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More than half of all startups fail because the team is not right. That is why finding the right team of co-founders is essential, says early-stage investor Antler.

Sponsored: This article is published in collaboration with Antler.

Michael J. Wiatr, General Partner at Antler, points to three things in particular that are important when looking for the right team:

“Find someone you have chemistry and share basic values with. It’s important that you are driven by the same vision. And diversity is a great strength in terms of demographics, personality, professionalism and competences – your co-founders don’t necessarily have to be the same type as your best friend,” he explains.

Twice a year, Antler opens up for applications to become a founder-in-residence. Founders are selected from among the strongest tech profiles, commercial specialists and domain experts for a 12-week programme focused on idea generation, match-making and networking. The goal is to establish new startups led by strong teams.

“The programme forces entrepreneurs to talk through some tough issues and get aligned from the start. Ideas can change, but we believe that the right mix of founders can always pivot. It’s the people we invest in,” says Wiatr.

Michael J Wiatr General Partner in Antler

The founders of Virtuall – a 3D internet infrastructure platform for the fashion industry – have benefited from Antler’s approach.

“Through the programme, we tested collaborations with many different potential co-founders. For us, this meant that we came together as quite different founders across four nationalities to build what the company is today. We would never have met each other by chance,” says Jonas Wallengren, co-founder and CEO of Virtuall.

A study by CB Insights shows that over 50% of startups in 2018 went bankrupt because founders were not aligned from the start for one reason or another. And that’s why finding the right match is so important.

“It takes an average of 7 years to create a unicorn. When you have to work together that long, it’s really important to have a good partnership”

“It takes an average of 7 years to create a unicorn. When you have to work together that long, it’s really important to have a good partnership. It’s especially when things are hard and difficult that teams are tested. That’s when good teams show their worth,” says Michael J. Wiatr.


  • Antler is a global multistage investor with 25 offices across six continents. The venture fund supports startups from day zero up to Series C.
  • Antler is the world’s most active angel/seed-stage investor. With more than 140 investments in the Nordic region, the venture fund is also among the most active here.
  • Over the past four years, Antler has worked with more than 900 entrepreneurs in the Nordics, carefully selected from more than 16.000 applicants.
  • You can apply right here.