Venture Capitalists are the bread and butter of many startup journeys. VCs are a form of private equity financing where investors buy shares in startups or other small businesses that they believe have the potential for long-term growth. As a result, founding a company, which was once a niche activity requiring a lot of your own money, has now opened up to allow more people to dip their toes into entrepreneurship. And if it wasn’t for the VC fund Antler, Peccala might not ever have come to exist.
Antler is a global early-stage venture capital firm that enables exceptional founders to start great companies. It started when a group of experienced entrepreneurs, investors, and company builders came together in Singapore in 2017 to form Antler. Its mission is to enable and invest in the world’s most exceptional people and to improve the world along the way. They help potential founders to meet the right team, find early product-market fit, and get started with pre-seed capital. Startups that form at Antler have a greater chance of being set up for success.
The Antler Experience
One of the premises behind Antler is: to have a great startup, you need a great co-founder. And co-founders aren’t easy to find. Maybe you know someone you think would be a great match, but they aren’t willing to leave their job and fully commit to a risky endeavor. So it’s all about getting people together and working in the same direction. After passing a strict application process, Antler will invite 50-60 people from all walks of life to join a cohort in one of several cities worldwide. The co-founders at Peccala joined the first-ever Berlin cohort in 2021. During the three month program, each participant is given a grant to cover their living expenses, so they can focus on their startup idea without worrying about anything else.
From there, it’s three months of what could be considered founder speed dating, teaming up to work on ideas, and finding early traction together. In the first few weeks you meet various people, try to see if you’re a right fit skill-wise and personality-wise, and do different tasks and challenges to see first-hand how you work together. When you’ve found a possible match with people you feel confident can turn your idea into reality, or whose idea you want to help bring to the next level, you form a team. Some considered this process very exhausting. For Peccala’s founders in Berlin, COVID 19 meant that it was one of the first times for over a year that everyone was able to be in a room together. Yet, because of the diversity and enthusiasm of all the participants, it was easy to feel energized to learn more. Because it was action-oriented, it was like a crash course in “How to build a startup” where no two days were the same.
The Antler partners in Berlin are a former consultant and a serial entrepreneur, both of whom have great business insights, a wealth of experience and an amazing network in Berlin and beyond. Hence, they know how to facilitate co-founder matching and give ideas on business development, prototyping and pitching investors.
After this, towards the end of the three months, Antler selects the teams that they believe have a minimal viable product (MVP) and invite them to pitch for the pre-seed investment.
Peccala’s Experience with Antler
JJ set up a time to talk with every single person in the cohort before he made his way to Berlin. In the early days of the program, Laura had multiple discussions with Aldo and was impressed by his trading engine, especially as she had been actively trading herself, for a few years. JJ was already convinced he wanted to work with Aldo and kept writing him to ensure they would team-up. Finally, about two weeks in, Aldo and JJ were a team and knew they were on to something with Peccala. In the fourth week, they brought in Laura, an experienced marketer, for her business know-how and crypto expertise ensuring a good balance of skills in the company. After all, it’s a scientist, a marketer, and consultant joining forces.
Peccala’s Winning Pitch
Sixteen teams pitched, and only nine of them got funding. Since the Peccala app itself wasn’t yet ready, but the trading technology was already working, the Peccala founders convinced around 40 people in their network to allow them to plug Peccala’s trading bots directly into their Binance accounts. With impressive results, the team could show that, managing real money, the algorithm works, that the returns were high and that people really wanted to try the product. And that’s when they got their first 100,000 EUR investment from Antler.
Over a year later, they’ve raised additional money from business angel investors, and grown to a team of five (with some freelancers as well). They aim to raise a Seed round in the fall to continue growing Peccala.