How partnering with a global VC validates your brand and opens doors

At Antler, they share a lot of information about how founders benefit from working with them when building their company, but the value that the VC firm provides portfolio companies beyond this phase is just as significant. This series aims to share the experiences of the founders, and what they have benefited from most.



Avertro is a SaaS startup that helps leaders elevate their game by explaining cybersecurity to executives. From forecasting outcomes, right-sizing spend, and validating their strategy, Avertro enables business leaders to prove what they are doing is cyber right.

The brainchild of Ian Yip and Roman Mandryk, who met within Antler, Avertro is only 12 months old but gaining exciting customer traction and very strong strategic funding support.


Ian joined Antler off the back of his role as CTO of McAfee, Asia Pacific, bringing with him a wealth of industry knowledge and technical cybersecurity expertise into the cohort.

In the early days of building Avertro with Antler, Ian said the experience working with the VC was “immensely rewarding, particularly in terms of challenging yourself and understanding how resilient and resourceful you really are”.


The benefit of working with Antler beyond Demo Day


He and Roman have since gone on to launch their product with eight pilot customers, including that of the CPA Australia, and attracted multiple types of investment.

After securing Antler’s pre-seed investment of AU$100K, Avertro went on to receive AU$50K funding from cybersecurity venture accelerator program, CyRise.


More recently, the company has closed a AU$750K seed round, led by Black Nova Group — a raise which Antler also participated in, and which ended up being three times oversubscribed.

“Every single investor who participated in this round, had been either directly or indirectly introduced to us via the Antler network,” said Ian.

“It was a great deal of help.


“Through the entire process of building Avertro, Antler has been very supportive.

“[When in the cohort] I could call anyone at Antler at any time and the team would always tell me what they thought and point us in the right direction.


“That was really useful for a team who hadn’t raised money in the past.


“As a domain expert, obviously I know a lot about cybersecurity — that was the easy part. For me, the hard part was navigating the startup ecosystem, navigating through the ways you can build a business.


“The value we got post Demo Day was just as valuable as the value we got before Demo Day.

“It would have taken us two to three to times longer to get to where we have in a year without Antler. Avertro simply wouldn’t exist in the form we currently exist.


“Overall, following the program Antler helped us generate buzz, leverage messaging channels that we could use to share why we were building Avertro, but ultimately it was the validation Antler provides by association, it just helps people feel comfortable and enabled us to have enough conversations to find the right partners to back us.

“Being aligned with a global venture capital firm like Antler is a really great validation point for being an early-stage company.

“I always start my introductions — for someone who has never heard of us — with we are an Antler portfolio company, we came out of the Antler VC process, they gave us our first kickstart to get to where we are because it immediately validates our business, it immediately validates what we do, it immediately validates me as a founder, and it immediately validates our team.”


Antler in Sydney is currently recruiting for a January intake. Apply now to build your next company with Antler: www.antler.co/apply

Read more about Ian’s experience building Avertro with Antler via his blog, or read more articles from this series below:

  • Why having a support network of entrepreneurs and coaches makes you more successful as a founder

  • This startup raised $450K in just 3 weeks during Covid-19 — here’s how it leveraged brand & network to do it

  • ‘They don’t just act like a VC’: Aurelius co-founder shares how Antler supported her beyond investment

About the Author

Sarah Kimmorley, Director of Communications at Antler in Sydney.

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