How Antler is doing things differently to ensure founders are successful from day one

From the program to the team, and how it addresses the barriers to entrepreneurship, Antler gives founders an unfair advantage over startups not in the Antler program.



Matt Browne

Starting a company is one of the riskiest things a person can do, especially if they are already successful in their chosen profession and have dependants and liabilities to stay on top of.

The majority of founders starting a company go in with rose-coloured glasses, a bunch of blind spots, without the resources they need to be successful and with unbridled optimism that they will build the next big thing.

The crazy thing is, if a founder was truly aware of all of that, they probably would never take the jump in the first place.

As a founder (and now angel investor) who took this jump and fought through a number of the early hurdles, I have often pondered the best way to prepare a founder for this journey and to make it just a little smoother.

A number of others have attempted to solve this problem and have launched generators, incubators, accelerators and training programs as a result. While some are more predatory than founder-friendly, most have very good intentions, and some of these have been incredibly successful.

One I have been impressed with, so much so that I have personally invested and actively supported as a Venture Partner, is Antler, a global startup generator and early-stage VC company. Antler does things a little differently from the rest and I think these three things have helped it to stand out.

A structured program that requires founders to work at speed but has enough flexibility that they can also be creative

Antler is not like any accelerator or incubator program I have witnessed and that's because it isn't an accelerator or incubator, it's a generator. As a generator, Antler picks the best and brightest and puts them together in a well architected program designed to help founders build the next wave of tech.

The Antler program is intense and sets just enough constructs to ensure that founders don't flounder through the process. Starting with an offsite to give founders time to get to know each other and the team, working through ideation, design sprints, expert firesides, a collaborative working space, co-founder rotation and eventually tracking out and building a company with  their chosen co-founders.

The program has produced some truly world class startups, some of which have already found investors ready to get involved.

A team of partners, mentors and investors who go above and beyond to ensure the founders are successful

I often reflect on the first couple of years building my first startup. It was a lonely journey and as someone who didn't have a large network or a lot of accessible reference points, a number of mistakes were made that could have easily been avoided.

Antler has done an incredible job of building a coalition of enthusiastic and motivated team members, partners, mentors and investors who genuinely have the  founders best interests at heart. The team spend a very large chunk of their  time, working directly with the founders to help shine light on the blind spots and to share their advice in the hope the founders avoid many of those early stage pit falls.

An understanding of what it takes for a founder to build something great

Building a startup is hard enough without having to worry about where the next meal is coming from. Every founder who makes it into Antler receives a "living wage" so that they can focus on building their business. On top of  this, they receive a permanent desk from where they can work and access to meeting rooms, coffee and team meals. Also, startups who are funded by Antler receive enough runway to get their business off the ground and pitch at demo day, the culminating event of the program.

From the program to the team, even how it addresses the barriers to entrepreneurship, Antler gives founders an unfair advantage over startups not  in the Antler program.

It's a brand that is growing globally by the day and truly has a mission to provide exceptional individuals who are ready to launch their own business the access and toolkit to do so.

This article was written by Matt Browne, Venture Partner at Antler in Sydney. This article was first published on LinkedIn. Read the original here.

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.