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.

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