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.

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."

The Pawjourr team preparing for Demo Day

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.

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