5 min read

Anuj Speaks Antler

Anuj Speaks Antler
Anuj Paudel - Co-Founder at Avarni

As I continue to explore pathways of getting into the startup community and trying to find my technical co-founder, I happen to bump into one of my very good friend's brother Anuj Paudel. Anuj has what you would call "The Founders Blood" and has proved it time and time again through his ventures of developing his own startups from the ground up.

You're probably wondering what I mean by The Founders Blood. Simply put, he has is able to bring his ideas to life through his grit, determination and resilience to see it through. Whilst he was still in University, he entered UNSW's most prestigious competitive ideas program (The Peter Farrell Cup) where him and his friend had created an app, was the one of the finalists and was able to raise $1000. Impressive right?

He would then move into a corporate job as a Cloud Network Engineer where he would hone his technical skills. But he just wasn't satisfied. After experiencing and tasting the startup world, he missed building things from the ground up and so did his friend who was working at Atlassian at that time. It was then when he realised that working for another company just isn't where he belongs and so he made that leap to quit his corporate job and start his own company which is now known as Avarni.


Avarni's "mission is to enable humanity to make better decisions for the economy and the environment". So how does it work? On a high level, they take in companies data e.g. procurement spend, vendor transacted, spend amount, date, classification, etc. then run that through their intelligent engine to calculate your emission factors. This software is so amazing that it can map a line item to an emission factor and value i.e. you would be able to understand and calculate your emissions from spending $5 for a coffee.

Not only is it important to understand your own emissions, but imagine being able to understand your entire supply chain and vendor's emissions too. You'll be able to transform the way your entire company operates and with climate change being a huge consideration in the current society, I believe that Avarni will be the leading software for companies to incorporate in order to understand their environmental impacts.  

Now, obviously this was not an overnight success and required a lot of trial and error to get to where he is right now. So I wanted to get Anuj's opinion on where should I start if I were to follow down a similar path as him. This was when he brought up the Antler Program.


Antler is a team of experienced entrepreneurs, investors and successful founders who invests in individuals who have the so called "Founders Blood". Their mission is: "To fundamentally improve the world by enabling and investing in the world's most exceptional people building the defining companies of tomorrow". Anuj was able to find his third co-founder through this program and I was able to get his insights on the pros and cons from it.

The Pros

If you're starting out with just an idea, not really sure about the whole startup process and are really looking for a co-founder to help you turn your idea into a reality, then Antler is perfect for you. Generally when you join, most people will be in a similar position as you where they have an idea, no established business and are looking for a co-founder. So everyone who joins the program is aligned with a similar goal of trying to find a co-founder to work with.

Now how do they do this? They provide you with all the tools and mentors necessary to make it happen. They provide master classes with everything that you need to know for creating your startup. They invite people from different successful companies to present and hear their stories, experiences and gain insights as to how they were able to become successful. It is basically a community of like-minded individuals and an environment for you to leverage and thrive in.

So what are the pros from this program:

  • A really good learning experience with opportunities to learn from experienced founders
  • Being in an environment of like-minded individuals where you're more likely to find a co-founder
  • Provided with assets to help you go through all the stages that a startup would need to be successful  
  • Build a network with successful entrepreneurs and mentors

The Cons

Now it may sound amazing, but sometimes it can be too good to be true. There are some things that you will need to consider when going through the program. I was extremely grateful to Anuj who was able to speak about his experience after going through the program.

It is important to understand and determine the value/potential of your own company. This is because when you sign up to Antler, they will try and lock you into their obligated investment scheme which is not all that attractive for a business that is already generating revenue. But it's great for a people who are starting from the ground up and have no track record as it is still an investment at the end of the day.

Although he got lucky in finding his third co-founder from Antler, he felt like it was almost like "speed-dating" when you're in that program. So a lot of the partnerships formed from the program don't necessarily last unless both of your values are completely aligned. In saying that, they do provide you with a 100 questions set list to get to know your colleagues on a deeper level but is that really enough?

So what are some cons for the program:

  • They may not be valuing your business at it's true potential as they have a set funding investment scheme
  • Finding a long term co-founder is harder than you think, as you'll need to persuade others that your idea is better

Final Thoughts

Overall, Anuj definitely recommends going through the Antler program if you're starting out fresh into the startup space. He does mention one last thing which is that most people who are entering the program are looking for a technical co-founder. So this can be a good or a bad thing as it provides an opportunity for those who are technical to find a great "Commercial Co-Founder" but also make it difficult for you to find a technical co-founder with the limited supply. So the best way to get into the program is to position yourself as a technical or domain expert co-founder.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about the insights from my conversation with Anuj. If you did, please feel free to let me know what else you're interested to hear from other successful entrepreneurs through the contact page: Contact as I enjoy speaking to my readers. We do go further to talk about his pivots throughout his journey and other recommendations, so if this is something that you would like to see, please let me know as well as I am planning to create a Youtube channel with the entire video.


Your first idea is never your final one
By Anuj Paudel