Tyler Norwood Funding Dreams at Antler Global
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[00:00:10] Can I ask you about your water heater itself on the podcast?
[00:00:12] Yeah, of course. I mean, nothing is off limits on me to talk about. It is the crazy I mean, what a funny way to welcome all these new people to Austin. That's what I was thinking of the hundred year winter storm. Um, yeah. And I'd like to see how and I think like. People are unprepared. So, like I've been driving around picking up friends, just like helping how I can and just like people on the streets, like, obviously nobody knows how to drive in the snow. Yeah, I know you're from Indiana, right? Yeah. So it's like you forget that that's a skill that you learned. And you see people I was like sitting at the bottom of airport. That big hill comes down. And there is like seven cars piled up at the bottom. And I just turned off and drove like over a curb through like an abandoned parking lot because there's 10 more cars behind me and I could see all of them just like sliding down the hill.
[00:01:08] I'm not sitting here and letting someone slide in the back of me.
[00:01:11] Exactly. Yeah. I started going down a hill and it was icy because I've been doing the same as you. I've got four wheel drive. I've got a jeep. My friend was staying here since he didn't have power for days. I had to go get him, but people were like getting too close to behind me and I was going down a hillside, roll my window down. I'm like, back up, back up. Because basically it's like just just like driving with no brakes. You have to assume the brakes.
[00:01:31] You just need a lot more time to plan your next move, like you can't do things suddenly. So, yeah, same I had I was driving once and I just pulled over and let a car pass me because of my he's riding right on the back side of me so that I like riding too close and also like, um, you know, you'd be at an intersection where the street is slanted and someone pulls up uphill from you and it's like as soon as you got it, which you're going to do. I can tell that you're going to do your car's going to slide sideways in my car. Um, so that's been interesting. And then just the general I mean I think the larger context is like, why would Texas ever be prepared for this? I think that's like what the news is not talking about is like, oh, how could they be so underprepared or whatever it's like, why would they be like I think I was reading like Urquhart's they did. They're like capacity planning. And, uh, Monday or Sunday night when they started shutting off power, it was like nine thousand megawatt hours above what they thought would ever be the worst case scenario. It was way above that. Yeah. And then you had the problems on the production side and then so that's like the infrastructure side. And then we were talking about like my water heater exploding is like I have a tankless water heater that's just attached to the outside of my house.
[00:02:52] So I just was a goner.
[00:02:56] And I've been watching it all week, just waiting for it to explode because it's like, yeah, I shut water off to it, but all the pipes to it are already frozen inside of it is all frozen for five days now. So I've just been waiting for it to break, you know, what's going to happen. And it's like, why would you do that? It's like, well, because we're in Texas. Like what you're planning for when you build a house here is like during the summer, having your water heater inside, it gets too hot. You're not planning for, like, the house freezing for six days now.
[00:03:28] Yeah, it's crazy. So, yeah, I mean, I think I agree with you on that. There's like a lot of blame game and pointing fingers and, you know, dissing on.
[00:03:36] But I'm sure maybe there are some things that could have been done better. But the end of the day like this is odd.
[00:03:43] I mean, for sure. I think it's probably a good sobering moment for everyone to appreciate, like climate change and that like there are going to start to be and there already are, you know, weather patterns that people aren't used to. And this is these are the ramifications. Um, yeah.
[00:04:00] I wonder the same. I'm like, well, is this climate change like right now? Is that like I mean and then you look at the lowest lows, like the lowest low and also recorded is negative, too. Yeah. I don't know that they've had snow like this.
[00:04:10] So it's like, oh, and I think I think what the real problem was is not the peak loads. The extent I think we're going into day six of it, not going above thirty two degrees, which I was reading, like I think I could be wrong here, but what I read was like the longest Austin in the last fifty years has been below thirty to forty eight hours was sort of the record. Yeah. And today's day six where not a single hour has it surpassed thirty two degrees and most of the time it's been closer like ten. Yeah.
[00:04:41] So at night it's gotten. Yeah. That one night got down to ten. I was like well we're through the worst of it but I was wrong like I mean that was the worst of it. But just the continued freezing level. Exactly.
[00:04:52] And so you have like I think what's all over social media and everything is apartment buildings, you know, which have fire sprinkler systems and really complex plumbing through all of them to get water to all the the apartments. They're not built to survive six days of freezing weather with no power.
[00:05:12] So now we've got a water problem. Yeah. And so they're saying a lot of the pressure problem. They don't know what it's totally from, but they're thinking most of it is from burst pipes and just water just just spraying out everywhere.
[00:05:24] Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
[00:05:25] And so, um, yeah. I mean, it is interesting to think through that lens of sort of the slow change.
[00:05:35] Like, I don't know, I think climate change is such a hard thing for humans to comprehend because it's like such long term consequences. Yeah. Yeah. And we all have you know, you have this what was the Jake Gyllenhaal movie where it's like stuck in the library in New York? Twenty twelve. Oh, man. I don't know if I've seen, uh, where he like.
[00:05:54] So he it's like Dennis Quaid. And Jake Gyllenhaal and there's like this polar vortex that goes across the US and freezes everything or whatever, and so I think we all have this concept of like one day you're going to wake up and the whole world is just going to be fucked in like one big superstorm. But I think really what's going to happen is just like slowly weather patterns are changing and introducing weather to areas that aren't prepared for it.
[00:06:20] And that could be I mean, Texas is a great example is like not prepared if this storm happened in Indiana, like we're all going to where everything's open, everything would be normal, totally normal, because it's all built to handle that.
[00:06:31] Um, so, like, prolonged periods of cold here, uh, I think you're going to start to see areas that struggle with prolonged periods of heat in the summer or excessive rain or just like things that areas aren't prepared for. And that's what I think you appreciate with what's happening here in Texas is like anywhere you are is really only prepared for, like, the normal weather. Because it would be too expensive and too complicated to prepare for, like anything that could possibly happen. Yeah, so, you know, when you build a house in Indiana, for example, like you don't put hurricane windows on houses, because why would you why would there ever be a hurricane in Indiana? Yeah, but yeah, I mean, this definitely brings to light that like, I think I don't think that this will necessarily be an anomaly. I think you'll continue to have, you know, weather events that people aren't necessarily prepared for.
[00:07:23] Yeah, yeah. I mean, things keep going the way they're going. It's very possible.
[00:07:27] Yeah. And then the blame game, too, is like, you know, you've got on both sides of the aisle, like, just. Such a frustrating lack of responsibility about all of it. It's just like this blame game, let's say you've got you know, Ted Cruz is now in trouble because he went to Cancun, which is stupid and better.
[00:07:46] O'Rourke is using this as an opportunity to say, like, well, this wouldn't have happened if I was governor.
[00:07:52] What are you talking about? Like, why would that be a thing to just like on both sides?
[00:07:56] Like, it's all it's not even over yet. And it's already political fodder and it's not being discussed. It's like, what can we do to improve this? What were the underlying problems, etc.? It's just being used for political fodder, whether it's Texas government. I'm like, well, I should have been governor and this would have happened. Or on the federal level, now it's being used for fodder on both sides of like new green deal. So people against that are like, oh, this is why we shouldn't have the new Green Deal and people forwarder like, oh, this is why we should have the new Green Deal. And it's like there's people in Texas right now that don't care about the new Green Deal. They just need help. Yeah. And like, that's what our politicians are supposed to be there for. So it's crazy.
