Unlock your entrepreneurial potential with Antler in Kenya

Antler is the day zero investor backing the world's most driven founders. In Nairobi’s vibrant startup hub, we bring together entrepreneurs from all backgrounds to build companies that move the world forward. We work with individual founders with strong business and technical backgrounds and early-stage startups leveraging tech to tackle deep, relevant, and ambitious problem statements in Africa.

Who is Antler Kenya for?

We’re looking for people committed to turning their ambitious ideas into game-changing businesses. We work with founders regardless of background or geography—from experienced business operators to technologists and entrepreneurs. Whether you've just started building, but haven't yet raised capital; you've got an idea and are thinking about getting started, but haven't quite made the leap; or you don't have an idea but are determined to be an entrepreneur, Antler is the right place for you to bring your idea to life. We accept applications from individuals and teams.

Pre-Launch

Individual Founders and Teams

For solo founders, Antler’s platform helps you find the right co-founder, validate your ideas, pitch for investment, access $350k+ in top-tier tech platform credits, and rapidly grow your startup to a point that normally takes years to achieve.

Pre-Seed

Startups

For existing startups, Antler’s platform offers the opportunity to pitch for an investment in your current round, access to our global network of founders and advisors, and support in raising subsequent rounds.

Pre-Launch

Individual Founders and Teams

For solo founders, Antler’s platform helps you find the right co-founder, validate your ideas, pitch for investment, access $350k+ in top-tier tech platform credits, and rapidly grow your startup to a point that normally takes years to achieve.

Pre-Seed

Startups

For existing startups, Antler’s platform offers the opportunity to pitch for an investment in your current round, access to our global network of founders and advisors, and support in raising subsequent rounds.

What to expect once you join Antler Kenya

While all Antler programs are similar, each location takes a tailored approach to ensure founders have the greatest chance of success. Antler Kenya programs range from seven to 12 weeks for the venture-building track where founders join the community to build a brand new startup from scratch. We also offer acceleration for early-stage startups.

01

Team formation, ideation, and validation

This stage of the program lasts seven weeks and will consist of elements including:

  • Social events and team-building activities to help you identify possible co-founders you like to work with in the community
  • Masterclasses and speaker sessions covering highly relevant topics for your startup journey (e.g., unit economics, fundraising best practices, and growth hacking.)
  • Team sprints to push your ideation and innovation
  • Regular speaker sessions on interesting topics for entrepreneurs
  • Weekly touch points with coaching from the Antler Kenya team
  • VC meetups that will allow you to build relationships and challenge your ideas
  • Peer support and regular feedback from your fellow community members

Sharpening the proposition

During this 4-5 week stage of the program, you will dedicate your full-time efforts to refine your idea and business model, with strong customer focus and interaction. You will also tighten any “gaps” highlighted through the Committee feedback, sharpen up the details of your business plan, and start preparing for the final Antler Investment Committee (IC). This stage of the program will consist of elements including:

  • Weekly coaching sessions with a dedicated coach from the Antler Kenya team and support from our venture partners and local network of industry experts
  • Legal advisory sessions (with lawyers) to refine your idea and business model in light of regulatory requirements and constraints
  • Advice and support in identifying additional team members to fill critical skill gaps in your founding team structure (if required)
  • Weekly pitch training sessions with feedback from the Antler team and fellow founders
  • Targeted pitch deck reviews, Q&A sessions, and pitch trainings ahead of IC
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Pitch to Antler’s Investment Committee

Teams deemed ready will pitch to our Investment Committee (IC) comprising partners from the Antler Kenya team, external local investors, and Antler global partners. The IC votes on which teams receive an investment.

04

Application process

The full application process takes about 2-3 weeks to complete. Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the entire process and will be available to answer all your questions. All of our interviews are done online.

Apply

Apply on antler.co/apply using your LinkedIn account or CV. If you have an existing startup, submit your pitch deck as well.

Initial alignment and drive interview

After reviewing your application, one of our scouting team members will reach out for a 30-minute interview to assess your drive and align expectations on whether our program is the right fit for you and vice versa. Prepare to share your motivation for applying for Antler, why now is the right time for you to do so, and what you will bring to the table.

