“The time to innovate is now. We are devoted to unleashing a vast amount of innovative talent into the global entrepreneurial ecosystem and help build the next generation of world-changing companies.”
More than 65% of millennials aspire to become entrepreneurs but only a fraction of extremely talented people end up pursuing their entrepreneurial dream. In fact, research suggests there are fewer entrepreneurs than before. As John Lettieri, the co-founder of the Economic Innovation Group, puts it: “Millennials are on track to be the least entrepreneurial generation in recent history” (The Atlantic).
Enter Antler. An organization dedicated to enabling the world’s best talent to become great founders of great companies. By matching the right co-founders with each other, providing funding from day one, and connecting a global network of subject matter experts worldwide Antler significantly improve their likelihood of success by getting the foundations right from the very beginning. Their vision is a global ecosystem that i) reduces the barriers to entry for talented founders to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, and ii) that improves their chance of succeeding with their ideas by getting things right from the get-go.
To learn a little bit more about Antler we sat for a chat with Niclas Krantz, who’s currently launching a company through Antler!
Niclas has had an impressive career. He joined Ericsson’s Excellerate Global Leadership Program in 2010 and by 2015 – after having lived in both China and Brazil – he was Director of Sales & Commercial Management, Digital Services at Ericsson. But even with a promising future at Ericsson, Niclas knew he wanted something else; “I could’ve continued at Ericsson, it was a great place, but I just really needed a change.” As Niclas saw it, he had three options: continue with corporate, go back to consulting, or take the leap and start something of his own.
Right around this time, Niclas got a mail from us at Nova with the simple subject line: “Have you heard about Antler?” Niclas reached out and met up with Antler, and saw it as a great opportunity. Regardless if he was to get funded or not, he knew he would learn a lot. So Niclas joined the 2019 Stockholm cohort and came in with a clear idea of what he wanted to do.
That idea is, however, was not at all what he and his co-founders pitched to Antler’s investment committee two days ago. The idea that got funded was in the InsureTech space. Niclas will together with Nova alumni Joacim Andersson and Ludvig Brisby Jeppsson setup “Simply”, which aims to be a digital provider of business insurance in the new economy, expected to launch its operations during the summer.
We asked Niclas what he’d say to all others who might feel a bit like he did: “Take the jump! You’re a Nova and you can always get another great job, so give it a try! I have finally found that spark again, and learned so much. Being an entrepreneur is taxing sure, and comes with a lot of responsibilities, but you have so much more freedom and so much more fun! As long as you have the drive and the ability to work hard and fast, this will be one of the best things you ever do.”
The Antler program in short:
1. PROGRAM KICK OFF
When joining the Antler program, you spend the first weeks in rotation over a series of activities designed to help evaluate skill sets, cultural fit and working styles in fast-paced, high-pressure situations. This is done for you to better understand who are the ideal co-founders for you.
2. TEAM AND IDEA VALIDATION (2 MONTHS)
Following the program kick-off, you focus on team and idea validation. In this period we all work together rigorously to identify the right team-fit and the right business model fit to set you up for success. To enable everyone to focus full-time on building their next business, all participants are given a monthly grant during this period. All participants work from our offices during this time.
3. COMPANY BUILDING (3 MONTHS)
The best business ideas receive an Antler investment and further support, in exchange for a small equity stake. At this stage, the companies start scaling their concepts – the focus is on proving the potential and the viability of the idea. All companies have access to office space through Antler during this time. Participants that do not get an Antler investment will still have access to our alumni network, offering a range of job opportunities in startups through our existing Antler portfolio companies and our wider network of global partners companies.
4. DEMO DAY
At the end of the five-month program, companies have the opportunity to pitch their businesses to a select group of investors through our Demo Day. All our portfolio companies continue to receive advice and support through network introductions after the program ends.