Antler, a global early-stage venture capital firm that seeks to invest in the defining technology companies of tomorrow, has opened an office in Berlin. In the past, Antler has backed a good number of Fintechs. Berlin has emerged as a hot startup ecosystem.
Antler notes that COVID-19 has dimmed VC investments across Europe. In Germany, investment is said to be down 19% in comparison to the year prior – but deals are picking up in Q3 2020.
The plan is to invest in 160 start-ups over the next four years across Central Europe, countering the declining level of funding in the Angel and Seed stage investments.
Partners of the fund covering Germany and Central Europe are Alan Poensgen, former Co-Founder and Managing Director at the home; living e-commerce company Westwing, and Dr. Christoph Klink, former partner at the management consultancy McKinsey & Company.
Launched in 2017 in Singapore, Antler is now present in the major start-up ecosystems across six continents. Antler has invested in over 200 start-ups and claims title as one of the world’s largest early-stage investment platforms. Antler has invested in more than 90 start-ups on all six continents this year alone.
Antler reports that over 40 % of Antler’s portfolio has at least one female co-founder and founders represent over 70 nationalities.
Antler’s team consists of individuals from companies such as Spotify, Alibaba, Westwing, McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Fidelity as well as from internationally renowned universities such as Harvard, Stanford and TU Munich.
Additionally, Antler says it works closely with over 400 advisors with entrepreneurial, financial, political or technological backgrounds. Among them are world-renowned experts such as Larry Summers, former US Secretary of the Treasury and Harvard President, Klaus Kleinfeld, former CEO of Siemens, Peter Harrison, CEO of Schroders Asset Management and Christian Miele, Partner at e.Ventures and President of the German Start-up Association.
Entrepreneurship and innovation is key to driving wealth and prosperity and thus is vital for a vibrant economy. Antler invests earlier than many over investors thus shouldering more risk but potentially more gain.
Antler says it is changing the way early-stage investment decisions are made. It uses a unique due diligence process, where the team gets to spend 400 hours per investment decision.
Antler comes in as the first investor and takes a minority stake of 10% in its portfolio companies to act as a long-term partner who supports start-ups with capital, network, advice and a strong global community.
“Antler is a much-needed addition to the German ecosystem,” says Christian Miele, President of the German Startup Association, Partner at eVentures and Advisor to Antler. “Antler will enable some of Germany’s most talented and experienced entrepreneurs to start new businesses and bring necessary innovation to Germany. Personally knowing the Antler team for over 10 years, I see that founders will greatly benefit from their advice, experience and global network.”
Alan Poensgen, Partner for Central Europe at Antler, adds:
“Based on my experience of building companies across 18 countries on 3 continents, a strong and complementary founding team and access to the right networks are crucial elements to success. At Antler we provide a platform for exceptional individuals to support them with the most important challenges in the early phase of starting their company, such as: Finding the right co-founder; getting coaching from world-class entrepreneurs in their own field; and access to funding from top investors that can truly help them build a great company.”
Dr. Christoph Klink, also Partner for Central Europe at Antler, explains that starting in Berlin Antler will address the most important startup hotspots like Munich and Warsaw.
“Given the traditional strengths of our economies one would expect to see a much higher rate of start-up innovation. Manuel Schönfeld, founder of the Antler portfolio company PowerX, is a great example of how we can help turn this potential into real impact. Manuel has built his company at warp-speed, gaining additional support from Y-Combinator and Sequoia, and is now helping fight climate change while reducing utility costs at the same time.“
Antler Germany is now accepting applications for it’s inaugural cohort starting April 2021.