Pitch interview (for existing startups/ideas only)

If you are applying with an existing idea that you want to bring into the cohort, be prepared to present it to us. Present your pitch deck or show us a demo of your MVP, if you already have one. We will use the remaining time for questions about the idea and the team, but also to answer your burning questions on what a collaboration with—and ultimately an investment from—Antler could look like.

Partner interview

The second interview stage to join Antler Kenya’s community is an interview with one of our partners. Depending on your profile, you will have an in-depth tech or business problem-solving interview. We will share instructions before your interview, and you are expected to come prepared.

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Application process

The full application process takes about 2-3 weeks to complete. Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the entire process and will be available to answer all your questions. All of our interviews are done online.

Apply

Apply on antler.co/apply using your LinkedIn account or CV. If you have an existing startup, submit your pitch deck as well.

Initial alignment and drive interview

After reviewing your application, one of our scouting team members will reach out for a 30-minute interview to assess your drive and align expectations on whether our program is the right fit for you and vice versa. Prepare to share your motivation for applying for Antler, why now is the right time for you to do so, and what you will bring to the table.

Pitch interview (for existing startups/ideas only)

If you are applying with an existing idea that you want to bring into the cohort, be prepared to present it to us. Present your pitch deck or show us a demo of your MVP, if you already have one. We will use the remaining time for questions about the idea and the team, but also to answer your burning questions on what a collaboration with—and ultimately an investment from—Antler could look like.

Partner interview

The second interview stage to join Antler Kenya’s community is an interview with one of our partners. Depending on your profile, you will have an in-depth tech or business problem-solving interview. We will share instructions before your interview, and you are expected to come prepared.

Final round sprint

Candidates who have passed all stages will be invited to a final-round assessment. This last round will take 1.5 hours, and up to five candidates will be in a group. During this session, the Antler team will provide a problem statement on the spot. We will assess your ability to problem solve, communicate, lead, and work with others within the given period.

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Application process

The full application process takes about 2-3 weeks to complete. Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the entire process and will be available to answer all your questions. All of our interviews are done online.

Apply

Apply on antler.co/apply using your LinkedIn account or CV. If you have an existing startup, submit your pitch deck as well.

Initial alignment and drive interview

After reviewing your application, one of our scouting team members will reach out for a 30-minute interview to assess your drive and align expectations on whether our program is the right fit for you and vice versa. Prepare to share your motivation for applying for Antler, why now is the right time for you to do so, and what you will bring to the table.

Pitch interview (for existing startups/ideas only)

If you are applying with an existing idea that you want to bring into the cohort, be prepared to present it to us. Present your pitch deck or show us a demo of your MVP, if you already have one. We will use the remaining time for questions about the idea and the team, but also to answer your burning questions on what a collaboration with—and ultimately an investment from—Antler could look like.

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Antler Kenya portfolio companies have raised investments from other leading VCs in the African ecosystem.

Founder testimonials

Don't just take it from us. Hear from phenomenal people who joined Antler Kenya to launch their company.

David N

HoneyCoin

What I love about Antler is when you have them on your cap table, you're not just getting $$$ but the most amazing community of founders & investors, as well as a war chest of resources to build your company with.

John Kiptum

Churpy

As a second-time founder, I came to Antler to find a like-minded co-founder and discover scalable business ideas that could fit into the African market. I learned a lot from the masterclasses, and the coaching from the Antler team has been from professionals worldwide. The alumni connections and the network Antler have been great.

Sneha Mutha

UNCOVER

The Antler team is truly in it with you. They don’t just provide money but are there for advice, intros, moral support, and most importantly community: the people we meet and interact with are just incredible through the Antler network. It not only makes founding easier but so much fun!

Arthur Mulwa

AiCare

I love that I got to meet my great cofounders at Antler. Even more important the support I have gotten from the Antler team and community they have built has been instrumental in AiCare getting to where it has today.

Jani Landman

nobuk.africa

The Antler team has been fundamental in our journey and has offered much more than the initial seed investment. The wrap around support is tailored to each teams needs, and we have especially enjoyed the consulting approach to our product discovery and the expansive network of advisors that we have access too.

