Antler Global
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Antler Global

Where are these companies now?

Two portfolio companies from the first Antler cohort in Sydney alongside local Managing Partner, Bede Moore, talk about why they built with Antler and, a year on, where are they now.

Yesterday, the Antler Uncovered event gave behind-the-scenes access to Managing Partner, Bede Moore and co-founders from our first cohort portfolio companies, Upstreet and Upcover. We delved into the initiation of both Antler Sydney and Christian and Skye’s entrepreneurial journeys.

Below is a summarised transcript on the questions asked at the event. This has been condensed for clarity and length.

Q: Starting with the birth of Antler Australia, what attracted Bede to launch the then unknown entity of Antler here?

I was inspired by the company’s mission, to enable individuals to build the companies of tomorrow. We do this via going into new markets and looking through the economy to find exceptional people, bring them into programs to find a co-founder, form companies that receive investment from Antler. This was unlike anything that existed in Australia at the time and continues to be a unique model,” Bede said.

Q: And what is Antler’s differentiator?

We are the world’s largest investor by deal number, over 300 annually globally, receiving over 50k applications over the 15 different regions in which we operate. This gives our companies a significant advantage in being able to move beyond the Australian shores and into new markets both in terms of their operations and funding,” Bede said.

Christian is the co-founder and CEO of Upstreet and Skye is the co-founder and CEO of UpCover. Both were participants in Antler Sydney’s first cohort which launched in June 2019. Their companies are now 14 months old and both of their respective products launched into the market last month.

Meet share loyalty platform Upstreet, which is transforming shopping points to shares.

Q: What motivated Christian to build a business and why do so with Antler?

I built a business when I was 16 and I was very young, then corporate followed as did management consulting with McKinsey and when I left there I knew that wanted to work for myself,” he said.

Q: How did he discover Antler?

I received a message from Bede over LinkedIn saying ‘hey we are creating Antler’ and I was wanting to find a technical co-founder which was basically impossible.

As a consultant at heart I did my due diligence and after speaking with startups who had done the program in Stockholm and Singapore, and chatting with McKinsey, everyone said I should do it, that it was a no-brainer,” he said.

Q: And Skye, why did you join Antler?

I wanted to build something to transform the way people managed risk and protect themselves, especially small businesses.

I felt very strongly that I wanted to find a co-founder, that I wanted to get investment, and how do you do that? Antler was an incredible platform to do this.

I liked the Antler team, especially their level of professionalism. I found the rounds of interviews all fascinating, with people that I could learn a lot from.

It felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity,” she said.

Upcover provides fit for purpose insurance products to gig economy workers.

Q: Christian and Skye, what were three most valuable enablers that you gained from building a business with Antler?

“Antler provides structure. Having never built a company before, they provide what do you need to do and when to do it”

Antler giving the first investment and then help raising further capital

International infrastructure as “Australia is nice, it is a good playground for Upstreet but what I am getting now is the Antler international network,” Christian said.

Finding a co-founder, of which she found two, one tech and the other operations focused.

The investor network “and that is about momentum” She describes. “How do you build a process around fundraising? What are the instruments you use? What valuation should you start at? There are so many questions that you need answered”.

That “Antler makes you feel uncomfortable. Bede told me, as our coach, that I needed to create alternative options for every part of our business and what have you got to lose from listening and learning from people who have operated in challenging environments? It allows you to validate all parts of your business very quickly,” Skye said.

Post the six-month program Antler continues to give Christian and Skye support. There are many facets to this, one of which is very apparent in the now seven employee-strong Upstreet.

“Interestingly, all but one of our team all went through Antler. It is because of the amazing job of vetting by Adele’s team to get the right people so it gives a good opportunity for me to also hire the right people,” he said.

A main focus for Christian over the past 12 months, as with many fledgling startups, has been fundraising. Thanks to introductions via the Antler network and gaining momentum in product development through these key first hires he has made significant progress.

“With raising money, it took me 10 months to raise $600k, it took me 4 weeks to raise $800k and today I had a conversation with a VC who said, do you take $2m? And I said no,” he said.

In addition to first hires and fundraising support, the global infrastructure of Antler really comes into play for our portfolio companies. Sydney was the fourth Antler location to launch and Antler now has a presence in 14 countries across six continents. Christian describes how the global network has opened doors for Upstreet in the US and UK.

“When we look to expansion we first see where Antler is and go to that city,” he said.

Skye also spoke to the “media coverage and exposure Antler provides you” and the doors that opens in terms of fundraising.

“I have been in Startup Daily a couple of times, the AFR and that has resulted into every Australian venture fund that we have pitch to,” she said.

Antler’s main event to showcase local portfolio companies to the world, Demo Day, is happening this 19 Thursday, November. This is where you can see the companies Antler has invested in to pitch their business for further funding from global investors. You can register for this here.

To build a new business or scale an existing early-stage company on the Antler platform you can apply here. We are currently accepting applications for the fourth Sydney cohort which starts January 11, 2021 and in Skye’s words:

The worst thing that is possible to happen from joining Antler is that you expand your network to 70–100 incredible people,” she said.

By joining Antler, Skye says she has given herself and her company the chance to “Build a level of momentum which is like a rocket-ship.

Full recording of the event here.

This article is written by Adele Moynihan, Director of Recruiting, Antler Australia.

Antler enables exceptional people to create exceptional companies. If you want to become a startup founder, find the perfect co-founder and create impactful companies to shape the future, apply now and begin your Antler journey.

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