Taking the leap: Insights and advice from technologists-turned-entrepreneurs

A discussion with three Antler Australia founders - Taking the leap: insights and advice from technologists-turned-entrepreneurs

Adirani Heraputeri

July 26, 2023
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Learn from the experiences of technologists-turned-entrepreneurs who started their own companies with Antler Australia.

In the ever-evolving landscape of technology, many developers and technologists aspire to create successful startups and launch innovative products. However, the path to entrepreneurship can be challenging and often diverges, leaving many developers and technologists bound to their current roles

In this article, we dive into the insights of three technologists-tuned-entrepreneurs who took the leap to become tech founders and start their own companies with Antler — Tim Cheung of Factory AI, Anna Korol of Kiddly App, and Dave Dela Cuz of Skipped — they shared their motivations and advice for technologists considering a similar path. Let's dive into their stories and insights. 

Making an Impact and Embracing the Two-Way Door

Driven by the desire to make an impact and inspired by my parents successful ventures, I've always dreamt of starting my own business. Along the way, I got lost in the journey, pulled in different directions by societal expectations. I thought I needed certain skills or experiences, but the best way to learn was by doing the actual job. A leap sounds big, but in many ways, the decision can turn into a two-way door with a bit of planning. The key factors that led to my decision were the support of my partner, clear communication, ample runway, and a great mentor, and I finally took the leap.

My advice is simple: Just do it! You won't regret it and you'll learn a lot along the way. There's never a "right time" to start, but there can be a wrong time. Give yourself enough runway, be prepared for a period with little or no salary, and play the long game. Building a successful company takes years. Before diving into technology, talk to customers and validate your idea. Focus on solving a problem using technology rather than the other way around. Lastly, don't go it alone; find a team and leverage resources like Antler to support you.

Tim Cheung, CTO of Factory AI

Tim is the Co-Founder and CTO of Factory AI, a startup focused on reducing unplanned downtime for manufacturers.

Previously, Tim worked as a Solutions Architect at AWS, advising CxOs at PE firms and UK-based Digital Native scale-ups and Enterprises in Energy, Utilities, Automotive, Manufacturing and Construction at various stages of their cloud adoption journey.

Autonomy, Creative Freedom, and Solving a Meaningful Problem

Kidly Co-Founders Anna Korol and Aaron Deutsch

My motivation to start my own company stemmed from a strong desire for autonomy, creative freedom, and the opportunity to solve a problem I deeply cared about. As a product manager, I encountered various industry challenges and saw the potential to create a platform that caters to the specific needs of parents and children in a unique and impactful way. The driving forces behind starting my own company were my passion - making a difference - and my belief in the potential of my idea

My advice: Understand your strengths and skills; assess your expertise in the product development process; and identify areas where you may need support. Building a strong team is crucial, so surround yourself with talented individuals who share your vision and complement your skills. Don't wait for perfection or feel the need for excessive technical expertise. Embrace a growth mindset, be open to learning, and take the leap, knowing that continuous learning is essential throughout the startup journey.

Anna Korol, CPO of Kiddly App

Anna is the Co-Founder and CPO of Kiddly App, an all-in-one platform enabling the discovery and booking of childrens' activities, helping parents to support their kids to have fun. 

She is a product management professional with a strong background in web design and advertising, passionate about design, technology, data, and the startup industry, and she has successfully managed teams and created exceptional products.

Combining Experience and Passion for Impact

Entrepreneurship runs in my family, and my journey with startups began early on when I ran an internet cafe in high school. After reading Marc Andreessen's article in WSJ in 2011, I knew I wanted to make a significant impact with software. Through bootstrapping my startups and working in venture-backed companies, I gained experience. After meeting my co-founder Tarsi through Antler, the mission to achieve environmental sustainability while making commerce hyper-efficient resonated with me. The connection and clear purpose drove me to go all in.

My advice: Find a problem you genuinely care about solving - one you can commit your full effort to. The startup journey is long and challenging, and caring deeply about the problem will give you the courage to face the odds. As the first technologist in the team, prioritise a deep understanding of the technology stack. 

Dave Dela Cruz
, Co-Founder and CTO of Skipped

Dave is the Co-Founder and CTO of Skipped, an AI-powered multi-merchant network that enables member merchants to keep selling even when out-of-stock.  

Dave is an experienced technologist and serial entrepreneur with a strong software engineering and infrastructure management background. Previously, he co-founded two startups in the Philippines and recently served as a Senior Software Engineer at Scentre Group.

Antler is the investor backing the world’s most driven founders, from day zero to greatness. We are currently taking applications from individuals looking to find a team, launch a startup, or seeking Pre-Seed investment. If you want to work with Antler apply now!

About the author

Adirani Heraputeri

Melbourne-based Community Manager Rani aims to widen Antler’s reach in the ecosystem. Her role involves attracting exceptional founders to the program and supporting the Antler community’s growth and success. Prior to Antler, Rani’s experience includes launching market and building communities for WeWork in Jakarta, working for Indonesia’s biggest angel investment network, a gender lens VC fund, and serving as Global Program Manager at She Loves Tech.

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