Anthill Ventures to Launch Athena, A One of a kind Women-centric Scaling Program

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Anthill Ventures, a speed scaling ecosystem that invests in, and scales early-stage start-ups, takes a progressive step towards further empowering women entrepreneurs. Anthill recognises that women entrepreneurs play an important role to drive economic growth, hence is pleased to launch the Athena Scaling Program. This will be a robust scaling program that will focus on mentoring women entrepreneurs, that will enable them to unlock their untapped potential in the Indian start-up environment. This program will be partnering with women-led brands in consumer-oriented brands.

Athena Scaling Program, sees gender as a moat.

Anthill Athena will invest in and partner with courageous women entrepreneurs to build companies of the future.

There are hidden gems in the startup ecosystem – women led companies that can generate tremendous value, yet are off the radar of the venture capital world. We would like to unearth these gems, give them the resources that they need to #ScaleWithSpeed and make it impossible to overlook this segment.

Value creation alongside Speed Scaling support will ensure higher participation of women and women-led startups in the current VC funded startup ecosystem.

Anthill Athena Program will envision the next decade of Indian start-ups to emerge as global leaders with women at the forefront, by leveraging the Anthill Speed Scaling Ecosystem and providing mission-critical marketing and growth services to the portfolio companies when they need it the most. In addition to that, they aim to provide services tailored to the needs of women founders in order to help bridge their pre-existing skill gaps and circumstantial barriers. The program will align with successful entrepreneurs and top executives, who with their path-breaking experiences, will provide mentorship to the start-up founders in the brands cohort in their areas of expertise.

The application for the Athena cohort is now open and closes on July 23, 2021. It will start with a 4-day boot camp in the first week of August, 2021. During these 4 days, entrepreneurs will participate in knowledge sessions and workshops with key industry leaders like Anju Srivastava (Wingreens), Rishabh Chopra (The Ayurveda Experience), Mohit Satyanand (Angel Investor), Ghazal Alagh (Mamaearth), and many more to identify their focus areas over the next six months. Over this six-month-long intensive engagement, Anthill will work with these start-ups to #SpeedScale their start-ups, culminating in a demo day for additional funding.

Anthill Athena is inspired by the success of Anthill’s current portfolio companies (~25%) led by women entrepreneurs. After speaking with many women founders, the Anthill team has identified core challenging areas specific to women. This program will feature customised support in areas specific to women. Athena Scaling Program will offer:

1. Upfront Capital Investment

Upfront investment of $75k to $125k in selected startups. Upon requirement Anthill will help syndicate the rest as well up to $1M to $5M in follow-on capital.

2. Hands-on Speed Scaling

Each cohort company will be assigned to a Speed Scaler. This would be a successful entrepreneur who’s been there, done that. They would dedicate time to work with the startup to enable them to realise their vision and achieve #scalewithspeed.

3. Personalised Coaching Addressing Skill Gaps

Deep dive coaching & support by industry experts for pre-existing skill gaps as defined by women entrepreneurs as well as other functional areas such as Supply Chain, Fundraising, Brand Marketing, Leadership, People Management etc.

4. Market Access and Distribution Support

Partnerships, POCs, industry deep dives and access to relevant retailers (social commerce and data driven retail partners), domestic and international distributors, celebrities, and influencers. Direct access to R&D and product formulation facilities.

5. Marketing and Growth Support

Their internal marketing team of brand and performance marketers will closely work with the cohort companies for marketing and growth goals. This will also include personalized direct access to partners such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

6. Infrastructure Credits worth $500k

From 50+ partners specifically for consumer startups such as Hubspot, Clevertap, Mixpanel, Shiprocket, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc where their portfolio companies are able to secure credits not available through any other channels.

For this program, Anthill has partnered with Arati Menon-Gupta, who has over the last three decades been very actively involved in India’s development sector. She is passionate about supporting small-medium businesses led by women. According to Arati, “I have seen that given equal opportunities, women businesses perform at par with men-led enterprises. In a patriarchal society like India, there is significant untapped potential for promoting women entrepreneurship. Anthill Athena’s determination to create this ecosystem is multi-fold with vigorous mentorship of women, affirmative action that will enable them to execute a scalable business plan, and funding, will all help remove the barriers that are holding the women entrepreneurs back.”

Kabir Kochhar, Partner, Anthill Ventures says this about the program, “Anthill is proud to extend its #SpeedScaling support to women-led startups with the introduction of the Anthill Athena scaling program. Some of the most exciting companies in Anthills existing portfolio are already women-led. Yet we see a significant underrepresentation in the overall startup ecosystem. After much research and long conversations with many women entrepreneurs, we have built the Anthill Athena program to help founders navigate challenges that are amplified due to their gender. We maintain our sharp focus on consumer and media startups and direct our energies on bringing hand-on Speed Scaling support to the most exciting early-stage women led startups through capital, mentorship, marketing, distribution and much more.”

About Anthill Ventures

Anthill Ventures, invests in and partners with courageous entrepreneurs, to build companies of the future, that scale with speed.

It has funds across India and Singapore, focused on four key verticals – consumer, media, healthcare and urbantech. Up until this moment, Anthill has invested in more than 50 early stage start-ups in India and across the globe, having already acquired successful exits in 4 companies in a short timeframe. Anthill’s portfolio companies are supported through a robust accelerator ecosystem under the A-Scale Program. Accelerators are vertically structured: Urban-i is the accelerator focused on consumer, Anthill Studio is focused on media, Lumos on healthcare and Indus-X on urbantech.

Anthill guides start-ups through their journey following its core ethos of source, invest, scale and syndicate, delivering value at each stage.

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