Why I Joined Antler Berlin’s Cohort as a Former Founder
A conversation with Aleks Orlic, former co-founder of Penta
Let's start from the beginning. Tell us a little bit about your career journey and background.
I come from an electrical engineering background with a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, so, naturally, I began my career as a software programmer. At the beginning of my journey, I already identified areas of my work that really fascinated me — I liked directing and analyzing software architecture, as well as leading, scaling, and managing people and teams. These two entangled concepts became the focus of my work, so much so, that it led me to build a consultancy to help companies nail both topics.
Originally from Serbia, I spent 10 years in South America with my consultancy business and ultimately decided to come back to Europe, specifically Berlin. There, I was offered many software architect and/or project manager roles, none of which were really grabbing my interest, which ultimately proved for the better.
A few friends of mine and myself decided to co-found Penta*, an online bank for businesses and one of Germany's most successful FinTech companies, and I loved building it from the ground up: establishing the team, developing the back end, creating the product, etc. In my 2 years there I built up a team of over 20 and achieved over 5,000 dedicated customers! That's when I knew it was time for me to move on.
What are some of your passions, both professionally and personally?
Professionally, I love building teams and finding myself in both the managerial and technical parts of the business. I'm also passionate about software architecture, the journey from the initial idea in the early phase to scaling up a business and brainstorming with a visionary focus. Creating and building solutions to problems in a dynamic environment, whilst applying this to customers and making them happy is where I thrive!
Personally, I'm passionate about nature, traveling, and being active outdoors. I spent 2 months in Malta during this past winter and spent time biking and hiking.
As a former founder, what made you decide to join Antler?
After Penta, I had a couple of ideas, a couple of advisor roles, as well as other roles that were offered to me. The early-stage and developing concepts are something that I'm truly passionate about, and I want to find an idea and develop it while being surrounded by smart and interesting people.
So I researched how best to do this and Antler stood out to me. I wanted to join a group of intelligent people to engage within such an early stage and to leave the end result open in regard to ideas, startup direction, and team foundation.
The values, energy, nurturing elements, and final product that Antler promises to help us build deeply resonated with me. Through conversations with previous entrepreneurs and team members Alan (Antler Partner) and Vegard (Co-Founder of Antler), I felt I could not only benefit from the team's collective expertise, but also from the very hands-on tailored approach of the program.
My co-founder and I are also looking forward to joining Antler to find another co-founder by gaining access to a diverse group of people, develop the idea (more on that below), gain a Global network, and attract attention. And hey, if the idea isn't desirable or doesn't stick, we'll pivot and find something different! I'm sure Antler will help guide us in the right direction.
Can you share a bit more on the idea that you've started working on?
I'm currently working on an idea called randevu. Right now, the idea is a service and tool to enable non-technical people to build marketplaces, like Airbnb, Uber, Amazon, and the like. We look forward to building it out!
* Editors Notes –
Penta was founded in 2016, and since then has acquired over 25,000 customers. Following Penta's successful closing of two financing rounds with new investors last year, the new year begins with a top-up of Series B+ totaling 30 million Euros. The total investment now amounts to 47.2 million Euro. This new financing round is backed by existing investors and underlines the strong confidence in the positive business development of the Penta business banking platform.
Among existing investors finleap, HV Capital, RTP Global, Presight Capital, S7V and VR Ventures, ABN AMRO Ventures is taking the Series B+ lead.
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