‘We back individuals before they have a team or business idea’

In exchange, Antler takes a 10 to 12 per cent cut of each start-up at the pre-seed stage, considered higher than most accelerator programs. But Mr Moore said the higher cut is justified because Antler invests from the inception of the business, unlike accelerators.

“We back individuals before they have a team or a business idea and give them time to validate ideas and find the best co-founders, and given how early we invest in companies we think the terms we offer are very favourable,” Mr Moore said.

Antler officially launches its local team in Australia on Monday evening. 

Rather than viewing angel investors as rivals, Mr Moore said he viewed them as an important part of the ongoing growth of the start-ups created through Antler.

“We intend to work closely with all existing angel groups to help our companies in their ensuing rounds of funding. The deal flow for the ecosystem is one of the most positive aspects of the Antler model,” said Mr Moore.

Mr Moore said Antler was focused on a broad range of sectors in Australia, but expected to see many start-ups in fintech, agtech, proptech and adtech emerge from the program.

“For us the starting point of a great company is the founding team and their own market expertise – so we will back any company where we believe the founders have a globally-advanced competitive advantage in that field or otherwise where they have a distinctive local market advantage,” Mr Moore said.

He said Antler planned to create 50 businesses by the end of the year in Australia. Over the next four years, Antler expects to attract 800 participants to create 200 new businesses and 4000 new jobs.

Two-phase program

While some in the existing start-up sector could question the credentials or drive of a founder starting a business from scratch in Antler’s program, Mr Moore said the model required just as much commitment as a traditional founder who gives up their career to pursue an idea.

He said Antler’s program lasts for five months and consists of two phases; phase one is designed to match entrepreneurs, generate and validate ideas, and start building the foundations of a successful startup, through hackathons and team-building activities

In the second phase the co-founders focus on company building, creating a prototype and attracting potential customers before pitching their start-up at the Antler Demo Day, where they potentially attract external seed funding.

The Demo Day in Singapore attracted more than 500 investors.

“For this reason, individuals are required to make a commitment to the program, making it unlikely for them to be able to continue other full-time working arrangements,” Mr Moore said.

“Additionally, the stipend we provide them is also meant to encourage focus and independence.”