Singapore-Based Antler Scouts Early-Stage Startups As It Enters India

Antler runs a two-phased six-month-long programme for early-stage startups

Indian startups noted a 10% decline with $3.31 Bn funding in the first quarter of 2020

Urban Ladder cofounder Rajiv Srivatsa has also joined in as a partner of the firm

Global early-stage venture capital firm Antler, on Monday (June 1), announced its plans to launch in India to allow more entrepreneurs to leverage its platform, funding support and global reach.

The VC firm, which has already marked its presence in major startup ecosystems across six continents, will start off its Indian operations in Bengaluru in the second half of 2020. It runs a six-month-long programme in two phases.

The first phase, which lasts for 10 weeks, focuses on bringing together a diverse group of exceptional people from technologists, experienced operators and second-time or repeat founders. This allows the early-stage companies to build the right team and finding cofounders with complementary skill sets and validate their business ideas.

These founders also receive a monthly stipend in the first phase of the programme to focus full-time on building their company and products.

In the second phase, Antler typically invests in startups to help them scale up. Here, Antler also focuses on building the minimum viable product (MVP) and getting traction. It will also help the startup get ready for the next investment round on the demo day, where the startup gets to pitch to angel investors, seed investors and venture capitalists.

According to Datalabs by Inc42 report, Indian startups raised $4.1 Bn across 208 funding deals in the first quarter of 2020, ending in March. This represented a 12% increase than the $3.7 Bn that was raised in the previous quarter. However, big-ticket investments had a big role to play in the overall macro outlook of funding. If the high-ticket investments are to be removed, Indian startups noted a 10% decline with $3.31 Bn, which points to a crunch in early-stage funding.

Indian startup funding in Q1 2020

Each cohort in the Antler programme hosts startups featuring 30 different nationalities. Interested entrepreneurs can apply using their LinkedIn ids. Selected entrepreneurs will have to go through a personality and aptitude tests, which also includes a telephonic conversation with the Antler team. Once the team has been evaluated, Antler hosts an interview as well.

Overall, the company has an average deal size of $22.2 Mn, and a median deal size of $1.5 Mn. However, to participate in their programme, the companies need to pay $15,000 to $50,000 depending on location.

As of September 2019, Antler has over eight offices across four continents. It has invested close to $9.11 Bn across 835 deals since 2009. Around 39% of its portfolio includes at least one female cofounder, and almost 32% have a female CEO.

Antler’s portfolio represents more than 60 nationalities and over 30 industries — agritech, cryptocurrency, cybersecurity, fintech, foodtech, ecommerce, logistics and more. Its portfolio includes proptech startup Allihoop, healthtech startup Caia, fintech startup Savvy and cybersecurity startup Avertro.

Antler Preps For The Indian Market

In order to sharpen its focus on India, Antler has also appointed furniture ecommerce platform Urban Ladder’s cofounder Rajiv Srivatsa as a partner. Srivatsa, who had exited Urban Ladder in October 2019, added,  “I am just super excited to be part of this journey, to build 100s of great startups and founders in India, for India and the globe.”

Magnus Grimeland, founder and CEO of Antler, has highlighted that India is expected to be the third-largest market and grow into a $5 Tn digital economy over the next five years. Moreover, he believes that the quantity of talent, ambition of founders, and the proliferation of high-quality venture capital and angel investors offers an opportunity to build successful early-stage companies.

“We believe the Indian entrepreneurial ecosystem has massive potential. We want to lower the barriers for exceptional people to start a technology company, regardless of their background or geography,” said Grimeland.

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Written by Kritti Bhalla


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