I spoke with Tyler Norwood, partner at Antler, a global startup generator and early stage VC.
After college graduation, Tyler moved to Vietnam, where he taught math and English through Everest Education. He loved exploring and adventuring in the region and afterwards, remained in Southeast Asia to join Zalora, building their first marketplace model. Zalora was acquired by Global Fashion Group and joined their portfolio of companies. Tyler then traveled around the world helping other companies in the portfolio implement new marketplace models. He then founded a vertical farming company in Denver, where he remains an advisor. After selling the company to his co-founder, Tyler joined Antler as a partner first in Singapore and now in NYC.
Tyler shared his advice and insight on the founder mentality, deciding to pursue entrepreneurship, and wellness and health in startups.
Remember that building products and companies is a long term journey. Frequently, founders have type A personalities, which can be quite beneficial for organization and execution but can also lead to impatient tendencies. Keep an open mind and explore different paths for yourself and your business. In the moment, you never know what will make you successful (TOMS shoes started out as a side project!).
Solve problems that scare you and keep you up at night. The founder journey will be full of difficult moments where you have thoughts of giving up and when even others on your team or in your life tell you that what you are trying to do is impossible. In these moments, Tyler always thinks of Elon Musk and specifically the amount of doubt practically everyone had about the moonshot mission of SpaceX. In these challenging moments of self doubt, find inspiration in similar stories and go back to your root inspiration: the problem that inspired the company and the challenge that you could not get your mind off of.
Prioritize your health, happiness, and well-being. Building companies is ultimately a marathon and not a sprint. The emotional journey of being a founder can frequently be the most difficult part. In order to make this long term bet, it is critical to be happy and healthy, first and foremost. The company should be part of your well balanced life rather than your whole life, and in taking this approach, ultimately, you, your team, and your startup will be immensely better off. With his work at Antler, Tyler aims to inspire this mentality through providing encouragement to founders and the necessary resources (facilities, funding, and community) for founders to have sustainable lifestyles.