Investors

A global venture capitalist firm with a focus on backing startup founders from underrepresented groups is looking to double its capacity in the UK.

Antler, based in Singapore, has been invested in the UK since 2019, and plans to invest in at least 70 companies after closing its first fund at £21.4 million.

Targeting talented individuals and pre-seed stage businesses, its next London cohort will launch in February 2022.

“We work with founders before they even start building their company – this removes a lot of the typical biases and barriers entrepreneurs face when they get started,” Antler London partner Antoine Poirson tells TechBlast.

 

“Before we invest, we provide a £2,000 per month non-dilutive financial support to the entrepreneurs so they don’t need to worry about temporary loss of income. Then we create an environment where they can build their companies within weeks that culminates with our investment. 

“As a result, more than 40% of our portfolio companies have a female founder, and 60% are built by underrepresented founders.”

 

Antler invests £120,000 as a first cheque in every UK portfolio company which successfully completes the cohort, and holds capital in reserve for investing up to and including Series C. 

Some of its London-based portfolio companies are also seeking to help close what it terms the ‘wealth divide’. For example, Earnr is a companion app for small businesses and sole traders which automates UK tax return preparation and submission, and is free up to a certain threshold.

Swivel is billed as the UK’s first video-powered job marketplace and is focused on reducing the time and cost to hire for entry-level positions.

And FairHQ is described as the first tech platform to help progressive companies embed diversity & inclusion across the business.

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“As we witness a real generational wealth divide, we are convinced that startups will play a key role in closing it. As such, we are investing a lot of effort and resources to close it,” says Poirson.

“First, by backing exceptional individuals, regardless of their background, origin, and gender; second, by supporting our portfolio hire faster and more efficiently, giving them access to the wider Antler network; and third, by making investing in our funds more accessible to underrepresented groups, entrepreneurs and women.”

 

Investors and advisors at Antler include Eduardo Saverin’s Light VC; the founders of Quantum Black, Monzo and ComplyAdvantage; as well as members of the senior teams at unbound, Babylon Health, Octopus Ventures, Collective Ventures, Blackrock, JP Morgan, PJT, Arctic Securities and McKinsey. 

“We’ve grown our UK team with the head of partnership and a program associate, and looking to grow further in 2022,” Veronika Patkai, associate partner at Antler London, adds. 

“We’re accepting applications for our fifth UK cohort and are looking forward to supporting the next phase of exceptional individuals, regardless of their background, origin and gender.”