[00:08:39] So, yeah, this should all be over by the time this comes out. It better be. I'd hope so.
[00:08:45] Well, it's going to be funny because Sunday, Sunday's like 70 degrees here and I just feel like driving through the wreckage of Austin and it's like a perfectly nice Gulf weather.
[00:08:54] Yeah. Then then it's just going to be like the property damage issue. You know, the property damages are started, but most people's busted stuff, they probably don't even know. Like, I could have some busted stuff. I don't know. I mean, it could be frozen. And we'll find out tomorrow when everything thaws out how much property damage there is all over the city. All over Texas. Yeah.
[00:09:12] And good time to be a plumber.
[00:09:14] Yeah, I heard plumbers are booked till May and in Austin. So, like, if you do have property damage, it's not only like a burst pipe is a bad thing, but it's going to be a long time until someone can come and fix it. And I have to DIY it up. I mean, honestly, like, if I don't know, do you know if plumbing is licensed to all that snow falling off the roof?
[00:09:35] There's a burst pipe.
[00:09:39] Do you know if plumbers are licensed state by state? I think that they are.
[00:09:44] But I also heard that they are allowing plumbers who have like, I'm not going to get it wrong, but either didn't renew their license or have continued continue their training.
[00:09:52] They're supposed to lock up on their training to keep their license fresh. They're going to let those guys work, too.
[00:09:56] I was going to say, like, they should just pass, like an emergency bill and let out of state plumbers come here and just, like, put like send out a tweet and say, like, hey, if you're a plumber in New Mexico, like, come to Texas, we've got a month and a half of work for you to do.
[00:10:11] That's a good idea. And I hope they do something.
[00:10:13] I mean, they're going to have to do something like that because I mean, you think about the apartment. I think apartment buildings are tough. Do you think about it? I mean, for no one has been to Austin like full of these like huge apartment complexes now, you know, hundreds and hundreds of units, all these madrasas and stuff. Yeah. And like, if the fire sprinkler system exploded, like, how long do you think that would take to fix under normal conditions? Maybe a few days. And then you're talking about you're also competing for that plumber's time and attention from everybody else in the state, including including the government. I mean, the is going to have to use plumbers and construction workers to fix water mains that have been broken and just the general infrastructure. So I think the next the next wave of what we're going through right now is just going to be a lot of people that don't have water.
[00:11:05] Yeah, yeah, because if you're in an apartment, they're not going to turn it on until the whole apartment's fixed. It's true. It's true because they can. No, no, no. It'll be interesting to see how this continues to evolve. Like we were at Home Depot yesterday and everyone is walking out of Home Depot with buckets. Oh, man. Yeah. It's like, man, this is insane.
[00:11:23] Yeah. I don't know if there's much else on that, but it's just the whole thing's been crazy. I've never seen anything like this. I mean, I've only been here for eight years, but I know people that have lived their whole their whole lives and never seen anything like this.
[00:11:31] Oh yeah, for sure. I mean, it's a Texas native. I think it's probably even more. Crazy because they've never experienced, like cold weather like this, I mean, like a winter storm like this. Yeah. So where are you from? Um, I grew up all over the country, um, but mostly like my formative years were split between Boulder and Raleigh, North Carolina. OK, so I'm a mix of, uh, weird hippie boulder skiing energy and southern North Carolina energy. I was in Denver a month ago and I saw Breckenridge. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I grew up out there and then we I was born in North Carolina. And then we returned and then I, uh, I left the US when I graduated college in 2012 and spent six years living overseas. Um, so why did you want to do that? I just wanted to get out of the US. I wanted to go and, uh, sort of pave my own path and experience the rest of the world and sort of challenge myself to make it on my own. Um, and I figured going overseas would be a great way to kind of do that. What did you go? I went to Vietnam. Um, I lived there for almost three and a half years. You must have liked it then. Yeah, it was great in Vietnam. Was awesome. Um, and then I got an opportunity to live in Singapore, uh, twice actually.
[00:12:58] What was the culture like in Vietnam like I mean, how would you compare it to being in America. What did you like about it.
[00:13:03] Obviously very different culture. So it's a it's a fairly secular culture. So most of Vietnam is not, um, hyper religious like the Vietnamese culture is. I guess like Confucianist, so the sort of main shared connective tissue of religion is just respect to your heritage and your ancestors. There's not a lot of formal religion. So there's Buddhism in Vietnam of various shapes and forms. There's Christianity, particularly Catholicism in Vietnam, from just, um, missionaries being there in the French occupation, introduced a lot of people to Christianity, et cetera. But most people are not religious. So that informs the culture a lot. Um, and obviously it's a communist country, um, which I think a lot of people misunderstand, like communism affects how things work from a top down level. But Vietnam is incredibly, uh, free market. Like, people are very enterprising. They're very entrepreneurial.
[00:14:13] They have a lot of.
[00:14:16] Um, in the culture is very focused on sort of self efficacy, so it is it is very much a culture of. Every man for himself and then in small communities will take care of each other and help each other. It's not collectivist the same way that, say, Japan is.
[00:14:38] Um, and I think a lot of that is informed from, um, just the last 50 years of history in Vietnam.
[00:14:46] So, I mean, at this point, it's probably more than 70 percent of the population of Vietnam is less than 30 is a very young population. Wow. So a lot of people always ask, like, well, how do they feel about Americans? And my responses like, well, how do you feel about Germans? Right. Which is like most of the country was not alive during the Vietnam War. So to them, it's history and they don't hold any sort of animosity or really memory of like the American war. So that's not a thing. That's a question I get all the time. Like people mean to you. Like now like, um. So what's after Vietnam? And then I moved to Singapore, so I was part of building a company called the Laura in Vietnam, which is part of a larger group across the region that was headquartered out of Singapore. OK, so what did they do to the Laura Passione Commerce Company? OK, um, so after about a year and a half of, um, just doing kind of anything to survive, I was teaching English. I was doing an internship like a free internship at a private equity fund, um, that I had just kind of I just walked up to the office and said, hey, we met when I first came here, when I first went over to Vietnam with my university. So there was a group of 12 of us with one of our professors. And so that, like, paid for the trip over there. And then I just stayed.
[00:16:13] Everybody else found a job.
[00:16:16] And so I went and we met this group, this private equity group while we were there. And so I went back and I was like, I don't know if you remember me. I was here, you know, a few months ago. Is there any way I can work here? And he was like, yeah, but like, we can't sponsor a visa for you and I can't really pay you anything. So it's like, I'll tell you, one hundred dollars a month in cash. I was like, that's perfect. And so I did that during the day and then taught English nights and weekends for about a year, a little little over a year. And then and then I got my first real job at Cilauro after I had been there for a little while. I think it was like after the period of I was no longer a cultural liability. I'd like been in Vietnam long enough where getting hired into a real company was no longer a huge risk. Um. It wasn't like a flight risk. I proved that like I was there long enough that I wasn't just going to, like, disappear to Bali. That makes sense. And I wasn't a culture risk in the sense of like, um, you know, one thing I didn't appreciate when I first went over there is like it's really tough to just throw somebody into a culture that they have no experience with and expect it to work well. And so I understood Vietnamese culture well enough to, like, work in the office and hire people and everything.
