How Antler connects industry-leading expertise with talented entrepreneurs

It is no secret that industry leaders face challenges when it comes to fostering innovation and growth. Take a closer peek into how Antler Norway has managed to unlock mutual benefits - by innovating at speed and creating a culture of entrepreneurship with the support of top entrepreneurs from all around the world.

Antler is based in fourteen locations spread out across Europe, Asia, Oceania, Africa, North America, and South America. While all other Antler programs are industry-agnostic, the program in Norway has a unique focus on three core verticals; energy, property and mobility. The Oslo-based program leverages valuable industry insights from some of Norway's most forward-leaning organizations within these verticals such as Hafslund ECO, Fredensborg, Møller Eiendom, Møller Mobility Group, OBOS and TrønderEnergi. 

The Antler entrepreneurs benefit greatly from direct contact with a potential business partner from day one, as these industry partners help to identify viable market opportunities as well as build and develop ideas that solve pressing industry-relevant problems.

The challenges of corporate innovation

Innovation is front and center to business survival and rapid development. However,  innovating at a corporate level can prove to be quite a feat just based on sheer volume when it comes to headcount, reach, and legacy processes in place. Added to that, creating an environment for intrapreneurship and identifying top talent might prove difficult. Many have experienced that the innovation process can be both time-consuming and costly. 

This is where Antler comes in. 

Why startups and corporates should collaborate

It is a widely known fact that startups execute faster than corporates and are agile when it comes to taking action and hitting KPIs. This is part of the startup DNA; as they have always had to work harder and quicker to outcompete established players and existing competition. However, instead of simply viewing one another as competition, both startups and corporates stand to gain much more when they collaborate to innovate. Easier said than done. 

At Antler, we set forth a collaborative culture for our industry partners to gain exclusive access to the fast-paced startup environment by working closely with top entrepreneurs, whose main goal is to solve everyday problems efficiently and affordably. Instead of working on capital intensive projects and building proprietary technology and solutions in-house, corporates can gain a more scalable edge while opening up to a wider pool of top, handpicked talent. 

In facilitating these partnerships with startups, Antler provides corporates with access to new technologies and solutions, broadening their product range, the opportunity to improve internal processes from key learnings and to adopt solutions from startups instead of needing to build them out in-house.

Working with startups can secure better customer experience; startups by nature make different assumptions than corporates and often create more user-friendly and attractive products. As corporates are used to traditional solutions, they are more risk-averse when it comes to implementing changes due to cost restrictions. Startups bring fresh perspectives and viewpoints enabling them to address key challenges creatively, and more attractively in this digital age. 

However, startups and corporates need to co-innovate to really move mountains. With access to a more extensive network and years of relationship-building from a corporate; startups get quicker access to new customers, and hence, the possibility to validate their product-market fit and get a potential partner onboard to co-build a strong solution. 

Startups can also leverage the brand association of a well-known industry player which will not only open new doors but accelerate future growth prospects.

Antler provides a safe, co-building space for corporates

Antler provides a safe space for corporations to collaborate with top entrepreneurs who come together to solve relevant industry problems. In order to select the most promising problem statements to work on, Antler supports its industry partners with identifying industry-wide problems in order to challenge the Founders through an intense 1-3 day Industry Sprint. To ensure sure both parties are on the same page, Antler works closely with its partners prior to the sprints to discuss feasible action plans in line with their agenda. Antler headhunts Founders with experience and competence from the relevant industries thus creating a well-balanced and experienced cohort of professionals. Prior to program kickoff, all founders receive relevant information on what they can expect from these industry challenges and how they can set themselves up for success.

Industry Sprints with top entrepreneurs

After thorough preparation, Antler supports its partners to select between 2-3 industry-relevant problems to present to the Founders, which also includes a deep dive into each problem area, aimed at arming the founders with a comprehensive overview. Following that, the founders will break off into teams based on their diverse skill-sets and domain backgrounds to tackle the problem and generate their best ideas to solve those core pain points. These ideas are then presented back to the industry partners the following day. Oftentimes, these sprints result in the early development of a tangible solution which then gives both the industry partner and the founders the unique opportunity to work on things from ground zero. Antler plays an active role and provides guidance to the partner on how to best engage with the team(s) who are keen to continue on with the winning idea(s).

"I was truly impressed by the founders; their commercial mind-set, the level of engagement, and how quickly they moved from problem statement to proposed solutions."

Hannah Cook, Digital Program Director, Fredensborg

For reference, during the first Antler Oslo Program, almost half of the companies Antler ended up investing in were initiated by problems provided by our industry partners. WattWorker, a company turning large buildings into intelligent energy assets for property owners- was initiated through an Industry Sprint with Antler´s energy partner, Hafslund ECO. The founders on the team were able to pilot their first prototypes monitoring hundreds of apartments as a result of the collaboration with Hafslund ECO. 

Through an Industry Sprint with its property partner, Møller Eiendom, Plaace -  a company providing a data-driven platform to optimize the matching between property owners and retail concepts - was born. Similarly, Speiz - a smart platform providing optimal warehousing solution for all types of businesses, has continued its collaboration with Møller Eiendom benefitting from invaluable insights and guidance. 

“In a rapidly changing, digitally driven world it is important for traditional companies such as ourselves to be involved in environments such as the one Antler provides, and to partner with start-ups to innovate at a faster pace. Challenging these entrepreneurs on solving industry relevant challenges provides us with fresh perspectives on the opportunities within our own industry. We have been very impressed with how quickly WattWorker has executed on their solution contributing to optimizing local energy production/storage, consumption and grid utilization"

Kaia Furnes, Strategic Advisor and Business Developer, Hafslund E-CO

At Antler, we have long-term ambitions to drive positive change. We want to create win-win partnerships with forward-leaning corporates eager to further develop the entrepreneurial ecosystem and support the defining companies of tomorrow.

Get in touch with Kristian Jul Røsjø, Associate Partner at Antler Norway (kristian@antler.co) if you want to gain an edge and take full advantage of your in-house expertise and support the most promising ventures of our generation.

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