Global early-stage VC Antler, which is already present in most major start-up ecosystems across six continents, announced plans to launch in India to enable more entrepreneurs to build start-ups through their platform, support and global reach. The local operation will start in Bengaluru and be led by Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founder of online furniture brand Urban Ladder, who is joining as Partner.

“Over the next 5 years, India is expected to be the third-largest market and grow into a 5 trillion dollar economy, fueling a much higher growth for the digital economy,” said Magnus Grimeland, Founder and CEO of Antler. He said in India, the quantity of exceptional talent, the ambition level of founders, and the proliferation of high-quality and angel investors provides an incredible opportunity to build successful early-stage companies from scratch.

“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.

Antler has backed top firms such as Sampingan, Indonesia’s largest on-demand workforce, Airalo, the world’s first eSim store and Cognicept, the human-in-the-loop (HITL) error handling firm with telerobotic intervention technology. Antler aims to provide India originating start-ups with its global platform to ensure start-ups from the country can expand, scale, succeed and tap into expertise on a global level.

Headquartered in Singapore, Antler already has a global presence in 11 locations around the world and has invested in over 160 technology-companies, making it one of the world’s largest early-stage investment platforms. Over 40 per cent of Antler’s portfolio has at least one female co-founder and their founders represent over 60 nationalities. Antler plans to invest in up to 40 companies within its first year of operations in India through an India-dedicated fund. Antler also has plans to expand to other major cities in India in the next three to five years.

“Antler, with its stellar mix of venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and operators, has built a tremendous technology-backed platform to launch global-ready companies, all in the span of just two years,” said Rajiv Srivatsa, Partner, Antler India. “Today, India is at the stage where China was a decade ago. In the coming years, we have the potential to take this ecosystem into the next orbit and build 100s of world-class start-ups at scale.”

Srivatsa said the firm will launch an India fund and collaborate with the entire ecosystem including VCs, angels and work closely with corporate partners and functional specialists as mentors, to power the India opportunity ahead this decade.

The inaugural India program will kick off in Bengaluru in the second half of 2020. The Antler program runs over a six-month period in two phases. The first phase is about building the right team with co-founders who have complementary skills. During this period, the Antler team pulls on resources and expertise from across the world to enable founders to validate their business ideas and build strong teams. All founders receive a monthly stipend in the first phase of the programme. After the first phase of ten weeks, Antler invests in the strongest teams, who go on to the second phase to build and scale the start-up.


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