[00:17:29] Um, and then.
[00:17:31] Uh, what I was working the company I was with the business unit inside of that company I was working on, which was the marketplace business, we I watched the first one in Vietnam. It did really, really well. So then I got moved to Singapore to help, uh, launch it across Southeast Asia. And then the lower group as a whole got bought and rolled up into global fashion group, OK, which was five different companies, all doing fashion e-commerce in Southeast Asia, India, Russia, the Middle East, Australia and Latin America. And that was headquartered out of Singapore, and so I got promoted and pulled into that group and then same thing, so they were like, all right, now we want all five of these companies, which had there were twenty one countries that had operations. They said we want all twenty one countries to have a marketplace business model. And so that was the team that I worked on is launching and implementing that. So it was definitely started, you know, in the kitchen, as they say, like, you know, sweeping the floors and, um, you know, doing a lot of really manual, um, boring work and teaching English and this and that. But I think just staying there long enough eventually got into some really cool opportunities that ended up defining a big part of my career.
[00:18:54] So you were at this company that you guys launched into all these other different places, I mean, they moved you from one country to another, right? Yeah. So, I mean, what did you learn then? Working for them?
[00:19:07] Um, I mean, so many things, I think, uh, I got a great appreciation for a lot of different cultures. I worked in Vietnam or Singapore. I worked with a lot of Germans. I worked with a lot of Italians. I worked with a lot of Indians. I worked with Russians and Brazilians. And so got a real appreciation for the different ways cultures operate and do work. Um, so, like, one of the funniest projects I worked on, we had a technology team in Germany and an operating team in India. And so I would fly from Delhi to Berlin and back and forth. And I was doing a product manager work to help launch a new tool that would help the operations in India run a marketplace successfully. And it was like the two of us. Opposite were cultures I think you could possibly pick out of a hat.
[00:19:59] What how are the different? Well, so German. I think time is probably the easiest one. We're Germans are you know, it's a cliche, but Germans are very punctual. They take very seriously.
[00:20:09] It's like if the meeting starts at one o'clock, like that's when we're going to be we're going to be there at, you know, twelve fifty nine, twelve fifty eight. And the meeting's going to go and it's going to be efficient and tight. And Indians are and this is not just India. Vietnam has this to it's like in Vietnam is called stretch your time and stretch your time is like different cultures have a different appreciation for it. In Vietnam, it's roughly 30 minutes, which is like as long as you're within a 30 minute window of when something was supposed to start, it's considered OK. It would be rude to get angry about it and it changes. So like you have more stretchy time for social engagements than you do for professional engagements. So professional, maybe 15 minutes. And India has very similar work culture. Um, and so like those two things don't vibe.
[00:20:57] So I'd like have a meeting with like Germans on one side and he's on the other side is like I had to start telling people different meeting times so that everybody gets there and there's like not already animosity in the room because the Germans are mad, the Indians are late and the Indians are mad. The Germans are upset about it.
[00:21:13] Yeah. And so, like, nobody's in a productive mindset.
[00:21:18] And so, yeah, I learned a lot about that, um, I also learned a lot about myself in the sense of, like, I've got a real appreciation for. Um, I think the culture of Zadora and Global Fashion Group and especially the team that I worked with was like nothing was off the table as long as we just try to get it done right. And so we got a real appreciation for like what you can accomplish. So global fashion group iPod in Germany in twenty seventeen. Um, and the whole time, like the entire time, there wasn't really any ever a period through the when I started in Vietnam the was a fairly humble operation and then it ended up being in this I think Global Fashion Group at one period was a three point two billion dollar company. It never stopped feeling like all the wheels were going to fall off for me. At no point did it feel like we were like we finally did it. Like everything's going super smoothly. If anything, it felt like they were just more problems as you continued to progress through. And so that was a big learning for me that like it's mostly about just continuing to make decisions and get things done and execute. And there's never really this feeling of like you did. Like, there's there's never a completion. Like building a company is not that there's no end game or completion. You can have, like, personally, like, OK, I left obviously or for a founder exited or somebody bought the company or whatever dad. But like during the process, there's no point where I ever felt like we did it. You know, it was like, well, what's the next hill that we're going to conquer? And so got a great appreciation for just like work ethic. And the ability to execute is something that I. Considered so valuable when, you know, I'm I'm an investor now, and so that's something that I'm very biased towards founders who are like really action biased. Um, and you don't have to have the best academic explanation for what you're doing. But if you're incredibly action biased and can out execute and move other people like I'm I'm a big fan of that.
[00:23:27] Yeah. I want to ask you more questions along those lines when we get more into antlered and stuff like that. So after this company, at what point did you leave that the whole company in that situation, you said that IPO in Germany, right? Yeah. When did you leave?
[00:23:45] So I left GFP in twenty seventeen. Um. I was I was like tost, I was just really burned out with work and I had been traveling, you know, I was I had been doing like serious traveling like India to Germany, to Moscow, back to Singapore, and really stressful, like there was a lot of pressure on what we were doing. And so in twenty seventeen, I decided to leave and I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do yet. So I, I gave myself a year like sabbatical. That's a good idea. Yeah. And what I told myself was I can do this year sabbatical, but I have to do something really challenging during that period. It doesn't necessarily have to be work, but I have to keep my personal momentum like self-esteem, momentum. And so I got super obsessed with endurance sports. Um, so twenty, seventeen. I did two marathons at the Vietnam Marathon in the Singapore Marathon, which I wouldn't advise for anybody to do anything.
[00:24:55] What's up with them?
[00:24:56] Well, when I cross the finish line, the Vietnam Marathon, it happens in Danang, which is in the middle of the country. A lot of people who go to Vietnam are familiar with a Hawaiian, with the land and city. Danang is the main city right out of that. It's where all the American soldiers flew in and out of so during the Vietnam War, actually Danang was the busiest airport in the world. In fact, one great city, cool city, beach town. When I crossed the finish line of the Vietnam Marathon, it was Fahrenheit, one hundred and two degrees with like seventy five percent humidity. So it was ideal conditions to be running a marathon. And then Singapore, very similar. I mean, Singapore has. Tropical weather all year long, but it's great the Singapore Marathon was awesome because it goes through basically the middle of the city, which is really cool. Um. And then did so I did those two and then I moved back to Boulder and continued training and then I did Iron Man. Seventy three in Boulder. What's Ironman? Seventy three. So it's a half Ironman. OK, what's a full Ironman? So full Ironman is one hundred and forty two.
[00:26:10] It is it is it all on float or not.
[00:26:12] I mean no. So it's swim bike run. Same but you've got. Oh man. Should I look it up or just guess. I can just guess.
[00:26:20] You can just guess. It doesn't matter. People can fact check it later.
[00:26:23] It's like one one point two mile swim open water swim and then fifty six mile bike. It's like a half century basically and then a half marathon. Gotcha. Just back to back to back. Um it's reasonable. Yeah. Yes it is. Um I mean I think for me it's sort of the border of reason I would love. It's like there's there's a piece of me inside that's lying dormant right now that wants to do a full Ironman and probably will at some point. Um, but it's just like a whole different ballgame. Yeah. Because you're talking about. So this took me six, six, six hours and twenty five minutes. Twenty five or forty five let's say forty five probably. But so a full Ironman and you're talking about twelve hours.
