Anthony Millet Antler
At the end of the 6-month program each team will get to present their business to over 500 investors from around the globe.

Have you ever dreamed of launching your own Tech Startup? Antler is a global Startup generator and Venture Capital firm. They have a game changing approach to nurturing and supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.

Dexter Cousins of Tier One People interviews Anthony Millet, Partner at Antler to discuss the launch of their first Australian program.

Can You Tell Us More About Antler?

Antler is a start-up generator and early stage VC. Over the next four years we plan to invest in over 200 technology businesses as the first investor. Our strategy is to recruit the top talent in Australia to build businesses with our support and back them from day one. The barriers to entry to build a tech business are lower than they have ever been. Yet the barriers to entrepreneurship are still there. Finding the right co-founder, raising capital, giving up a comfortable job. All of these fears prevent talented people from making the leap and fulfilling their potential.

The Antler program removes these barriers and enables the top talent in Australia to become entrepreneurs. We are de-risking the path to entrepreneurship. Approximately 90% of startups fail and it’s really down to one of three things.

  1. The founding team is not complimentary or strong enough.
  2. The product or service being created is not needed in the first place.
  3. Or the business idea was not commercial enough to generate the required capital.

Quite frankly, we think these are bullshit reasons for a startup business to fail and in the most part avoidable. Unfortunately, the startup investment community have got into a state of funding too many businesses that are set up for failure from day one. The six-month Antler program identifies and addresses these issues, providing founders with an unprecedented platform designed to heavily mitigate against these unnecessary reasons for failure.

Antler is truly democratising entrepreneurship and we are focused on diversity. There is no set profile for an entrepreneur. The reason we form teams is because we want complementary skill sets, but also complementary personalities.

The first program started June 3 with 70-plus founders in the Sydney Startup Hub. We received more than 1,000 applications. Joining the program are product managers, rocket scientists, and even those who have helped to build international businesses which have reached unicorn status.

With 71 founders officially signed, this first program has also positioned Antler as an industry leader for gender equality with 25% female founders. In 2018, only 2.2% of all VC investment in the US went to female founders. Our first cohort has 25 nationalities represented with an average work experience of 13.5 years. 57% of participants have a commercial background vs. 34% technical background vs. 8% industry experts.


How did you get started as an Entrepreneur?

As a young boy I started working in my father’s sports retail store in North West London. I became fascinated by business at a young age. My parents never went to university and worked incredibly hard to give me a very privileged upbringing where I could focus on my education. So, my parents were delighted when I came out of the university and joined an investment bank.

I covered the technology sector and was hugely inspired by my clients, who were building tech businesses and taking them through IPO. I was bitten by the bug and decided to quit investment banking and study an MBA. Sat with my parents one day, running a high street retail store, they told me their business wasn’t performing well. But they had just entered the online space and had launched a new website which was generating ten orders per day.

It was such a small component of the business, but I felt there was something there. And having seen the rise of offline to online sales in the technology sector I decided to have a crack and see if I could grow the business.

I postponed my MBA for a year, but one year became five years, in which we grew annual revenue to 35 million pounds and ultimately ended up selling that business to JD sports a FTSE listed sports retailer in the UK.

 

How did you become involved in the Australian Fintech startup scene?

I am married to an Australian, so we decided to move to Sydney. As I began thinking about my next project, I looked at the local landscape and infrastructure and realised setting up an eRetail business was not feasible. It was cheaper to send a a pair of sneakers from London to Sydney than Melbourne to Sydney!

Having recently grown a business across nine countries I knew the challenges of global growth. So, I decided to focus on a business model with significant domestic potential but have the option for international expansion. I spent a few months researching, met lots of people and recognised the Finance and Property industries were ripe for disruption in Australia.

At that time, I was having a conversation with Markus Kahlbetzer who had this great idea for a property share market. I partnered with Markus and became CEO of BrickX a fractional property investment business. Within 6 months we had launched. Within the first 12 months I had raised over $9m from Reinventure and NAB Ventures. In two and a half years we grew the team and were solving a big problem, helping Australians locked out of the property market invest in property.

The business grew to the point where I felt my skills were not best suited to take the business on the next phase of the journey. My expertise lies in startups and BrickX was now well established. It was the right time to step aside.

