How I met my co-founder and launched a plant-based meal delivery company

The following is a transcript of an interview between the co-founders of Faba and Antler. It has been slightly edited for clarity and length.




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.

An image of Faba co-founders Alex & Sean standing outside in front of a blossoming tree
Faba co-founders Alex & Sean.

Faba is a homegrown brand, that turns our favourite comfort food into nutrition-loaded flavour-bombs, by using 100% plant-based recipes. Alex & Sean met at Antler, where they built Faba from scratch, just like their tantalising meals which are delivered islandwide.  

The following is a transcript of an interview between the co-founders of Faba and Antler. It has been slightly edited for clarity and length.

How did you join Antler?  

Alex: I had previously interned at a VC fund and had attended the very first demo in Singapore. I also had a close friend go through SG8

Sean: A friend of mine was in SG6 and I spent some time chatting with her through her experience and thought it would be a fun thing to do one day.

What inspired you to start Faba?

Sean: We were chatting towards the start of our time at Antler, and we both reflected on how we had tried plant-based dieting in the last year. We shared the same experience of struggling to find a way to adapt to a vegan diet without cutting corners, or feeling like we didn’t have dietary blind spots.

A close up image of one of the plant-based menu options at Faba

What is the problem you’re solving that no other plant-based foods have managed?

Sean: 1) Flavour. 2) Daily uptake.

The alternative-meat crowd has done a great job introducing consumers to sustainable foods but studies have shown that plant-based meats contain too much sodium and are they also highly processed.

What we endeavour to offer at Faba are healthy balanced meals that are sustainable for the environment and tasty at the same time, which is key to adopting plant-based alternatives, such as Faba meals, into one’s daily diet.

What is your biggest learning ever since starting Faba?

Alex: I would say the biggest learning for me has been to project manage my time effectively. As a founder, it’s very easy to find a million and one things to do, so understanding what is the most impactful thing you can do in a day is very important. You can spend a lot of time working on busy work but one meeting can completely open up your business. Identifying what is key is very important.

Sean: Prioritising the fundamentals. There’s so much to do at an early-stage startup and though Alex and I both have to juggle wearing multiple hats, as time goes on you realise some aspects of the business require more attention than others, so how you prioritise your time is important.

How did joining Antler help you to build your company?

Alex: Coaches who can see through your BS has been very helpful. Having someone on the outside who can keep you on the straight and narrow is very useful.

Sean: As a first-time founder, the coaching at Antler has been a great asset for us as we come to terms with running the gauntlet of being a fast-growing, modern-day startup

Do you think a plant-based diet is for everybody?

Alex: Right now I would say that a plant based diet isn’t for everyone. Should everyone move towards a plant based diet or consume more plant based foods? Absolutely yes but right now there aren’t enough convenient options for everyone. Making a switch to a plant-based diet is a habitual change which for many people is very hard when you are a busy person. We believe that more choices and awareness of plant-based alternatives over time will help change this.

Sean: People really care about what they put in their bodies and we aren’t here to tell people, with our fingers wagging, what decisions they should be making. What we want to do is to help people who are interested in eating in a more sustainable way, to find a tasty, fun way to do it.

An image showing a selection of 3 plant-based menu offerings at Faba

Why have you chosen to sell Faba foods as frozen instead of freshly cooked on-demand?

Sean: I’ve doom scrolled on Grab at 9pm, waiting for hours, watching all of the places I want to eat are closed, or a driver can’t be found to deliver my meal. I’ve paid $8+ delivery fees and suffered small basket sizes. Often, the hungrier I am, the worse the decisions I make. Alex and I know, as people from the food industry, that frozen can often be fresher than the food you order from a store, and that the quality of taste can also be really high, and you can’t beat the convenience of having a meal, in the freezer at home, ready when you want it. It’s an underutilized space.

What do you think is your unfair advantage as a founder?

Alex: Sean and I have both spent most of our professional careers working in and around the food industry so when we wanted to get from 0–1 we had the knowledge and connections to get us there very quickly. We had a fully packaged and produced product within our first three months. Having the knowledge of what to do and when, really helped us when speaking with suppliers and manufacturers.

Sean: I echo what Alex has said about our shared know-how in the food industry. I would also add, that with that experience, we were able to do a lot to propel this business forward from day 1. Be it getting in the kitchen ourselves, designing nutrition information, or working with manufacturers to make the food to the standards we require to make meals that excite people. We also hustle like hell.

What makes Antler a good VC match for your company?

Sean: Antler backs founders and interesting ideas. I like to think we tick these boxes.

Alex: Agreed with Sean on that, being founder first was very helpful for us on speed of execution. Antler believes in us and gives us the support to just let us go.

What are some key traits you look for in a co-founder?

Alex: Empathy towards others and high degree of trust

Sean: Ability to disagree, honest, and well-humoured.

How did you know Alex / Sean is the right co-founder for you?

Alex: I am a coffee addict and Sean is a coffee connoisseur so I know I can always get the good stuff from him.

Sean: We enjoy working together, and it’s easy even when we make the hard decisions.

What do you appreciate the most about each other?

Alex: Sean is a creative at heart and always has an idea up his sleeve.

Sean: Alex has put a lot of himself into the product, and has created something we are super proud of.

What are some of your highs and lows as an entrepreneur?

Alex: High point - Creating a real physical product in hand that you are proud of. Low point: Realising that the product can always be better.

Sean: High point - Taking a product we were making at home, giving it to a central kitchen, receiving a super prototype, and realizing how achievable all of this was. Low point: I’ll tell you when we have a proper low point, as we are still working on product and haven’t had any light-of-day results to analyze with.

What pitch advice would you give to other founders?

Alex: At an early stage there are fundamentally two things that investors will invest in: a large and growing market, and the team. A revenue projection and business model are fundamentally speculative and secondary to the market and the team.

Sean: Agree with Alex, and I’ll add that validation, big or small, shows a teams intent, as well as the market’s potential.

What advice would you give to first-time founders?

Alex: Be prepared to hustle and do things that you are uncomfortable/highly unqualified to be doing. But don’t worry that’s a feature, not a bug and actually very rewarding.

Sean: Be humble. Know what you know, and know what you don’t know. A sure way to look like an idiot is to say something speculative to an investor who knows the industry inside and out.

Closeup image of a person holding a plant-based menu offering from Faba

About Faba: Faba wants to create a world where plant-based food is an exciting, sought after meal choice, every day.

We believe that the desire to eat a plant based diet is not matched with enough convenient solutions. So while there’s a growing amount of people who want to eat plant based, many of us fall through the cracks, not knowing where to begin.

That’s why we have worked with chefs to design plant based meals, that are tasty, healthy, affordable, convenient, and green.

Are you a founder or looking to become a founder? Do you need access to talented individuals to form a co-founding team, and a VC to invest in your early-stage startup? Antler enables exceptional people to create exceptional companies. We are currently taking applications globally. If you want to build your company with Antler apply now!

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.