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This startup raised $450K in just 3 weeks during Covid-19

Alex Green, co-founder and CEO of motiveOS. MotiveOS was build with Antler in Sydney in first half of 2020.

Raising money as an early-stage startup is difficult at the best of times. Add a global pandemic into the mix, and the investment landscape becomes almost impossible to navigate.

But for motiveOS, a SaaS startup built with Antler in Sydney during the coronavirus outbreak, raising funds was somewhat quick and painless.

“We raised $450K in the three weeks that Covid restrictions really tightened,” says co-founder and CEO Alex Green.

“We were able to do that completely over Zoom and gain confidence from the investors because we were part of Antler.

“The investors were already LPs of Antler, so really for them, they were just choosing to double down.

“We wouldn’t have been able to raise that funding without the investor confidence in the Antler model and the confidence in the Antler companies that come through.”

Through brand alignment and investors’ recognition of Antler’s due diligence process, motiveOS raised their seed fund during a global pandemic. No product, no revenue. Just a team and a pitch deck.

So, how did motiveOS start, and why did the founders build it with Antler?

“Last year, I came back from overseas and I didn’t have a network of investors to tap into,” says Alex.

“This is one of the key reasons I joined Antler. It gave me the opportunity to rapidly access and raise funds for the business Linton Ball (co-founder and CTO) and I built: motiveOS.

“Linton and I had met up a month before the program started, and while we still tested the waters with other potential co-founders in the cohort, we certainly felt that we were most aligned with what we wanted to achieve, what we wanted to do.

“I had come into the program with a few ideas and this was the one I liked best.

“We were probably one of the first teams to track out (officially team up and work on one idea). We started doing customer interviews and really identifying the pain points to help us develop the product.

“Combined with that, Linton is a technical co-founder so he can execute on codes so we could create the product at a very early stage. That was a huge benefit.”

Despite being a former founder and having experience raising funds from investors before, Alex saw the value Antler’s coaches provided founders looking to raise as an early-stage business

“It is incredibly valuable when it comes to thinking about strategies and tactics,” he said.

“There was also an urgency that was created around the Demo Day that we were able to leverage for fundraising. Antler opened doors and enabled us to be able to show off our product and also proactively provided us intros to potential customers.

“We’ve now raised $550,000, including the pre-seed funding from Antler and a $450K seed round, led by Black Nova Group.

“It’s unlikely that any of this would have happened at the pace that it has happened without Antler’s help.”

When asked if they had any other tricks and tips for raising the fund so quickly, Alex said it came down to “a combination of a few things”.

“One was the people that we pitched to had insight into this problem, so most of the people we’ve pitched to have done some sales in the past, whether it’s with the VC or whether they’ve found or led sales in the past their own businesses, they understood this pain point,” he said.

“We really wanted to illustrate the pain point and the daily pain that maybe a Finance Director or founder or a sales exec might feel. That really helped us to create that narrative around the pain.

“On top of that, we’d also signed up probably about five or six initial customers and one of those being KPMG. I think just having those five letters of intent to demonstrate that there was this pain and that what we needed was just a bit of money to help develop this product and give us a bit of runway, was clear enough to get some people on board.”

And what’s next for motiveOS?

Well, right now, the team has nine customers that it’s working on some complex requirements with in the hope that when the products are ready to be rolled out, sales executives and the finance team will be able use it daily.

The team is also aiming for a public launch in the early part of next year, “where it will be a self-service product where people can sign up to and use it. But until then, we’ll do manual onboarding,” says Alex.

Watch this space.

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

Read more articles from this series below:

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

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

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

This article was written by Sarah Kimmorley, Director of Communications at Antler in Australia.

About the Author

Sarah Kimmorley, Director of Communications at Antler in Sydney.


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