 

 


What attracted you to Antler?

I’d recently become a Dad and planned to take time out. Two weeks into my sabbatical, a friend tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to look at Antler. It was an opportunity too unique to ignore and the most impactful VC project that I have seen in Australia in the last four years.

Antler is an opportunity to help make Australia a global leader in startup ecosystems. As a country we are doing okay but I feel we can do so much better. Australia ranks no11 in the world for research & innovation. Ideas and talent are not the problem. But commercialising ideas is a major problem for Australia and we rank much lower on a global scale.

Clearly, the ecosystem has to work together to help great ideas become great businesses. The bar needs to be raised when it comes to entrepreneurship in Australia. It is a simple equation. Quality in = Quality out.

I’m excited about the impact Antler will have on the entire country. We believe our approach will raise the standards of startups in Australia and create a lot of new jobs.  Most importantly, over the next four years we are dislodging 800 high impact people from low-impact roles to build a large number of phenomenal companies.


How does the Program work?

The first program begins in June 2019 in Sydney and we will run the program every six months for four years. Come June, up to one hundred talented people across multiple industries and sectors will start the flagship program. The first two months of the program is based around matching cofounders. Finding the right one or two people with complementary skills who get on and share an interest or passion to build a really awesome business.

One hundred people could come up with 500 ideas. That’s great, but we encourage everyone in the program to be open minded and drop their idea if something better comes along. Through a process of daily hackathons, forming teams, breaking up teams, consistently testing ideas we believe after two months we can form the optimal founder teams with strong idea validation.

At the end of the two-month co-founding period, teams present their business idea and business model to our investment committee. If we believe in a founder team and their idea then we invest $100,000 to start the business for a 10 per cent stake. Out of 45 teams we intend to invest in 20 or 30 of them. Every program participant is paid $4000 per month in the initial two-month period. We are truly de-risking the path to entrepreneurship

When you consider that many of the ideas we invest in will only be a few weeks old, we are investing in the people first. Then providing the resources and support to turn an idea into a successful, scalable technology business.

During the four-month building process, teams are provided with the support to build an MVP and get as much validation as possible. No one’s wasting any time fundraising at any point through the program. At the end of the 6-month program each team will get to present their business to over 500 investors from around the globe.

We are taking a global view from day one. The ideas we invest in will have the potential to scale globally. Antler is live in Stockholm and Singapore. London and Amsterdam go live in May, Sydney goes live in June. September, the program launches in New York and Nairobi.  

With the Antler programs in 7 countries and plans for up to 20 cities live within 18 months, we see a huge opportunity to collaborate on a global scale.

Which type of person to you think is best suited to the program?

Antler is truly democratising entrepreneurship and we are focused on diversity. There is no set profile for an entrepreneur. The reason we form teams is because we want complementary skill sets, but also complementary personalities.

If we look at the first intake the average number of years work experience for people coming into a program is fourteen. Typically, cohort members have operated just below C-Level, where they have seen all the action but not always been recognised and rewarded for their efforts. The people we have chosen are highly talented, experienced and motivated people who have a strong desire to come together and build next generation Tech businesses. Although we are tech agnostic Proptech, Fintech, Regtech, Agritech, Cyber Security, Martech and Edtech are the areas we expect will produce the most business ideas.

When we’re interviewing people coming into the program, we are mostly interested in the people not the idea. What we’re really assessing is the impact they’ve had at work, what they’ve personally accomplished and some of the challenges they’ve faced in their life. We are looking for significant examples of drive, resilience, grit, tenacity and entrepreneurship.

I’m very careful to not try and sell the program. This is about us creating a clear path to entrepreneurship, but individuals need to self select themselves to take the step in to such a program. If you are someone who is a high achiever, with entrepreneurial flair, but you’ve been held back because you haven’t found that right person, or financial circumstances. Then, Antler could be the opportunity for you to finally test your own personal limits and co-found a business.

How do people get involved?

Applications for the June cohort have now closed, but we are now recruiting for the January 2020 cohort – you can apply at www.antler.co. You can also find out more information about founder events and learn more on the website. To see our current cohort for June 2019 visits www.antler.dev

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