Winnie Khoo’s 4 Essentials For Founder Success

After interviewing hundreds of founders and working with dozens of teams to build and grow their startups from scratch, Antler Partner Winnie Khoo shares some insights on her experiences and doles out some advice to aspiring founders.




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.

What are the qualities that make a founder successfully get into the Antler  program and get an investment?

 "First and foremost, they have to be passionate about solving a real problem.  If they're able to get into specifics about their domain expertise, they'll  also have a clear advantage if they build a business in that space. At the  same time, they should be creative, curious, quirky and have a superpower they  can clearly articulate. Too much to ask for? No, I have had the privilege of  working with many such individuals. "

Can you share names of one or two of the most impressive founders who have  worked with? What stood out about them?

"Nikita Okulov & Stephan Brüggemann  of Workclass-  They are super hackish and  creative with growth. They’re data-driven and have the ability to automate,  structure and scale their creative methods - it’s the best combination.  They’re super committed about their business - talk 24/7 about it to everyone  they see.

Jane Peh, Tay Sijun & Naveenath Sreekandan of Pawjourr - They are so  passionate about the business they are in and care deeply about their  customers and the community they are building. Their ability to transform  passion to a commercially profitable business is inspiring."

Fluffy white god is held on table by individual while four others sitting down with laptops look at dog and smile

With the recession and this year being the way it has been, what advice can  you give founders?

 "Focus on building a business that lasts rather than a sexy tech startup. Go  through your P/L with a fine tooth comb and optimise for profitability. Know  what is the worst case scenario for your business and have a “rescue” plan on  standby. Look around the ecosystem and ask yourself how you can contribute in  this difficult time with your resources. Can you create jobs? Can you refer  networks to another founder? If every business consciously thinks this way and  acts on it, recovery will be faster and it will inevitably be beneficial to  your business one way or another."

What kind of companies do you consider investible?

"At our stage, it's really about the founders, business models and products  that can pivot and change all the time to adapt to trends. The macro factors  are important. Is the space big enough? Is the problem they are solving  painful enough? Is the proposed solution different enough from the rest of the  players?"

At Antler, we strive to create a strong community of experts that founders can  rely on for advice and mentoring as they begin to build their startup. If  you're an aspiring founder, apply here to start your entrepreneurial journey  with us.

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.