friendship evolve in a co-founding relationship?

Gina: It's that friendship that enabled me to informally approach Chris with the idea for Glaize. I knew I had to pick his material science and biotech brain to figure out if my dream nail care product as a consumer was feasible and I viewed him as my Antler confidant. As I started explaining version 1 of Glaize (which we've evolved together since), I saw how excited he got and that's when it became real. This brainstorm was followed with a session with one of Antler's Venture Partners who loved the idea when we pitched it to him and that's how Glaize was born.

Chris: When the lockdown was announced, I packed in a rush and was on the last train to Scotland. I was very distracted and realised that so far I had just made friends at Antler, but Gina's concept for Glaize stayed with me. When Gina spoke to me about her idea, it clicked. After settling back into the remote-working life we were back to work on Glaize.

Why nail care?

Gina: I did quite a bit of soul searching after leaving the corporate world and at Antler. After various brainstorming sessions, I knew that I had to solve a problem that I was encountering as a consumer and that it needed to have a sustainability angle. Nail care happened to be at the top of my list. I hated the process and I realised that the industry was sleepy and lacked innovation. I still have this memory of my mum with her box of 100 nail polish bottles when I was a kid. Not much has changed since and it felt like space which needed a shake-up.

Chris: I realised everything made sense when Gina started explaining it to me. Nail polish is quite an opaque industry in terms of the components contained in the bottles and I got really drawn to the opportunity of breaking the process down and improving the ingredients. I've always been interested in industries which are a bit old fashioned and ready for improved processes.

Gina: Chris also thought that women really enjoyed the process of getting their nails done. He quickly realised speaking around that most women actually don't. That was another aha moment for us.

What advice would you give to future Antler founders?

Gina: Keep an open mind. If there is something that excites you, don't be afraid of the unknown. Dare to leave the safety net and take the plunge. Do your own thing. It doesn't matter if you fail because you learn so much anyways.

Chris: Be as flexible as possible and don't fight over job titles. Don't leave the corporate world and try to reproduce the stable and controlled environment. Embrace the unknown and the flow that entrepreneurship represents.

More about Glaize

Glaize is a direct to consumer nail care brand that is on a mission to change how women get their nails done and what nail care products are made up of. They want to shake up the industry by simplifying the process for women and by breaking the industry's reliance on petrochemicals. Glaize's first product is made-to-measure gels: in a nutshell, they convert images of customers' hands into a 3D model using computer vision and use that model to customise their gel sheets before delivering to their doorstep within 48 to 72 hours. Glaize's gels can be applied in a few minutes and the removal process consists of peeling them off in seconds. The team is working on a version that will last for 10-14 days. The launch will be with solid colours before expanding into nail art and ancillary nail care products. Glaize is also working on developing a plant-based version of the product with their university partners.

Join the waitlist and get your own made-to-measure gels!

Watch their pitch from the second Antler UK Demo Day in October 2020:

If you are thinking about founding your own company and starting your entrepreneurial journey, apply now to Antler.

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
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.