The adrenaline of building something new & challenging — Why I joined Antler

A conversation with Gina Xydias Charmanta, MBA, entrepreneur, and former consultant.



Venture Insider

Welcome to Antler, Gina! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

Throughout my life, I've had two driving forces: growth and change. Even in school, I was not the best student, but I was always growing steadily. This passion for growth and change fascinates me and has led me to make the biggest and more impactful decisions. Being top of my class, I received a scholarship for the completion of my master's in finance, before completing an MBA at ESADE Barcelona. Professionally, the industry that I grew in was pharmaceutical distribution & I have always been at the forefront of international biz dev, innovative projects & expansion strategies that helped me shape a well-rounded view of how international business is done and driven.

Why did you choose to leave corporate and start your journey as an  entrepreneur?

Working in corporate was great for a few years and I loved many aspects of it, especially the rush of going after challenging opportunities, markets and projects that required a lot of out-of-the-box thinking, hands-on approach and strategy. However, soon enough, I reached a point where the level of my growth and freedom was not what I wanted it to be. I realised that the adrenaline of building something new and challenging, the freedom to make choices, the flexibility to map out strategies and the excitement to take risks were very important to me. The entrepreneurial spirit runs in my family, and these realisations made me see myself as one.

Why did you decide to join Antler?

After I established that I want to found a business, I went on the lookout for a co-founder. I love working in teams, I believe that two brains are better than just one, I always excelled when teamwork was involved. Very early in the co-founder journey, I realised that it is super difficult to find like-minded people with the same motivation at the right time. Therefore, I started asking more experienced people, successful founders, VCs, and mentors for their experiences and advice. Every single one of them recommended Antler, as the best early-stage VC that helps you find a co-founder and build up your venture. I am super glad I listened to them.

What makes you say that?

All of the positive expectations that I had regarding Antler became true. I love the hands-on approach of the Antler team, directly helping you tackle the problems you identify, rather than focusing just on theory. It feels that the team is with us on the entire journey from 0 to 1. But even more importantly, I really like the cohort of founders. The people are super smart, and even if they come from completely different backgrounds and expertise, I can relate to them quickly, have interesting conversations with them and explore various different areas of opportunity. It has been 4 weeks since the cohort kicked off, but we already have high cohesion and a strong team spirit of being in this together, even if we are working on different problem spaces solving different problems.

What are you currently working on and where do you want to be by the end of the year?

Right now, I am exploring a few ideas in the space of personalised health, pharmacy & wellness. There are a lot of changes happening globally in this area and I feel there is a lot of room for development and improvement in the current landscape in Europe. Of course, having worked in this industry for many years has given me useful insights and a head start on the journey. Yet, at the same time, I still want to keep validating and exploring additional problem spaces with other founders. Until December I really want to be part of a diverse and strong team, have initial validation of our problem and idea, be wired & excited to solve it and rock the investment committee.

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.