Mehdi Karamnejad, a tech savvy with an artistic soul, on his startup journey with Antler in Canada

Antler was founded on the belief that people innovating is the key to building a better future. For our latest founder spotlight, we sat down with Mehdi Karamneja, a tech-savvy with a unique perspective on the intersection of technology and interactive arts. He is passionate about creating interdisciplinary tech solutions that people use every day. Today Mehdi shares his experiences, and how they shaped him and led him to Antler.


Klára Vítková

In addition to her bachelor's degree from King’s College London, Klára has pursued her master's degree at WHU in Germany and the University of Toronto in Canada. During her studies, she gained experience in PE from King’s Investment Fund, the only student-led investment fund with real investments. Apart from that she is a skilled journalist with a focus on stock markets, VC, and startups. Klára is also a member of the board at Family Business Network where she supports more than 6,400 young business family members from 65 countries from around the world.

Klára is a skilled journalist with a passion for entrepreneurship and startups. She gained her experience at Forbes magazine and other economic publications in the Czech Republic and the UK where she focused on fiscal policy, economics, as well as startups and VC investments. She has a bachelor's degree in economics and finance from King's College London and is pursuing her MBA at WHU, Germany, and the University of Toronto.

Could you share a bit about yourself and your journey into technology?

At the age of 15, my fascination with computers began to take shape. Friends introduced me to Photoshop, sparking a desire to delve into the digital realm. Despite the era's slow dial-up connections, my curiosity was undeterred—even getting hacked on Yahoo Messenger only fuelled my interest further. In a youthful and rather naïve pursuit, I phoned ISPs, and asked them how to create a virus to get back at the person who hacked me! Some laughed at me, some hung up until one guy told me: You need to learn computer programming. Even though I never acted on the mischievous act, I was introduced to the world of coding!

I embraced the challenge, despite the initial struggle. My passion for computer software solidified in high school, leading me to specialize in the field through Iran's vocational education system. Following that, I completed an associate degree and then a bachelor's in software engineering in Iran, delving into classical AI, machine learning, and multiple classifier systems.

My passion for computer software solidified in high school, leading me to specialize in the field through Iran's vocational education system.

My undergraduate thesis intersected with neuroscience; we harnessed EEG data to develop machine learning models that could interpret brain signals, foreshadowing advancements like those pursued by projects such as Neuralink.

How did your career progress after your education?

After moving to Vancouver for my Master's in Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU, I found myself at the intersection of art and technology. Here, I contributed to a VR project aimed at assisting chronic pain patients through mindful meditation, changing virtual environments in response to their bodily signals. So, I did AI before it was cool, and I did VR before it was cool.

So, I did AI before it was cool, and I did VR before it was cool.

Post academia, I joined Curatio, developing a network akin to LinkedIn for healthcare professionals. Later, at Fatigue Science, I worked on wearable technology. Meanwhile, I never ceased to explore side projects, from satellite-based fire detection systems to an Airbnb model for billboards, showcasing my entrepreneurial spirit. My tenure at Salesforce added a new depth to my understanding of scalable cloud-based software solutions. It was there I truly grasped the transformative potential of systematic customer relationship management in the digital space.

What motivated you to establish your own company?

My drive to start my own venture stems from a desire to harness interdisciplinary collaboration. Industries like prop-tech and logistics are ripe for innovation through a software engineering lens. By partnering with experts from various fields, I aim to challenge the status quo and forge new paths. Personally, entrepreneurship offers me control over my destiny, which I find deeply fulfilling because I want to have control over my fate, and entrepreneurship gives me exactly that.

I want to have control over my fate, and entrepreneurship gives me exactly that.

And after my time at Salesforce, I found myself at a crossroads. It was the catalyst that drove me to capitalize on my diverse experiences in leadership, software engineering, wearable tech, and scalable tech solutions. And I just thought why not, and I applied to Antler.

Why did you choose to join Antler?

Antler appealed to me for its unique focus on investing in individuals rather than established ideas. It's crucial to find a compatible co-founder committed to the entrepreneurial path. The program’s environment, rich with advisors and venture partners, provides a network and the potential for disruption, which I find invigorating for a founder at the start of their journey.

Any surprises or challenges you’ve encountered with the program?

The program has pleasantly surprised me with the caliber of both my peers and the guest speakers—leaders in their fields offering invaluable insights. My greatest challenge lies in transforming ideas into viable projects that inspire commitment from others. As a technically-minded individual, enhancing my salesmanship is crucial, and Antler offers a platform for that growth.

Do you have advice for those joining the next cohort?

My advice would be to invert the typical selection process: rather than seeking the ideal co-founder, do the exact opposite, find out whom you don't want to work with, and shortlist the other potential founders. Foster communication with the remaining few, tackling the hard questions together. When you're left with a small pool of potential co-founders, let data guide your decision, but ultimately, trust your instincts. You're choosing a partner for potentially the next decade of your life.

Find out whom you don't want to work with, and shortlist the other potential founders.

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 UK’s early-stage growth opportunity: How leading VCs see the future

What are the trends and who are the people defining the future of UK tech? Antler in the UK and Google hosted The UK’s Early-Stage Growth Opportunity, a dynamic event exploring the trends and growth opportunities in UK and European early-stage investing over the next 10 years.

5 min read
From around the world to MENAP: Antler's first Riyadh residency

The startup ecosystem in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) is bursting with potential. With a young, tech-savvy, and increasingly urban population of 600 million and governments evaluating ways to diversify and modernize their economies, vast opportunities await founders building in the region. Antler is thrilled to support the next generation of standout founders from across the region—and the world—through the launch of our inaugural residency in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Learn more about the 92 exceptional founders who joined our first cohort.

5 min read
How to stand out to investors heading into 2024

In a fundraising environment that has been challenging for startups of all stages, how can you set yourself apart from the pack when approaching investors? Antler partner Tyler Norwood, Antler venture partner Robbie Crabtree, and post-investment platform co-founder Mike Preuss discuss the best ways to become a top-decile startup with investors.

5 min read
Unleashing sustainability for founders

The businesses that go the distance are the ones that embed sustainable practices in their operations from day zero. But many founders lack the knowledge and resources to do that. That's why we created our online education platform, the Antler Sustainability Toolkit—exclusively for founders.

5 min read
The new generation of Nordic founders

The Nordics have produced some of the most successful tech unicorns in Europe—and the world—with Spotify and Klarna securing some of the highest valuations ever achieved by European tech founders. As the tech flywheel spins faster and faster in the region, Antler is excited to publish the largest study of tech founders in the Nordics ever conducted.

Founder Stories
5 min read
Manuel Schönfeld: The management consultant determined to save companies millions

Meet Manuel Schönfeld, founder and CEO of PowerX, who's helping businesses save energy and money while combatting "the largest threat to our planet since the meteor wiped out dinosaurs.”

5 min read
Build your transformational AI company with Antler

As AI technologies evolve at a breathtaking speed, founders have an unprecedented opportunity to leverage those tools to solve complex, meaningful, and pervasive problems. Antler is looking for the next wave of visionary founders committed to using AI to disrupt industries and improve how we live, work, and thrive as individuals, organizations, and economies.

5 min read
Under the hood: How Antler sources and assesses great founders

Our Window into Progress digital event series continues with "Under the Hood"—a deep dive into the rigor and scale that makes Antler unique as we source and assess tens of thousands of founders across six continents.