Are you tired of working for others? Do you want to launch your own startup?

We invite individuals and teams with strong business and technical backgrounds and an interest in building their own startup to join Antler Kenya. We both invest directly in existing startup teams and work with entrepreneurs from day zero to get their ventures off the ground. This includes building strong teams by shortlisting and introducing complementary entrepreneurs to each other in our community (co-founder “matchmaking”), supporting the idea validation process, and ultimately investing in exciting ideas. Following our two-to-three-month venture generator program, our fund can inject $80K for 10% equity to teams that pass our IC. We can follow our winning startups until Series C.

Our team

Meet the people dedicated to our founders’ success.

Marie Nielsen
Partner

Marie is a Partner at Antler East Africa. She’s a past startup founder, exiting her paper recycling company in Ethiopia in 2021. Previously, she was an associate principal at McKinsey & Company and holds a master's degree in economic analysis from the Norwegian School of Economics.

Melalite Ayenew
Partner

Melalite is a Partner in Antler East Africa, supporting the Antler founders on tech and strategy. Her prior experience includes Oracle, Bain & Company, and Princeton Consultants. Melalite holds an MBA from INSEAD and a BA/MSC in Computer Science from Smith College and Rutgers University.

Selam A. Kebede
Principal

Selam is a Principal at Antler Nairobi. Selam leads Antler's work as Marketing, Recruitment, and Partnership in East Africa. Before joining Antler, she has worked for various startups, VCs, and ESOs across geographies. Selam holds MSc Degree in Electrical & Communication Engineering from Aalto University, Finland.

Kosen Kenta
Program Manager

Kosen is the Program Manager in Nairobi. He was previously a business consultant at Open Capital Advisors, where he worked with clients across East and West Africa across various sectors. He is also an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, holding a Bachelors of Laws degree from Strathmore University.

Michael Ogongo
Analyst

Michael is an Analyst at Antler in Nairobi. He was previously an Analyst at StepStone Group where he performed due diligence on primary fund commitment, co-investments, and secondary transactions. He holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University.

Antler Kenya
Selam A. Kebede
Principal

Selam is a Principal at Antler Nairobi. Selam leads Antler's work as Marketing, Recruitment, and Partnership in East Africa. Before joining Antler, she has worked for various startups, VCs, and ESOs across geographies. Selam holds MSc Degree in Electrical & Communication Engineering from Aalto University, Finland.

Michael Ogongo
Analyst

Michael is an Analyst at Antler in Nairobi. He was previously an Analyst at StepStone Group where he performed due diligence on primary fund commitment, co-investments, and secondary transactions. He holds a BA in Economics from Cornell University.

Melalite Ayenew
Partner

Melalite is a Partner in Antler East Africa, supporting the Antler founders on tech and strategy. Her prior experience includes Oracle, Bain & Company, and Princeton Consultants. Melalite holds an MBA from INSEAD and a BA/MSC in Computer Science from Smith College and Rutgers University.

Marie Nielsen
Partner

Marie is a Partner at Antler East Africa. She’s a past startup founder, exiting her paper recycling company in Ethiopia in 2021. Previously, she was an associate principal at McKinsey & Company and holds a master's degree in economic analysis from the Norwegian School of Economics.

Kosen Kenta
Program Manager

Kosen is the Program Manager in Nairobi. He was previously a business consultant at Open Capital Advisors, where he worked with clients across East and West Africa across various sectors. He is also an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, holding a Bachelors of Laws degree from Strathmore University.

From our blog

Read our insights, learnings, features, and other stories about Antler Kenya.

View all
Building the next wave of tech startups out of Africa

Africa, with its staggering young population, rapidly growing adoption of mobile technologies, increasing middle class and harbouring of 4/10 world’s fastest growing economies, is ready for a tech revolution and Antler is excited to bring its disruptive model to the continent.