[00:27:11] That's pretty nuts. Yeah. I mean so. It's not like running a marathon is great, you know, people train and but the full Ironman is I think mentally it's a totally different ballgame. And then physically, it's not just about endurance like it really it's like survival.
[00:27:31] I mean, you're talking about having to strategically plan to eat. A lot of calories during that whole thing, hydrating strategies become an issue like retaining water becomes and I mean even in the half Ironman, you sort of run into a metabolic problem, which is like I can't physically like I can't hold down enough calories without throwing up. To keep up with how many I'm consuming, so I'm at some point during this race, I'm going to have to just start gliding on whatever my body can produce and then same with water. So a lot of times, like you take salt tablets to try to retain water, but it's a very similar thing where, like, you just can't physically drink enough water to keep fully hydrated. And so and anyone who's done a race like that, I mean, people who do marathons, too, like if you want any indication of how difficult it is for your body, like the first time you piss after you do in Ironman, it looks like radioactive waste because your body is just gone through such great lengths to continue metabolizing energy. And yeah, I mean, it's definitely not good for your kidneys or liver, but it's a great challenge. So anyways, I digress. My year sabbatical was to take a year off of work. I dabbled in some things. I dabbled with hydroponic farming and did some projects for random people, but I mainly focused on full time training. And then so that was so then after that, I went back to Singapore and helped start Anwer. That was my two different stints in Singapore. OK, so you helped start antler. Yeah. So magnis. So throughout that whole Zuloaga trip, I had one boss the entire time bagginess like he was my boss when I first got hired. Well, when I first got hired, he was like my department boss. He was the CEO and he oversaw marketplace operations. So I had a boss in Vietnam, like my my, um, straight line.
[00:29:36] How did you get wind of antler?
[00:29:37] I mean, how to also sew than I had in twenty eighteen when I moved back. Singapore Magnússon.
[00:29:44] I had worked together for six years plus and so.
[00:29:50] I finished the race, I went back to Southeast Asia for a wedding of a colleague in the Philippines, and Magnus and I went up in Singapore and then we went to the wedding together also not together, but we were both there. And he started talking about Heyler like the whole time, like we talked about in Singapore. And then we talked about it multiple times in the Philippines. And by the time I left the trip, I told him like. It sounds good, like let me get back to the US and sort of so I was kind of in a weird spot, too, because I like finish the Ironman. So it was like, all right. Like I, you know, sabbaticals kind of coming to an end. I'm going to have to figure out what to do next. And I remember I got back like, you know, it's obviously a pretty long flight, so I had a lot of time to think on the way from the Philippines back to Colorado. And I remember I like walked into my apartment, dropped my bags, picked up my phone and call Magnus. And I was like, I'm in. Like, send me send me what I need to know, but I'm in I'll be in Singapore in a month and my lease was up. It was like a perfect year in Colorado. My lease was up. I didn't renew. I packed up everything, my two dogs and moved back to Singapore. And at that time there were seven of us in our. And yeah, we were just sitting in like a small we work in Singapore and Magnus had this vision and they had developed it out a bit and yeah, I guess close to three years later, here we are. So, you know, it has how big is Dentler now? So we have 12 locations around the world. We've got two hundred plus employees.
[00:31:33] We've invested in close to three hundred companies around the world. So, yeah, it's again, it's it's very similar to the days there's Alora, which is like very humble beginnings. And then you kind of look back, know like, wow, we've made like a lot of progress here. And also that same feeling of things can it doesn't get you don't feel like things are. Reaching some sort of completion, like your list of like things to do better and continue improving just continues to grow, which I love. I mean, for however stressful it is, like that's the only thing I've ever really found that motivates me. It's just like an endless list of things to keep thinking about and getting better and improving, you know, like Sherlock Holmes syndrome of like he's not on a case.
[00:32:24] He's just going to be a drunk in his room. That makes sense.
[00:32:28] So, yeah, that's how. And then I moved back to New York in twenty nineteen. So Singapore is up and running. We have launched Stockholm, we have launched a few other locations. And I said, um, I was at the time the only American partner and I said, hey, I think there could be really successful in the US. I think it's going to be a little bit different than what we're doing given that it's such a developed market.
[00:32:51] But I want to go and develop market as far as VXI goes.
[00:32:55] So for sure. I mean, the US market is probably ten years ahead of any other market and an order of magnitude larger in volume and velocity, etc..
[00:33:07] Was that a reason for starting in Singapore or was it that starting in Singapore was more just our background?
[00:33:14] So Magnus have been there forever.
[00:33:18] The Singaporean government was super supportive of what we were doing and actually helped us get off the ground. Like starting an investment fund is not the easiest thing to do. Yeah, how do you start an investment fund?
[00:33:28] Yeah, so it's a little bit more complicated and like anybody can start a well, anyone can start a fund, but like starting companies like Inc and then just start doing what you're doing, like starting an investment fund means you're managing other people's money, which comes with like a lot of regulated. How do you get their money. Yeah. So.
[00:33:44] So the.
[00:33:48] What is it, um, must monitor monetary authority of Singapore, which is like it's a combination of the Fed and the S.E.C. in the US, um, they helped us get all the licenses that we need needed to be a financial services company.
[00:34:05] Um, yeah. But essentially, like so probably the most useful thing, like the context in the US who seek overseas investment services companies and there are a lot of different rules. You've got FINRA, which is, you know, anyone who works in a bank is an investment manager. There's a long list of different FINRA certifications that there are. This is interesting because it's carved in it's own little pocket of S.E.C. legislation, um, under RECD, which was the Jobs Act. So like Obama's Jobs Act actually liberalized legislation around investment management in a way that allowed VC to really proliferate in the United States. So traditionally, like being a financial services company man, you know, you were under. More or less, the same regulations and oversight is like a full on bank, and so it was very difficult, it was expensive, it was logistically very difficult. Now Vicky basically falls under RECD.
[00:35:12] You've got five or six be five or 60, which are two exemptions that allow, you know, within certain limitations a venture capital fund to manage people's money and make discretionary investments into private companies or startups. And so one of the reasons why and there's a million and I don't think there's any consensus around like how and why there's so many different reasons, real bullies, bigotry. But I think one of the reasons why is proliferated in the United States is because of the liberalization that like it is not as hard to start a VC fund in the US as it is in other places also.
[00:35:51] I mean, I feel like startup culture is just big here. I mean.
[00:35:54] Yeah, right. Yeah. And I mean, the US is in like, you know, we went through the dot. I mean, the US is somewhere in Gen five, Gen six of like 10 year cycles of startup innovation, which plants a lot of interesting seeds that support a very robust venture ecosystem. So you have I mean, take Austin, for example, like you have all of the Dell guys here that was like a generation, arguably two generations before the current innovation cycle that we're in right now. But those guys are all here. They have money. They have expertize, you know, that those seeds help support continued innovation happening. Um, I would say China's venture capital scene is catching up to the US very quickly and in different ways. Um, and then from a per capita basis like Israel. So Israel, you know, is obviously just a handicap from the perspective, like total size, small nation. But from a per capita perspective, like Israel has an incredibly well built out venture capital ecosystem. It interacts with the government very, very well. Um, so we may not get into it today, but like group eighty eight and how all that works in Israel with their venture ecosystem is incredibly fascinating.
