Get ready to build, Berlin: 10 areas Antler sees as a prime opportunity for early-stage startups

This article is part of a new Antler Berlin content series called 'Call for Founders'. In this series, we will outline several exciting spaces in the local startup and VC ecosystem that we see as opportunities ripe for venture creation. These opportunities may emerge from an industry need, a trend, or indeed a prediction that we have had.

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Antler

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.

• Are you thinking of starting your own company?

• Have you ever thought about getting a high-calibre co-founding team together?

• Do you want access to deep domain knowledge, a Global network, and capital?

Antler Berlin is looking for talented founders who want to build their future ventures and are committed to working with you to make your next venture successful.

Antler is a Global early-stage venture capital firm. We're making a huge impact Globally, having invested in more than 100 companies in 2020 alone, as well as supporting the fastest-growing network of early-stage founders in the world. Now, we want to spread that impact to Berlin.

We're inviting exceptional founders to join our company-building cohorts, which we run twice a year. In these cohorts, we support you in finding a co-founder(s), build a complementary team, as well as provide support to work through early-stage pinch points such as business model validation. Once part of the Antler portfolio, we back your company as a long-term investor and supporter, leveraging our Global network and platform to help you scale.

If you are an ambitious entrepreneur wishing to build the next big thing, you can find out more about our upcoming Berlin cohort and apply here.

In the meantime, we want to share some of the insights and trends Antler Berlin is currently seeing, as we invest in early-stage companies in the region.

While we see these as areas where we expect continued significant innovation, and great businesses emerging — many of the most exciting investments we have made around the world were in areas that we did not see coming. There are so many opportunities outside those listed in the series — our goal is to find exceptional entrepreneurs to support them in transforming their ideas into reality!

Marketplaces

Over the past 20 years, industries have been redefined by marketplace giants like eBay, Amazon, Uber, and Udemy that have upended the way we shop, travel, eat, work, and learn. These platforms have changed how markets work.

We are excited to see new startups solving for new opportunities across peer-to-peer, B2B, or B2C marketplace.

Around the globe, Antler has backed key players who have found their niche and are disrupting in this space: Reebelo, Sampignan, Tradebay, and Vamstar. We'd love to see more!

Stay tuned for our next edition, where we will kick-off the Call for Founders series focusing on Marketplaces.

FinTech

We are seeing several different new events, regulations, developments, and partnerships across FinTech and banking. Exciting examples include new developments in open banking, crypto revolution (trends such as DeFi, NFTs etc.), expansion of Banking-as-a-Service platforms, and cybersecurity.

With payment firms and challenger banks also driving the largest investments in Europe, we see a shift within the FinTech space, accelerating the adoption of wider FinTech services especially within payments orchestration and lending/investing APIs.

Antler has invested in a number of disruptive ventures in the space, such as Marco Capital , Volopay, Xanpool, Qashier, Homebase, and Brick — and we are looking for more!

Markets facing Regulatory Disruption  

An extension to FinTech is the explosion of RegTech in recent years. RegTech entails startups providing tech-enabled solutions that facilitate the delivery of regulatory requirements. Fraud detection, transaction monitoring, compliance management, data privacy, and employee monitoring are some of the top business models that excite us.

Future of Work

The Global pandemic has spearheaded a myriad of changes across Global organizations. We have seen an accelerated shift toward automation, robots, and AI, and the pace of their impact on work. As a result, this has also propelled remote work and increased flexibility of the location of work. This has presented challenges but also several opportunities.

At Antler, we are interested in founders that will be part of helping the transition, tackling elements of team collaboration, communication, or cybersecurity.

Some of the companies driving innovation that we are invested in are Teemyco, Cove, Unlock, and Legal Connection. We believe that there are still many ways to build more innovative platforms, and we're interested in seeing founders solve for these!

Healthcare

As pressure builds on Global health ecosystems to meet the demands of the pandemic and face the growing demands of an ageing population, HealthTech will prove vital for generations to come.

By creating innovative products that can improve health data, assist remote care, support mental health, overall wellbeing, or digitise workflows, the HealthTech sector is a huge area of opportunity for innovation. We see exciting changes spanning from computational drug discovery, AI-led diagnostics, disruptive mental health and wellbeing models, cost-efficient innovative medical devices, and gene therapy solutions.

Antler is proud to have backed strong players within this vertical ranging from Deja to Blueheart and Breathonix to name just a few. We remain very bullish and are keen to see more innovation come to life.

SaaS

The move from on-premises software to Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS, is one of the most significant technological developments. SaaS companies are extremely capital efficient and also tap into modern consumer attitudes allowing for agile transformations across industries.

Antler has backed key players ranging from Averto, Intalayer to MotivOS. We actively seek more innovation, especially within APIs and integrations, no-code tools, white labeling, and mobile-focused solutions. Additionally, e-Commerce sees growing importance in customer retention and personalization at scale. Therefore, we see huge opportunities with the integration of machine learning-based SaaS solutions in this space, with a focus on sales and marketing to facilitate customer engagement.

Ageing Society

We've seen several recent advancements in technology across early diagnostics, data tracking, wellness products, and genomics to name a few.

Large amounts of capital are also being deployed across research in diseases such as cancer. However, only a fraction of this is funneled towards battling aging, creating a gap in the allocation of resources.

With the overall sector predicted to hit a market cap of $27T by 2026, we've seen a larger inflow of investments into this space, allowing for further innovation and opportunities for startups solving problems in the longevity space.

AI/ML

Artificial Intelligence has been instrumental in transforming many industries — from retail to transportation, healthcare to education.

The field of artificial intelligence and machine learning has experienced numerous ground-breaking advancements during recent decades. This has empowered AI machine learning techniques and the ability to exhibit promising outcomes across several areas. As a result, technology is just starting to be mature enough to be useful. We personally think we are at a tipping point here.

Some of the sub-dimensions we've invested in so far range from HRTech to SaaS, Healthcare, and Future of work with the likes of Buddywise, UpdateAI, and B|ver..

We are interested in founders solving problems across many domains (e.g. healthcare, robotics), so we welcome those and many others to join us (e.g. legal advice, cybersecurity fraud detection).

Supply Chain

Supply chains are complex and multi-faceted, with many companies continuing to work towards further optimizing their supply chains Nearshoring and onshoring as a result of the Global Covid-19 pandemic continue to further drive the need for innovation.

Prominent building blocks in transforming supply chains include the continued innovation spree in last-mile delivery, on-demand warehousing, tagging, sensors, and geolocation technologies, and big data and AI.

With supply chain companies moving to the cloud, increased innovation in IOT to improve transparency, and a rise in interest in circular supply chains to unlock additional value, we are looking to find founders and fund companies with novel ideas.

One of Antler's recent investments, CoLogic operates within construction logistics, enabling improved tracking, communication, safety, and transparency and we look forward to witnessing more disruption within this space.

Industrial Tech / Process Automation  

Business models have evolved over time due to changes within the market or macroeconomic trends. This has resulted in the emergence of new and exciting themes. The convergence of operations and information technology is evolving rapidly as manufacturers realize it is essential for seamless digital transformation. The promise to automate repetitive and non-complex processes, and streamline processes is of interest to all industries allowing for a lot of room for growth within integration with IOT, 5G technology, AI, ML, AR/VR, and other emerging technologies.

Some of our investments within this space include SiteHive and Chloropy within AgriTech and Construction verticals.

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