The Unicorn founder roadmap: Insights into Africa's startup founders and the ecosystem

At Antler, we believe exceptional people are the key to building defining companies. But what makes a person exceptional, and how do personal characteristics or experiences increase the chances of building a successful tech company? Last month, we took a systematic look at the most exceptional founders of the 21st century in the DACH region to identify patterns that led up to founding a Unicorn. This month, we are doing the same across the African continent. Our findings reveal who Africa’s Unicorn, Soonicorn, and growth-stage startup founders are, which higher institutions they went to, how many years of work experience they had before launching their ventures, and more. Additionally, we have taken a closer look at the future state of the local ecosystem and put together data-driven predictions to provide more insight and understanding into the African startup ecosystem and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Build your tech startup at Antler Kenya

FAQs

​​Who qualifies for Antler Nairobi?

We encourage you to apply if you are a founder grappling with an ambitious problem statement, with unique insight into how to solve it, and have a strong tech/business background.

What if I only have an idea?

We typically accept founders that are pre-product. Antler helps early-stage founders iterate, improve, and articulate the problem they want to solve, and helps refine the quality of their solutions. Founders also will benefit from prior validation of the problem/solution (user research, stakeholder conversations, and prototype experiments) in the community.

What if I don’t have an idea?

Antler Nairobi can help founders come up with an idea from scratch. However, founders must be interested in going after ideas and problems with a unique/deep insight and take quick steps to validate them. We understand that things change quickly in the early stage with rapid iteration and customer feedback. Some founders may change their idea entirely in the first few months.

What sectors qualify for Antler?

We are sector agnostic. So any industry applies, as long as the business is tech-enabled—i.e., uses technology as a key enabler or as a core part of the business.

Will Antler help me find a co-founder?

Yes, we bring together founders from different backgrounds/skills and provide an environment to interact and form connections based on aligned goals and values. Antler does not assign co-founders, with the matching decision ultimately left to the founders.

What if I have a co-founder in mind who I would like to build with?

You and the co-founder you want to work with at Antler must apply separately. Please let us know if this is the case during your interview.

What if I already have a product?

We also accept founders and teams who have already launched their products. Antler helps these teams accelerate product-market fit and growth, and gain access to further rounds of capital. These profiles typically fall under the acceleration track. Early-stage startups do not necessarily go through the community program as some startups will likely be too advanced and hence will only be evaluated for investment.

What if I already raised with friends and family / angels / VCs?

Finding your first backers is an outstanding achievement. Typically, founders and teams who have raised in previous rounds will go through our acceleration track.

What should I expect in the interviews?

As a founder: You will be interviewing with Antler team members and partners to evaluate your background, your motivation to join Antler, your problem-solving abilities, and your ability to work with others. You do not need a deck for these interviews—these are conversations to get to know you better. As a startup: You will be interviewing Antler team members and partners to discuss your startup, team, and motivations. You will have one initial call and schedule one or two follow-ups based on our initial assessment.

How much funding can I get from Antler? What are the key terms?

For ideas built at Antler: If the Antler Investment Committee (IC) determines that your team and idea are exciting and viable, your team may receive an investment from the Antler East Africa Fund. The Antler East Africa fund will then provide USD 80K through SAFE for a 10% stake.

For existing pre-seed/seed startups: If the Antler IC determines that your team and idea are exciting and viable, Antler can join your ongoing pre-seed / early seed round with $100-200K tickets at a negotiated valuation.

I am not based in Nairobi, will my application still be considered?

The Antler Nairobi community is open to all founders from across Africa as long as these founders are able to relocate to Nairobi for the first phase of the program. We provide a modest stipend to help with the relocation.

How does Antler differ from an incubator or accelerator?

Incubators and accelerators typically start working with preformed teams who have identified a product-market fit. Getting to that stage can be incredibly challenging. You need a team, a network of advisors, and access to capital. Antler removes these barriers related to entrepreneurship for people who are interested in starting a company from day one. We identify and invest in exceptional individuals and early-stage teams with the potential to build global companies. We are a people-led VC located in 25 locations with 600+ portfolio companies representing 40 industries. We don’t just invest, we create an ecosystem for great companies to be built.

Contact Antler Kenya

Get in touch with our team!

Kenya