JETRO Global Connection -Accelerate Innovation with Japan-

Supporting Startups from Day Zero to Investment
-Unleashing the Next Wave of Startup Success Stories with Antler-

July 13, 2023

Did you know about AntlerExternal site: a new window will open.? Global venture capital firm that specializes in early-stage investments. It was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Singapore, with offices in 25 cities around the world, including New York, London, and Sydney.
Antler's Cohort program has already invested more than 750 successful companies worldwide, and the company recently launched its Cohort program in Japan from January 2023.
In this article, we would feature Ryo UmezawaExternal site: a new window will open., a Japanese partner at AntlerExternal site: a new window will open., to have a picture of their program. In addition, we interviewed three companies of their cohorts this year (YapExternal site: a new window will open., iibaExternal site: a new window will open., and Lombard StandardExternal site: a new window will open.) to have gained insights into their program, as well as to learn more about the innovative business ideas being developed by these participants.

Support From Day 0: Co-Founder Matching and Company Building until Investment

Antler is not an accelerator, but an investor from Day Zero. Antler operates Cohort programs in 25 cities across 20 countries, and their program is operated for 10 weeks. The program structure consists of team-building, business ideation, mentoring and creating business plans. At the end of the program, startups can pitch to Antler for funding.
One of the unique aspects of cohort program is the focus on people and co-founder matching. Research has shown that startup with co-founders can achieve unicorn status more quickly than solo-founder startups. To support participants in finding the right co-founder(s), Antler offers team building activities like the "Spaghetti Tower Challenge," as well as classes with experienced serial entrepreneurs, legal and HR experts, and more.

The image of team building activities (Provided by Antler Japan)

Once teams are formed, Antler helps to refine their business ideas and build up their companies with the help of other experts. Each morning, the Antler team, including Ryo, provides mentoring to the cohort teams, introducing potential customers and collaborators. Ryo emphasized the importance of having a mindset of being able to pivot any time for entrepreneurs, providing guidance on how to build mindset and execute.

Mentoring image (Provided by Antler)

Inside Antler Japan's Cohort Program: Meet the Talented Entrepreneurs

First cohort program in Japan have received a staggering 540 applications and selected the participants based on (i)their strong inner drive, (ii)grit, and (iii)domain expertise and interest. They have a diverse group of around 60% business experts and 40% engineers from different nationalities and backgrounds.
During the first two weeks, participants had the opportunity to find their co-founders with Antler's support. In total, they have 62 participants and over 30 teams created, with three of them (YapExternal site: a new window will open., iibaExternal site: a new window will open., and Lombard StandardExternal site: a new window will open.) under the pre-seed investment step from Antler as of May 2023.
Planning for September, cohorts participants will have the opportunity to present their startup in the Antler Japan demo day and raise additional money from investors.

The 1st cohorts of Antler Japan (Provided by Antler Japan)

Ready to Build the Next Big Thing? Antler Japan Launches Second Cohort Program from 2023 October

The 1st Cohort Demo Day is just around the corner on September and Antler is already planning for the next cohort program from 2023 October.
Ryo has expressed his desire to increase in-person activities and seminars to support co-founder matching beyond the initial two-week period. If you're interested in participating, applications for the second cohort program are now open and can be accessed through this linkExternal site: a new window will open.. Stay tuned for our upcoming article featuring the voices of the first cohort's companies to get a better sense of the program's benefits and successes before applying.

Startup founding story through Antler's program in Japan.

  1. Supporting Startups from Day Zero to Investment
  2. Building Startups from Day Zero to Investment
Report by:
KAGA Yusuke, Startup Support Division, JETRO

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