#BalanceforBetter - The importance of diversity

In honour of International Women’s day, we want to highlight the importance of female presence in the working space. Therefore, we sat down for a chat with Saskia Rademaker, our recruitment director in Amsterdam and asked her all about her vision on the importance of diversity.

How important is diversity for Antler?

Being a HR professional I think diversity cannot be overlooked to create a healthy and thriving working environment. Teams with a good diversity ratio, perform better than a team that consists of only women or men. This is also one of the key takeaways from our previous Antler programs.

In addition, our investors expect us to take this seriously. They want to invest in a fund with diverse teams, simply because they will lead to better results. All these factors ensure that diversity is very high on our agenda.

What actions do you take to drive diversity?

If anything, we have to give the right example to our founders. That’s one of the reasons that our internal team has many female leaders and some highly respected female advisors and venture partners such as Ingrid Stange - a social change activist - and Victoria Vallstrom.

Furthermore, in our recruiting process, we aim for a healthy male/female ratio. Of course, we look at each founder individually based on their skills. We measure where we are and if necessary encourage more female entrepreneurs to apply.

Once the founders are in our program, we facilitate the co-founder matching and make sure that teams are well balanced.  

Can you share some sucess stories of female founders?

Yeah, there are plenty! Laura and Anna from our first Singapore cohort for example, are the proud founders of Gardore, a company that promotes the power of style to tackle the gender gap in the professional world.  Isabelle and Marie Louise, who are a part of our first Stockholm program, launched #ShesGotThis , a company that uses technology to help corporates improve gender balance based using an evidence-based approach.

What is your aspiration when it comes to the diversity theme?

When I look at the world today, I see that things are changing quickly. Male dominated boardrooms are no longer widely accepted and female entrepreneurs are moving ahead. Times are changing so I really hope that the conversation around this topic will become obsolete as people will know and have experienced the benefits of a diverse working environment.

Do you have a final shout out for woman thinking about applying?

In Singapore and Stockholm we welcomed 30-35% female founders and ideally we would like a 50/50 division between men and women in the program. In the Netherlands, we currently have around 20% female applicants and we are certainly looking to increase that number. When it comes to woman applying my guess is that they are held back a bit by the fear of the unknown. In general, women tend to be (too) humble and underestimate what they’re capable of. This a real shame and completely unnecessary.  To all the women in doubt about applying I would like to underline the fact that we founded Antler to take away the barriers for entrepreneurship. We support you when necessary and can help you to become a true entrepreneur.

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