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Urban Ladder’s co-founder to head VC firm Antler’s Indian ops

Omnichannel furniture retailer Urban Ladder’s former co-founder and chief product & technology officer (CPTO), Rajiv Srivatsa has joined Singapore-based early-stage venture capital and private equity firm Antler as head of India and local partner. 

Srivatsa, along with the team, would primarily be identifying early-stage investment opportunities, build local deal flow, and raise funds from limited partners.

Three years old early-stage VC firm, Antler claims to help startups from scratch – right from finding a right co-founder, figure out a business model and connect them with investors and mentors.

According to its website, Antler has portfolio companies across 60 countries and has a strong focus on gender equality. Four out of its ten portfolio companies have one female co-founder, and about 32% of them have a female chief executive.

Antler runs a 6-months program where it provides a stipend and a pre-seed investment to the selected startups in exchange for an equity stake in them. 

After an 8-years-old journey as an entrepreneur, Srivatsa resigned from Urban Ladder in October 2019. Srivatsa and Ashish Goel started Urban Ladder in 2012 to build an omnichannel furniture company. The duo raised about $105 million in risk capital, however, Urban Ladder didn’t continue to put up a competing show against Pepperfry, Amazon-Flipkart, and Ikea. 

At present, Urban Ladder operates on a small scale.

Srivatsa’s role includes recruiting entrepreneurs, partnering corporates, and government. Antler is one of the many early-stage investment funds to make a debut in India. Basic Vectors, Good Capital, and Info Edge Venture Fund (IEVF) and Inflexor had entered the burgeoning Indian startup space. 

Given that early-stage investment space in India is crowded and competitive, Srivatsa has to play a crucial role in identifying long-lasting companies. Sequoia’s accelerator program Surge has been giving fierce competition to VCs who are focusing at Pre Series A level. The impact of Covid-19 also triggered mainstream VCs to write more small cheques at the moment.

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