I had a pretty amazing conversation with Jussi Salovaara, a co-Founder and the Managing Partner of Antler in Asia. Jussi, who is originally from Finland, has over a decade of experience in areas of investment and strategy across different industries including engineering and IoT. Before founding Antler, he was the Vice President at Nokia’s headquarters in Helsinki, running Product, Strategy, Sales and Commercial functions. He has also had his experiences built working with prominent international companies such as McKinsey, Deloitte and Morgan Stanley. It was actually at McKinsey where he met his co-Founder, Magnus Grimeland.
Antler was partially born out of Jussi’s passion to help entrepreneurs and Founders and a desire to start something on his own. He struggled with the issue of how to actually find a co-Founder…and his quality bar was quite high. Frankly, it should be high when trying to find someone with whom you will have to work very closely. This was when he reconnected to Magnus who was just starting to think about Antler and the concept of sustainably supporting talented individuals and becoming founders of companies. At Antler, Jussi focuses on running the overall strategy and operations in Asia.
Antler is not a typical accelerator program. This is a people-centric platform, believing deeply that teams matter more than ideas and getting the right team in place is key to building a big business. In fact, if you ask the Antler team, they will say that they are a startup generator and early-stage venture capital platform.
They do not take this word ‘platform’ lightly. They already have 8 locations globally and aim to have 30 locations and programs within a few years. This looks like venture capital and venture building on steroids. They take their own advice as well, building with speed and velocity that most VCs would not recognize. A growth company building growth companies…nice.