On November 13th, Antler held its first Demo Day in Amsterdam. This day is the finale of the 6 month long Antler program. The big moment for an entrepreneur who's been building a company with their heart and soul. The first time your company is unveiled to the world.
Picture this. You’ve been waiting for this day for the past three months. Since the Antler investment committee, you’ve incorporated a company, built an MVP, got your first customers on board and started generated revenue.
Now comes the REAL challenge.
The day where you get the chance to take the stage and unveil your startup to the world for the very first time.
There’s an excitement in the air around the potential of these hot new companies on show. You’re waiting backstage rehearsing your pitch over and over.
It’s almost your turn.
You walk out onto a stage that sits in front of an audience of over 250 people who have the power and financial clout to take the company you’ve been building for half a year - a company you hold incredibly dear to your heart as if it were a child - from a startup into a global game-changer.
The spotlight is on you, the crowd is ready. You take a deep breath…
The chance to reveal everything you have achieved as an entrepreneur since the program began. It’s a stressful time, sure. But it’s also one of excitement, hope and anticipation. There are few points in my life where I can remember feeling such a positive vibe in the air.
I can say with certainty that every Antler founder who was there did not want to be anywhere else. The 10 startups who pitched worked exceptionally hard to have the right to command a theater for 7 minutes.
And believe me, command it they did.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn't ALL serious. There were some particularly bright moments of levity throughout. One moment came from Jozef Misik, CEO of furniture-as-a-service company, Homespring who described himself as the ultimate hustler:
“When you kick me out of the door… I just come back through the window”.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more sales-driven mindset.
In fact, come to think of it, Homespring’s entire video intro was a great insight into the characters of the founders Jozef and Perry Kroes:
Despite moments like these, to me, the brightest part of Demo Day is witnessing the passion that these entrepreneurs have for their ideas.
The grit and tenacity flows out of them in a way that feels inherently real.
“We are uniting communities around causes that people care about. Our platform gives everyone a voice by making it easy for people to post high-quality content in their own tone on social media. In a matter of months, we have reached 14,000 users from 150 countries who generated more than 105 million Twitter impressions.”
There was a quiet over the room over those astonishing numbers.
“I love building companies. Building something where people can develop a culture to then develop themselves. That is what I am passionate about. What we are building, is data intensive and requires an extreme amount of scientific precision.”
Demo Day is a testament to the quality of entrepreneurs Antler selects and the guidance the program provides to those entrepreneurs when it comes to finding a co-founder and building a global and scalable company.
Perhaps the team behind medtech startup RespiQ said it best:
“Antler brought us together. I don’t believe that we would have ever met and formed a team if it wasn’t for this environment.”
Hard to argue with them when you understand the different backgrounds they hail from.
CEO, Mira Gleisberg, the Dutch healthcare expert with degrees in medical biology who has also been a top gymnast her whole life, and CTO Vitalii Vorkov, the Russian data scientist with degrees in Aerospace engineering.
Probably not the two who usually run in similar circles, but now they've created an incredible company together.
Demo Day is over for now. We are already busy preparing for the next cohort of future world-changers who will have their chance to find a co-founder, build a company and pitch under that spotlight.
I can’t wait to see what they have in store.
Antler Amsterdam are currently accepting applications for their next program beginning January 6th 2020. If you would like to apply or refer a friend please do so here.
View all of the startups that pitched at Antler Amsterdam Demo Day here.
This article was written by Hayden Young marketing & program manager for Antler Amsterdam.