[00:37:18] Like it's very well plugged into how the government operates or what is group it basically. So uh, I can give a I'll get out of my depth really fast here but my group eighty eight is essential. So um, Israeli citizens. Israel has conscription. Right. Everyone has to do military service. So group eighty eight is sort of the smartest and best and brightest get pulled into intelligence essentially. So the intelligence operations, um and obviously cyber intelligence is a huge specialty of Israel. So essentially the military trains, it's like elite force of cyber intelligence, um, young people like 20 year olds and when they finish their conscription service, they often go and start companies. And so group group a.D.A has become like the MIT or Stanford like stamp of approval in Israel. Like if someone went through group eighty, you have a very good shortcut to know that, like there are very good computer scientists or very good intelligence of cybersecurity officer, whatever it is. And so there's this huge ecosystem which has been built around like. VCs kind of just sit at the exit of group idea and say, like, once you leave, just tell us what you want to build and we'll we'll find you. That's pretty sweet. Yeah. And so it's cool that and that's why I say, like, it's cool because it's integrated into the government or like the government is actually helping provide that training and that infrastructure. Um, whether that would necessarily work outside of a small country like Israel, I don't know. I don't think you could, like, copy that in. The US, but it's really interesting, so I think per capita, Israel has an incredibly fascinating venture ecosystem.
[00:39:02] OK, so we were kind of just comparing this in different places. But let's go back to antlered. You know, there's a lot of venture capital firms, right?
[00:39:10] So and they don't all kind of really operate the same way. They all perform one function, at least that they have in common, which is investing in other companies to then get equity in them. Yeah, but some of them do other things. I saw that antler like you guys.
[00:39:22] I mean, or it seems like you're a combination between a VC and like an incubator almost. Is that true?
[00:39:29] Um, I think so. In other locations, especially, we do programs where we bring people in and help them form cofounding teams and are, um, really focused on helping build that connective tissue of like where do people find their co-founders? And like the very sort of gestational period of launching a company in the US, we don't do the same programs, mostly because that connective tissue of people finding their co-founders is actually really well built out in the US. And so we didn't feel like that was necessarily a lot like angel lists and other things, or I think it's happening through school and through the companies people work at. Right. So really good founders are meeting potential co-founder matches when they go to undergrad or they go to do their masters, or they're going and working at really fast growing company and meeting people that they could start a company with that way. So like that infrastructure is happening and that's one of the benefits and one of the momentum drivers of, um. VXI Eco-System is are there sort of entry level jobs in venture backed companies that people can go into and see what it looks like from the inside, pick up useful skills, whether it's I'm an engineer and I'm going and learning like what is an engineering team look like in a VC backed software company? Or I'm a bad guy or I'm a product manager or I'm this or that. So you pick up useful skills, you build a really strong network. So you meet a bunch of other people of of different backgrounds that you could start a company with in the future.
[00:41:12] Um, and then I think you also like, pick up.
[00:41:16] Um, sort of a useful signal on your CV, which is like, you know, I'm ex Uber, ex Airbnb or X this or X that, that's become a huge signal in the US economy of OK, well, if I'm looking for a hardware engineer in this guy's X space X, I can assume he's probably a pretty good hardware engineer. Are there caveats to those type of risks? Yeah, 100 percent. Right. You get a lot of group think you get a lot of concentration of opportunities.
[00:41:47] So I'm someone who I didn't go to Ivy League school. I went to a school that nobody outside North Carolina really knows about. Um, and I don't have I didn't go to HBS or Sloan or GSB, and so I had to take this very roundabout, like, well, I'm just gonna go travel the world and have a very interesting story to have a CV that would.
[00:42:10] Got me into the conversations that I would want to have from an opportunity perspective, and those horrific shortcuts do make it more difficult for people who don't follow that kind of traditional path. Selek. Those companies, those venture backed like Silicon Valley darlings, they've essentially just extended like they're the Ivy League symbols of the private markets, right. And so all the same problems that exist with Ivy, like looking at someone and judging them based on the fact that they went to Harvard, exist with those. Is it a useful shortcut? Yes. Are there caveats? 100 percent. You know, it's not a guarantee that guy who worked in Space X may still be an idiot. It's not a guarantee, but it's good. It's a good shortcut. Yeah. And so we don't focus so much on the helping people find their co-founders because we tend to find that that function is is fairly robust here in the US, where we do see a gap is that first, you know, let's call it two hundred thousand dollars into the company. Right. So that portion of of starting a company has yet to be fully institutionalized in the US. There's a ton of companies out there that are still raising friends and family around or self-financing the company. Um, and so, you know, going back to the representation diversity in venture capital is. If the VC game is you have all these seed funds that will write multimillion dollar checks at multi ten million dollar valuations, but to get a ticket to that game, you've got to figure out on your own accord the first two hundred to five hundred thousand dollars into the company that automatically discloses a huge portion of people just like I mean, and that's the thing I think a lot of people in tech don't appreciate is that like just expecting people to, like, hustle their way to finding two hundred thousand dollars to launch a company that has a 90 percent chance of failure if you have the opportunity that you're incredibly privileged.
[00:44:16] But if you have the opportunity to do that over and over and over again until you succeed, that's a huge advantage.
[00:44:23] I mean, economically, like a massive advantage, because if you can get onto a fast growing company that does succeed and does create an exit, I don't I, I, I haven't seen any faster way to create financial security or wealth than that. And so if you have the opportunity to keep taking shots at doing that over and over again, like you're in a great position. And so part of what we're doing is saying, well, can we fill that gap? Like, can we make it so that it's not what you have friends and family that can give you two hundred K and to be a VC firm that says, hey, look, we're looking for really smart founders who are very passionate about specific problems, who you know, what I mentioned in the very beginning, who are action biased are great executor's. It doesn't matter if you went to an Ivy League school or worked at Uber, worked at Airbnb. Do you have a like can you contextualize for us difficult things that you've done in the past that show that like you have an action bias and are action oriented? Um, and if so, we would love to be the first person to write you a check to take a shot at getting that company to sit around and so filling that so that we can further open the gates to make entrepreneurship a true career path for more people. And that's the ultimate thing.
[00:45:44] It's very interesting. I like that a lot of not heard that approach. Yeah. And so.
[00:45:49] I I don't I don't think we're the only people doing this, like this isn't necessarily like groundbreaking novel idea. I think it's more so about like the execution. Like, it's it's just really difficult, because if you're going downstream and looking at where founders are first starting companies, we have way less data. Yeah, we have way more people to look through and decide who we invest in. So it's a lot of hard work and there's. I mean, I would probably say 10 to 20, maybe 30 years of work that we have to look forward to to really figure out how to do this correctly and how. To I personally think entrepreneurship is the future career for everybody that. You know, people are not going to graduate school and look at like, well, what company will hire me? People are going to graduate school or not graduate school or just skip school and say, what do I really care about and what am I good at? And how can I have an impact on the world and all the infrastructure they need to go out and build that company will be there.
[00:46:53] I would love for that to be the way that it is would be awesome. Yeah. I mean, no argument against that is like we need employees still. So like not everyone can be an entrepreneur. People have to hire people.
