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Antler India Approaches Final Close Of Maiden $75 Million Pre-Seed Fund

The fund is backed by several investors representing six institutional and sovereign wealth investors, including SIDBI, as well as 125 limited partners

Antler India Approaches Final Close Of Maiden $75 Million Pre-Seed Fund
Nitin Sharma and Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founders and general partners at Antler India

Outlook Start-Up Desk

POSTED ON September 22, 2023 10:53 PM

Antler in India, an early-stage investment platform, has closed commitments of Rs 500 crores and is approaching the final close of its maiden $ 75 million pre-seed fund. 

Antler’s India operations and the local fund were set up by Rajiv Srivatsa and Nitin Sharma. The fund is significantly oversubscribed on its base corpus target, and is now completing the exercise of the greenshoe portion to reach nearly double the initial target in 2021, allowing for faster expansion, more reserve capital and additional capabilities to support portfolio startups.

At Rs 600 crores, this is one of the largest pools of venture capital dedicated to the company formation and pre-seed stage in India. The Antler India fund is backed by several marquee investors representing six institutional and sovereign wealth investors (including SIDBI) and 125 limited partners that include more than a dozen unicorn founders. 

With 37,000 founders who have applied, Antler India has a selective (less than 0.2 per cent) funnel for entrepreneurship in the country. Antler has already committed to 45 India investments (in the range of $2,00,000 to $400,000 per investment) in SaaS, fintech, and consumer tech, along with investments in disruptive new themes like Open Network Digital Commerce (ONDC), AI from India, Climate, Web3 infrastructure, Vertical SaaS, and Spacetech. This includes high-growth start-ups and emerging category creators like Adaptive, Apnibus, Bookee, Bold Finance, Covrzy, Gladful, Hexo, IndiaP2P, Inferless, Inspecity, OnArrival, Plotch, Sangti, StepChange, and several others not announced yet. 

Nearly half of the completed investments (27) have already raised follow-on capital. With a deep belief in the grit, ambition and adaptability of the new-age Indian entrepreneur, the fund is now strategically increasing the pace of investments in 2023 despite the market downturn. The fund has also built a full-fledged team of 20, of which 80 per cent have previously worked in start-ups and nearly half have been founders.

Antler’s central theme is “Day Zero Investing”, for both existing teams and single founders looking to build teams. Antler partners with stellar founders at the ideation stage, helping them build teams, validate ideas via a programmatic cohort-based approach, offer post-investment support, and plug them into a vast, global network on Day Zero. 

An example of this Day Zero approach is the Antler-ONDC initiative, launched in collaboration with ONDC, Beckn and Nandan Nilekani, to catalyze talent density and startup creation on the emerging ONDC-Beckn infrastructure layers. Launched six weeks back, the platform has already attracted 600+ aspiring founders and aims to enable the creation of 50+ new ventures. 

Other innovative products launched for the India market include the Antler India Residency (which has enabled the creation of 60+ ventures so far) and Antler India Fellowship (through which 6 investments have been made into startups by student founders).

Nitin Sharma and Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founders and general partners at Antler in India, said, “The fund’s strong performance so far is a testament to the tenacity and ambition of new-age Indian founders like them. We also look forward to partnering with our peer funds in the ecosystem in the course of investing in 100 disruptive startups via this fund. In the next 18 months, besides establishing a physical presence in additional ecosystems like Delhi NCR and Mumbai, we aim to double down on emerging themes and bring a range of capabilities for founders beyond just capital, like we have done for ONDC-Beckn with Mr. Nandan Nilekani and team.”

Antler’s global footprint now includes 27 locations worldwide, touching every vibrant tech ecosystem and enabling access to a powerful network of 900+ other startups. Antler’s global advisory board includes Larry Summers (former US Treasury Secretary), David Fischer (ex-Chief Revenue Officer, Facebook), Todd Ruppert (Retired CEO, T Rowe Price) and Sheila Patel (Former Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management). In June 2023, Antler also announced the final close of its $285 million Antler Elevate fund to support growth-stage startups from Series A onwards.

Antler has offices in 27 locations, including Austin, New York, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Bangalore, Jakarta, Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo, and Sydney. It claims to have helped create and invested in more than 900 start-ups across a wide range of industries and technologies, with the goal of backing more than 6,000 by 2030. 

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