Venture Capital

Antler boss says: ‘you can count the Australian VCs writing first cheques at MVP who keep investing to Series A on one hand’ 

- June 12, 2024 2 MIN READ
Dog, money, nurture
Photo: AdobeStock
I speak to hundreds of Australian founders every month from all backgrounds pursuing a wide range of businesses.

However, there is one unifying view from them all: how hard it is to raise the necessary capital to scale and grow. 

There’s a counter-intuitive irony here; historically, the best venture returns have come from the vintages directly following major economic ructions – think Stripe, Uber and Airbnb post-Global Financial Crisis.

However, you can count the number of Australian VCs who consistently write first cheques into MVP stage startups and keep investing to Series A and beyond on one hand. 

There are plenty of well-discussed reasons for this: high inflation, tighter IPO market, the relative nascence of venture as an asset class for major institutional investors, deprioritisation of early stage in Federal budget and many more. 

However, what most don’t discuss is the outcome of this for entrepreneurs.

The result is investor feedback like, “Come back to us when you have $1M revenue”, “Let me know once you have a lead investor”, or “We typically invest in B2B SaaS only”.

This is often ‘VC code’ for “Tell me when it’s safe enough for me to make a decision because someone else has done the hard work”. 

Unless you’re personally wealthy, it’s hard to bootstrap a business with unicorn potential for up to the first $1 million in revenue – which means Australia risks losing out on its opportunity to stamp itself as a global hub for innovation. 

Fortunately, taking a contrarian approach to the prevailing majority often brings disproportionate success. At Antler, we believe with expert advice, faster access to capital from day zero to Series C, and transparent investment terms and timelines – the next great Australian success story will be founded in the next couple of years. 

In fact, we are doubling down on our commitment to back the greatest founders from day zero.

We are doing this with our new Fast Track Funding pathway, looking for the best MVP-stage Australian businesses that have been active for less than 12 months. 

Importantly, we are vertical agnostic – we’ve successfully backed deeptech innovators (Xailients computer vision at the edge), medtech rising stars (Sapyens male fertility solution) and AI breakouts (Tactiqs AI-powered meeting solutions). These are just three of the 17 businesses we’ve invested in valued over A$10 million, some of which are trading at 20-50x the initial valuation. 

The benefits for founders? Faster access to capital to grow from day zero to Series C; mentorship and guidance from Antler’s global network of experts and advisors; and opportunities for collaboration across the 1000+ portfolio companies and 30 offices globally. 

We commit to making investment decisions by the end of July at the latest.

For more information, including the clear investment terms and criteria, apply here.


  • James McClure is a Partner at Antler Australia.