[00:47:02] Yeah. For sure. But that's what I would say. OK, so that's a good point. So let me caveat that with anyone who wants to be an entrepreneur can be gotcha. And the reality is, just like there are a lot of people who don't want to be an entrepreneur, and that's totally fine. I also think it's like high horse judgmental approach to like, well, you're just not you just don't have what it takes to be an entrepreneur. What it takes to be an entrepreneur is wanting to be an entrepreneur and just having a realistic expectation of like there are upsides to being a founder versus an employee.
[00:47:31] And there are a lot of downsides. And everyone should have the opportunity to make a decision on what side of that line they would want to be on. But even if you did say like, well, and people can flip flop, you can say I've been an employee, have been a founder, I've done this, I've done that it even if you say I want to be an employee, like I don't want to burden and responsibility of having to decide where the ship is going all the time. I want to come into work. I want to do my job. I want to be part of something that I care about. And I want to go home and spend time with family and, you know, play golf and do that or whatever it is. That's fine. If you had more companies and more founders, people would have more options to choose something that they felt passionate about or say, like, I love what this company is doing. I want to go and help them succeed.
[00:48:16] Yeah, that not that's just like meat grinder, like everyone joined Xerox and you just like it's just a war of attrition is like who can survive the longest.
[00:48:25] Yeah. Yeah. I love that. More startups, more variety in work and then also more solutions to different problems and stuff like that. And then you're also making entrepreneurship. The reason a lot of people don't do it. It's not because a lot of people don't want to I feel like is that it feels very inaccessible. And I know that. Yeah, it's as simple as like thinking you want to deciding what your thing is, finding out of what it takes, what resources you need to gather, what skills you need together to make that happen. But it still feels very inaccessible, I would say, to most people, and maybe that's false that they feel that way.
[00:48:55] But A, what do you say?
[00:48:58] If I were to ask you, like what what do you think are the factors that drive that feeling of it being inaccessible?
[00:49:06] I bet a lot of it is people see things on news articles or on TV and they have an idea in their head that, like, you need to get you have to get this money. Yeah, this money is hard to get. Yeah. How do I people think that a lot of people I feel like they have an idea and then they don't think any more than like a lot of people who are at the stage that they think the idea is worth something that is worth nothing like, you know, it's like it's kind of just putting pen to paper or starting to work, starting the work, you know. Yeah. A lot of people think it's either too hard or, I don't know, they just don't really do it.
[00:49:43] Yeah, yeah, I agree with that. I mean, so I think that it's financially inaccessible. I mean, even if you're in, it's less so than it used to be, so that's improving, which is great. I think that every year, as more and more sort of off the shelf infrastructure becomes available, it becomes less financially inaccessible, meaning that, like, if you and I started an Internet company 15 years ago, we'd have to spend who knows how much money to just build our own servers. Like that's just a hygiene factor, like one one or zero. Do you have enough money to build a server so you can host whatever website you're going to build?
[00:50:25] That's what I should have said, financial accessibility first.
[00:50:28] Because really, if people say it takes money to make money and I mean, it is kind of true, it's hard like you have to market your stuff. You have to have some money. It has to be spent unless you have something very unique and great and you somehow have some kind of huge network. Yeah. So, yeah. And then also I think time, too, because if you're already working full time and you have just enough money to like you're paying your bills, maybe have some savings. Yeah. You don't have any time and you don't really have any money to be able to even do it.
[00:50:53] Yeah, well I mean that's the point too. I think when you. So from a financial and accessible perspective, like a lot of people, it's table stakes, which is like not I'm not it's not even just about do I have enough money to invest in this company? It's like if I'm going to do this full time for the entire period where I'm not paying myself, like, who's paying the bills? Like I have a mortgage payment, a car payment and kids tuition and food and all these different things. And, you know, that's that's not a negligible amount of money for anybody. Right. So I think that's number one. And so asking people to say, you you have to build up enough savings to invest in the company and get it off the ground and also float all of your other cost for however long it takes for this venture to sort of get off the ground. So I would say that's number one, which if you look at.
[00:51:52] The problem on that side, in my opinion, is, is infrastructure, there is no lack of money out there, if anything, right now what you're seeing in the financial markets is actually pressure being created by so much money trying to figure out a place to find yield because you have the bond markets are dead. You know, we're in a zero interest rate environment. So take however many billion, trillion dollars that would traditionally sit in bonds. It's now floating around the market trying to find other places to live. What's your opinion on Bitcoin?
[00:52:22] I think that, uh.
[00:52:26] I let's let's come back to that, because I would like to talk about that for a while and hear your thoughts, but so that is like so the financial accessibility, I think, is like an infrastructure problem.
[00:52:37] Like if you can help connect people who are passionate and want to build companies that can or could or should or will change the world, there's a lot of money out there looking for exposure to that stuff. But you have to find a way to make those things compatible so that money can flow into early stage ventures. So something like Alor is a tool to help make that happen, just like we raise money from investors and then we go through and do the work of trying to find out what are early stage ventures that we can give money.
[00:53:06] What's a picture perfect investment for antler? What does that look like?
[00:53:09] Like when we make the investment?
[00:53:11] The person, the company?
[00:53:13] Yeah, I don't know. I think it's dangerous to answer that question because I think actually one of the one of the really challenging things about being an investor is if you ever decide what a picture perfect investment looks like, you'll miss the next great investment. So it's like this constant process of building really strong beliefs and conviction and then exposing them until they break down and evolve into something else. And so I would say on the baseline, like from a team perspective, so the team is super passionate about what they're doing.
[00:53:44] Where are they? Where is the team at? So far in their product, they have monthly recurring revenue that they know.
[00:53:49] I mean, we've worked with teams that don't have even a product, don't even have a pitch deck. And how do they convince you to give them money, mostly based on what they've done before?
[00:54:00] Hey, listeners, just before this episode is over, I'm going to give you one more quick, friendly reminder to please like and subscribe to the podcast on your favorite podcast player. Thanks again. OK, that what you're saying their track record.
[00:54:10] Yeah. So it's like, well, tell me that you've done cool, exciting things before that were challenging and hard and you didn't give up and you fought through and you made things happen or whatever and I can work off of that.
[00:54:19] And what kind of investment would you give them? A runway type investments where they can stop working and fund their projects.
[00:54:24] So we usually write like one hundred and fifty to two hundred K check after work. So we would bring a founder in, give them a small amount of money up front to, to work. So um, say a founder comes and says, you know, she's super passionate about climate change, she's got a background in climate change, so know she's credible. So something called like team product fit I'm a big fan of, which is like, does it make sense that you're the right person to build this company or can I trust that you understand the space you're going into, um, to be competitive? Um, a track record of action bias. Right. So tell me, I don't care where you went to school. I don't care where you worked at. But tell me, you know, interesting, challenging, difficult things that you've experienced in life and overcome. And that could be across the gamut. That could be people overcoming adversity that they had absolutely no control over coming out of really difficult childhood situation or coming out of poverty or whatever. Um, or it could be something that people chose to do, say like, well, you know, I decided that I wanted to do this and I spent three years just grinding and figuring it out until I accomplished it. So looking for that and I can work off of that.
