Global “startup generator” Antler launches operations in Kenya

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Global “startup generator” and early-stage VC Antler has launched in Kenya, where it plans to build and fund more than 40 tech companies in the next three years.

Founded by Magnus Grimeland, the co-founder of Rocket Internet-backed e-commerce platform Zalora, Antler builds companies from the ground up by identifying ambitious professionals and assisting them in launching businesses.

It has already run successful programmes in Singapore and Stockholm, and is now launching in East Africa. Its first Kenyan cohort will be announced in August, including around 40 future founders. In all, Antler aims to form up to 16 startups per year in Kenya, with applications now open.

Antler works to unlock the power of brilliant individuals working for large corporations. The programme does not require an idea, an existing team, or previous founder experience, but helps individuals find the right co-founders by leveraging Antler’s global data insights, experience, network, research and a rigorous recruitment process.

The programme helps aspiring entrepreneurs to build disruptive tech companies by providing US$1,500 per month in phase one of the programme, in addition to a US$100,000 investment offered to each of the most successful graduates.

“We’re excited to launch Antler in Nairobi, supporting Africa-based founders in launching their dream startups. Antler will invest in 40+ startups in Nairobi over the coming three years, stimulating innovation, job creation and helping to cultivate a deeper tech industry in the country,” said Marie Nielsen, partner for East Africa at Antler.

“Not only does the Antler programme provide financial support to founders from day one, but it also offers unique access to a global network that will support East African tech companies seeking to scale internationally.”

The programme itself consists of two phases over five months. The first connects highly-skilled individuals to strong founder teams through workshops, personality tests and hackathons, with support from Antler coaches, advisors and VCs. At the end of this phase, Antler invests in the best teams for a minority equity stake.

In the second phase, teams build their companies to the same level most startups reach after a year. Former founders help with product launches and connect companies with their first customers. At the end of the programme, teams pitch their business to angel and seed investors. Post-programme, founders continue to receive advice and tools, and enter Antler’s alumni network.

“Antler exists to enable extraordinary people to tackle the world’s biggest problems through innovation and entrepreneurship. Many never make this leap and are instead stuck in unproductive jobs. We want to change that and help individuals transform great ideas into great companies that have a positive impact on the world around us. Our programme methodology and the top calibre of our advisors give our founders a massive advantage over other startups in the tech sector,” said Magnus Grimeland, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder of Antler.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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