Early stage investment company Antler Australia recently backed a new cohort of startups as part of its ongoing program to build great local tech companies.
Startup Daily is sharing the details of each venture in the “Antler Investor Memos” series, which is designed to give you a quick, sharp understanding of the startups and people involved, with many seeking follow up capital following Antler’s initial pre-seed investment.
Formation date: January 2023
Stage of business: Pre-Seed
Founders: Dave Dela Cruz and Tarsi Luo
Current investors: Antler
Currently raising: Yes
Australians love to shop online. In 2022, $63.8 billion was spent on online goods and a record 9.4 million households participated in online shopping, according to the 2023 Inside Australian Shopping Online report.
However, the same report revealed that in order for retailers to continue to succeed and stand out in this booming market, a core issue needs to be addressed: supply.
Yalçın Akçay, Professor of Operations Management at Melbourne Business School and co-author of ‘Building resilient Australian supply chains’ says retailers are currently suffering from a lack of supply chain resilience, unable to absorb or adapt to supply chain disruptions.
While he has a few recommendations for creating a more reliable supply network, a key measure is for retailers to adopt a multi-sourcing strategy to spread supply chain risk across a range of suppliers.
And this is actually what Skipped aims to do.
Skipped is revolutionising the e-commerce landscape with its cutting-edge AI-driven platform designed to tackle the pervasive problem of out-of-stock (OOS) items and dissatisfied consumers. Founded in January 2023 by Dave Dela Cruz and Tarsi Luo, the Sydney-based startup provides an intelligent multi-merchant network that seamlessly connects retailers and brands.
By synchronising inventory in real-time, Skipped ensures continuous selling and order fulfillment, even during stock shortages. Built upon proprietary technology, the platform can manage millions of items every second, taking on the intricate back-end operations so retailers can focus on what they do best.
Typically, 32% of online shoppers have had a negative experience due to out-of-stock, 69% will choose a substitute item after the first OOS occurrence and after 3 out of-stock-occurrences, 70% will switch to a different brand entirely. Beyond consumer frustration, OOS issues hit retailers hard, costing the global e-commerce sector over $1.05 trillion in 2022. With Australian merchants losing A$14 billion, Skipped arrives as a game-changing solution for an industry-wide problem. The company’s deep understanding of the e-commerce landscape positions it as a leader in the APAC region and opens avenues for rapid expansion.
Antler investment thesis
“Skipped perfectly aligns with Antler’s investment criteria of team, market, and product. Tarsi and Dave showcased the grit, resilience, and complementary skill sets from day zero that are essential for disrupting such a pervasive issue in the e-commerce space,” says Antler Australia Partner, James McClure.
“As for the market, the immense financial loss due to out-of-stock items presents an untapped opportunity. As the first AI-powered multi-merchant network in the APAC region, Skipped’s scalable, innovative, and proprietary product is poised to reach great heights within the next 5-10 years, giving it a significant head-start over potential competitors, and setting the standard for inventory sharing.”
Milestones to date
Since its inception, Skipped has demonstrated remarkable progress by hitting several key milestones. Notably, the startup has already launched an operational MVP with a Shopify integration, showcasing its technical prowess and commitment to providing a practical solution for its target market.
It has also initiated a pilot program featuring two leading homeware companies, adding credibility to its value proposition. Skipped has also landed key partnerships to support the performance and growth of the business. Most recently it partnered with Zepto, a payments platform, to support transactions on their merchant network. Their upcoming advisory board inclusion is also set to offer invaluable industry insights. The company has also secured over 20 Letters of Intent, highlighting strong market interest and a promising future.
Pre-Seed from Antler
Use of funds
Antler’s investment is a major stepping stone for Skipped, providing the resources to scale effectively. The funds will be primarily allocated to two core areas—product development and marketing initiatives.
On the product side, Skipped will focus on refining its existing solutions, innovating new features, and maintaining its best-in-class and customer-centric advantage.
Marketing strategies, including targeted campaigns and partnerships, will be ramped up to enhance brand visibility and reach alongside increasing customer engagement and partnership opportunities. By investing in these areas, Dave Dela Cruz states “we believe we can efficiently fuel our growth, gain a competitive edge, and make a substantial impact in our market.”
Their founders say
“Antler’s support goes beyond mere financial backing,” quotes Dave Dela Cruz. “Their mentorship, network of experts and industry connections, and resources have been critical in shaping our growth strategy. Their guidance and expertise have helped us refine our business strategy, tap into a pool of experienced entrepreneurs, navigate challenges, and identify opportunities for growth.
“Our aim is ambitious—transform the retail and e-commerce landscape into a more efficient and sustainable ecosystem. Skipped is more than just a business; it’s a mission to reduce waste, ensure every product finds its consumer, and make the shopping experience better for everyone involved. The potential for creating value here is enormous, both in terms of financial gains and societal impact.”
“Under it all, we believe there’s systemic supply chain challenges due to the disconnected nature of systems at each level. We’ve both seen this first hand on our prior experiences. Skipped presents a shared inventory solution that cuts across retailers and brands to tackle some of these other major e-commerce problems.”
Antler, a global early-stage VC, is revealing its latest investments in ambitious Australian founders and startups. With over 100 investments in early-stage companies, Skipped is one of its most recent portfolio companies.
- StartupDaily is the official media partner of Antler in Australia.