[00:55:39] OK, so when you have that person, they come in, they they present it probably in talks with them before they come in. And you have meetings, right. Like the submit a form, send an email, you weed through all that, they come in, you have a sit down meeting with one or more partners.
[00:55:53] Yeah. What's the decision look like. The person leaves. How is this decision being made? What kind of things are you guys discussing? I mean, obviously you're discussing, of course, the track record, as you just mentioned. Anything else like what's this meeting look like? If you're talking to your partner?
[00:56:05] It's usually, ah, it's a broader team. So all of our directors, everyone who's interacting with the founder has a voice in this conversation, which I think adds a lot of perspective to what we're doing, especially more and more. So I find, like a lot of our younger staff have a lot of perspectives on. You're starting to see a lot of GenZE founders. And I always love to put the emphasis on them and say, like, before I say anything, I want to know how you feel about this, because, you know, for better or worse, you and I are now we're the Gen X to our millennial, right. Like when we were millennials and we were cool and we were shaking things up. And you look at Gen X, you like, oh, these are like boring thirty and four year olds that have houses. We're now that generation. And so I always feel, you know, looping in our younger people and sort of deputizing them to say, like, I want you to have an opinion about this. Like, I don't I don't culturally understand what they're talking. I can look at what they're talking about through a business lens. But when they say people are doing this and that, I don't know. That's not me. That doesn't represent me. I would never do what they're talking about. So I want to hear your opinion. So we generally have a conversation around the team and I try to guide people around those specific things. Just how do we feel about team product fit? And they don't have to have a product, but they need to have a. Vision of what they want to build. So how do we feel about sort of their passion for the project? I think a really easy shortcut for me to weed out founders is why do you want to build this company?
[00:57:35] And to me, the best answer is because I just can't sleep at night knowing that this problem isn't solved. Like they're just incredibly focused and obsessed with the problem they're trying to fix. The worst answer is some.
[00:57:47] And people never say this, but you can sort of peel through the onion or read between the lines, say that, you know, they just picked up whatever was hot on the Internet and they want to be a founder and they want to be rich and wealthy and all the things that come with that, the people may pull it off, but they may.
[00:58:05] But I think, like, if you invest over a long enough period of time, they're sort of disproportionate, like netnet that cohort of founders is going to lose money for you. It makes sense. And I don't think it's a good reason to back somebody. Right, like investors aren't backing bonds and they can become like, yeah, it's like, well, why should I back you? And if you walked into v.C me and say, well, I shot back, I could because I want to be rich, like you get laughed out of the room. And so people come up with all sorts of ways to explain around that. We're like, oh, I think this is so high right now. So that's a big one that I always frame and we discuss about is like how do we feel about the motivation and sort of obsession of this founder with this problem? Because it's also a problem they're going to have to spend a really long time with.
[00:58:52] So you'd want them to present more of their passion before they start talking about numbers.
[00:58:56] We'll usually like we don't talk about numbers because they don't have it. Yeah, OK. So it's like you're getting into the quantitative stuff at this stage that we invest. Is is. I would say misleading at best and sort of damaging at worst, like it's all going to be made up if I ask you to come up with numbers, you're just going to make them up.
[00:59:16] Yeah, like, I don't know if, like, you want to know how big is the market for the product? For sure. Those kinds of things. But yeah, they're still fairly loose even knowing those.
[00:59:24] Yeah. And so what we're currently working on doing a better job of as a firm is understanding and having very well thought out ideas of the areas that we are interested in. So that's like one big initiative that I'm working on right now is like we see founders across the board building all sorts of different kinds of things. And so what we're working on right now to really step up and we're here is to say if we try to do everything for everybody, the level of service and quality and the value that we're going to bring to our portfolio companies is not going to be maximized. And so can we pick certain areas and those areas can change and evolve over time. But can we pick certain areas and already have an opinion about how we feel about that market and the competition, et cetera, so that we can screen and say, OK, right now we're focused on financial inclusion. That's a thesis that we're super focused on.
[01:00:18] So we can screen out and just look for founders who are doing that. And obviously we can guide that by doing marketing and making people aware that, like, this is the type of stuff we're looking for right now.
[01:00:27] I was going to say it's a bit of a bummer for some people coming in there, though, because they might be have something that they think is great. It could be great. But you're kind of you're looking at a particular direction right now. So they're just going to get weeded out for sure and.
[01:00:37] Well, yeah. And I think, like, it's always this balancing act of like, if you yes. We could miss out on some great opportunities by doing that every once in a while. But we're going to add so much more value to the founders that we do work with. Is your not more expertize. Yeah, if we're knowledgeable and aware and have opinions about the space and then for us instead of each team. So one of the challenges is like, all right, I meet a founder who's building a beauty brand and then I meet a founder and she's building a A.I. software for lawyers.
[01:01:08] And then I meet a founder who's building an electric car company or whatever. It's impossible for me to contact, switch and add a ton of value for all those different founders because they need someone who understands the different markets and needs someone who understands the competitive environment. They need someone who has a network and can make connections in the areas that are going to be important for them. And so. I think the trade off and this is what we're going through right now. I think the trade off to say. Here's what we're focused on right now. We're going to bring in really strong founders and then we are going to sort of weed them out. And so to your question is, what it helps us do is right now, if I meet those three founders, I'm going to get really distracted by trying to figure out my opinion about those business models and spend less time focusing on how I feel about the founding team, which I think is the real key to unlocking this. If I already if I say we're going to do an electric car sprint and I already have my opinion about how I feel about electric cars and where there are opportunities.
[01:02:10] What are some of the pitfalls, et cetera, et cetera, then I can screen it down to electric car companies and really hyper focus on trying to find those founders who somebody else may miss because they're too early. They don't have recurring revenue yet, this, that or whatever, and say, I want to take a bet on you because I think you guys are a fantastic team. And that's where I think we can unlock kind of the final piece of that's the part of venture investing that hasn't been institutionalized is how do you at scale invest in people that have almost almost don't have a business, seems to seems like the riskiest section. Well, risk in an investment scenario is is is priced. And so my my thesis is. From a price risk perspective, it's actually not OK because so well, how much equity you're getting when you write the check to them. So we usually take eight to 10 percent stake in a company right at a two to four million dollar valuation is kind of the sweet spot.
[01:03:14] And so so to compare, let's say, a company that invest later stage, how much points are they going to take?
[01:03:22] You show the average the average series a round right now in the US in twenty nineteen was eighty million valuation. So a series, a company. And that's. The the distribution of that is quite high, so if you go out to the right to the second or third standard deviation and you have a series of rounds which are approaching a hundred and fifty two hundred million dollars. Right. And so what you're essentially saying from a price risk perspective is if I pay two million dollars and somebody pays two hundred million dollars down the line, all things else equal for the same equity stake, to say I bought a 10 percent stake and they bought a 10 percent stake, you're essentially saying that that Syria's a company is 100 hundred times more likely. To be successful, then the company that I'm investing in downstream, so as venture valuations continue to increase, the risk adjustment of venture actually starts to favor, it's actually less risky to invest in early stage founders because you're not having to pay such a huge premium competing with all these other funds. And so. I would venture to say that thinking that that's a hundred times more likely to be successful than an early stage company or another way to think about it is with the same amount of money, I could invest in a hundred companies to that one investment that you made, I love. So that's an interesting way that that's probably the best way to think about it. And so at some point, so say that gets up to one hundred and fifty two hundred three hundred words like I can invest in three hundred companies for every one company that you invest in at some point to your question about like isn't it really risky that actually becomes less risky, which is like would you rather invest in three hundred companies at this stage? We don't know what they're building, they don't have any traction, etc. or invest in one company. And you've got a financial statement of three years of information at some point that tips and early stage venture arguably becomes a less risky asset class.
[01:05:23] OK, that makes great sense. And also I think it should just be more fun to invest at that stage.
[01:05:29] So it's super fun. I mean, working with founders is great and I'm constantly challenged and educated. And being an early stage investor is a real master class on your ego.
[01:05:47] If you're a late stage, so if you're a serious aggro stage investor, you're usually going to focus on something very specific and really good investors are going to be considered experts at it.
[01:05:58] So when you meet a team, you know, they're probably fairly different to the experience that you have and what you can bring to the table and the network that you can bring in, etc. at the early stage because you're covering so much, etc..
[01:06:10] It's a real test of the ego to be very humble to, in most situations, the best investments that we've ever made. The founders are always way more knowledgeable about what they're building than I am. And my job is to actually help build infrastructure around them so that they can focus on doing that piece and not get distracted by all the other things it takes to start a company. So I'll help them raise money. I'll help them fill the gaps in the team that they don't have helped them recruit of them, build an advisory board, et cetera, so that they can spend the maximum amount of time on building their product. And so it's constantly like having to remind myself. In the same thing was talking about was like the GenZE is like I constantly have to remind myself that, like I don't have a worthwhile opinion on this, which is like a really hard thing to say and like the investor culture, because we have this cliche of like all these VCs and their masters of the universe and they're supposed to know everything or whatever. And I sort of challenge myself of like how many times a week can I admit, like, I don't know, like, you know better than me. And that could be a team that I'm talking to. You see, like, well, you guys tell me you know better than I do or somebody in my team, like, you know, one of our MBA interns and say, like, well, you tell me.
[01:07:25] You told me. I don't know. I know what I'm good at. When this team needs to go fundraise, when they need to build their team, when they need to build their culture, when they need to set up a growth and marketing. Right. I'll I'll stand up with anybody and throw my hat in to be able to do that best in the world. But on all the other things, I'm more than happy to admit like.
[01:07:47] I don't know, I'm a part of this team, like I'm not the one who's deciding whether this is going to be successful, I'm just making a decision. Do I want to join this team and be a part of it? So.
[01:07:57] Yeah, but.
[01:07:59] The hundred shots to one shot, I think, is a great way to think about the risk of investing in early conflicts and we're running low on time.
[01:08:08] But I wanted to ask you some stuff about also real quick for ones like antlers in Austin, right?
[01:08:12] Yeah, we're here. So, I mean, we work online. We work with founders anywhere in the whole world. So I moved to Austin. I wanted to have a better sense of what's going on down here. Um, I'm also really interested in helping build out, you know, to the basically what we've talked about the whole time, like building out venture infrastructures that more people can be founders. I think that needs to be done more than ever in cities like Austin and Miami and Nashville and Raleigh, Durham and sort of release this concentration of early stage venture in Silicon Valley in New York.
[01:08:50] I think it's a great and exciting mission because I'm super into entrepreneurship and just to to enable people more to get into it and be more vocal about it and showing people that, like, they can come to a company like Atler even without having any revenue and get some money and be able to quit their job and start working on it.
[01:09:06] Exactly. So, I mean, that's what we're here to do. And the mission is to continue to unlock more really talented people to be founders. I think that's the best way the human potential aspect is. What's most exciting for me, if we can take. Anyone who wants to start a company and is talented and hardworking and motivated and good communicator and take them out of a bank or a company where they're just spinning the wheel and doing a job and unleash their potential to solve problems and fix things for whatever piece of the world they want to fix things and solve problems for. I think we'll get so much more value out of the human potential. And that's what I think about all the time. Like there's so much human potential wasted in I mean, Oracle's right down the street. Right. Imagine how much human potential is sitting in that building selling people like crappy human resource management systems that could.
[01:10:00] Be figuring out new ways to provide energy or just totally agree, it's it's mind blowing, how much?
[01:10:06] I think I've thought about that for years, the amount of people sitting around, the amount of potential that everybody has to, like, apply themselves to something.
[01:10:12] I mean, it's we're wasting so much of what we have as far as, like people's intellectual abilities, just completely wasted.
[01:10:20] Yeah, I mean, the potential. And so, yeah, we're here in Austin. I'm here. We're we're super humble about entering the ecosystem here. There's a lot of great players here already. There's a lot of new people coming and. You know, ultimately, from an ecosystem perspective, and I you know, I had mentioned this is like I see Ayla playing a role in helping build out this infrastructure. Right. And we love building relationships with other people, whether it's investors or other funds or founders or anyone who wants to be a part of this mission like we're more than happy to work with. Um, and yeah, just sort of expanding our presence and doing what we can to help ecosystems, not just in New York and California, but now here in Austin. You know, we're we're in talks to go to Miami and do the same thing. But we can still work with Sondra's anywhere in the country. So you don't have to be in Austin to come work with us or apply to any of the things that we talked about.
[01:11:18] So your advice to people looking into entrepreneurship, just take a look at it on this website.
[01:11:23] Yeah. So Allan Dodds, CEO, you can find out about what we're doing here to what we talked about, about the things that we're working on and improving.
[01:11:33] We're working on making some improvements to our strategy here in the US and just making it a lot more clear and really focusing on being able to add the most value we can to Founders'. So that's the best place to find out info.
[01:11:47] Um. And then I'm not a big, uh, Twitter guy, but I think that's probably the easiest way to follow me.
[01:11:56] Like if anything big is happening, that's where I'll announce it. And what's your Twitter handle? This is how not big of a Twitter guy am.
[01:12:03] I always forget bad investments like the how do you even see why you're looking for that tiny tie?
[01:12:13] Nor would live t y and RW Odie's alive at Titan or live.
[01:12:19] Yes. On Twitter. Cool. And then antlered dot. Oh yeah.
[01:12:22] And you can follow Antlered Global on Twitter as well. Yeah. And that's a great way to stay updated on what's happening all over the world.
[01:12:31] Oh. Um, well is there anything else you want to say about Antler or Hossan or anything like that.
[01:12:37] No, it's I mean about Amla. I think we covered everything. Ostin has been great to be here. I mean, this week has been a bit stressful. Go in through the great storm of twenty twenty one.
[01:12:48] So I can't believe it's almost already March. I know it's been this like time warp of crises, but I mean, knock on wood, things are getting better.
[01:12:57] Like it seems like covid is heading in the right direction which is super exciting. Absolutely. Nassa landed perseverence on Mars uh this morning actually I didn't know that.
[01:13:07] So perseverence landed on Mars. So, you know, there's a lot of good things to talk about. We just got to stay positive and, uh, keep helping each other and moving forward. But I appreciate being here. It's been awesome to meet you.
[01:13:17] You too, man. Tyler, I love this conversation like this episode. Anybody listening, please? If you're not already subscribed, subscribe on whatever platform you use. Check out Antlered also and check out Tyler's Twitter.
[01:13:27] Awesome. Thanks, Justin.