Executive Deep Tech Programme
Do you want to build your own startup, have a real impact, and work for yourself?
Find a co-founder, identify and validate a business idea, and secure an initial investment without the risk of quitting your full-time job from the onset.
Start your entrepreneurial journey with our executive (part-time) Singapore-based deep tech programme!
Find your dream team
We make a big effort in selecting a diverse group of people for our programme.
You will be surrounded by experienced business, software (IT) and deep tech founders with a track record of success.
Our validated methodology will enable you to find the right co-founder; one with a common vision, the right chemistry, and a complementary skill-set.
Launch a globally competitive deep tech startup
You will benefit from a systematic and tested deep tech venture creation framework to accelerate the value creation of your new venture, and unprecedented access to Asia’s top university’s rich technology translation resources.
You will be supported in securing your first customers, building and scaling your prototype, developing strong IP and go-to-market strategies.
Network with advisors and experts
An introduction from the right person can make all the difference. We will connect you with deep tech experts and a global network of advisors and investors.
Meet door-openers, industry experts and successful entrepreneurs from all over the world and grow your own strong business network.
Startups who successfully complete our programme may get investment funding of up to S$240,000 each. They will also get the opportunity to pitch to hundreds of other angel investors and VCs from our network.
Who is the ideal founder?
You're a self-starter and can motivate others to join your mission. You set high goals and have proven an ability to achieve them. You have the ability to keep going when you're faced with obstacles.
Your skills and experiences stand out from the crowd. You have deep knowledge in an area where you can form the foundation of your company's competitive advantage.
You need to remain open and receptive to feedback. You need to be "stubborn" on your mission and the problem you want to solve, but keep pivoting until you find the right product/solution.
Our programme consists of three types of founders
You have 5-15 years of experience in business roles (strategy, finance, sales & marketing, product etc.), and/or domain knowledge of a certain sector e.g. healthcare, energy, financial services, etc. You have entre/intrapreneurial experience and are passionate for deep-tech.
You have 3-15 years of software development experience (full-stack, front-end, back-end) and/or machine learning applications. You have the ability to build a software product independently, and can build and lead a highly capable tech team.
You hold an advanced degree and deep expertise in the fields of AI, IoT, biotech, robotics, advanced materials or AR/VR. You have 2-10 years of research & development experience in a corporation or university and can independently build a hardware or software product.
We invest in startups across four verticals
Medical devices, digital health and wellness, biosensors, molecular diagnostic tools, novel cell culture tech, food and nutrition, modern aging
Urban farming, green manufacturing, waste management, upcycling, water solutions, next generation energy, novel sensor solutions
Industrial big data & analytics, IoT, robotics, automation, drone technologies and services, predictive maintenance, disruptive logistics, advanced manufacturing
AI applications across sectors such as fintech, edutech, insurance, cybersecurity, retail, media & entertainment and others
Examples of deep tech startups that have graduated from our programmes:
Experience the Executive Deep Tech Programme
The Programme has six main phases:
Build a strong founding team
Validate business model
First investment decision
Build product and get customer traction
Second investment decision
Leverage global alumni network
How to apply
Step 1: Apply with your LinkedIn
Apply in less than a minute. All we need from you is a link to your LinkedIn profile and email address. We’ll take care of the rest.
Step 2: Online questionnaire
All candidates will be expected to fill-out an online questionnaire. The purpose is to get know you better and gauge your interest and spark in participating in our programme.
Step 3: Interview
Once our team has evaluated and approved your profile, we will arrange that you meet with our local team and coaches.
Step 4: Offer
You’ve made it into the programme!
As a final step, you will be required to sign the participation agreement and pay the founder commitment fee to secure your position.
Programme starts February 2020
The Executive Programme
1. Build a strong founding team
Days 1-10: full time: The programme kicks off with 10 full time intense days (Fri-Sun) of training, bootcamps, and team building exercises. In this phase, we will be facilitating team building exercises to help you get to know other founders; we will train you on topics such as idea validation, go-to-market strategy, pitching to investors and others; and we will help you find a co-founder with complementary skillset.
Team building exercises Sharing sessions by previous founders Workshops and team challengesMini bootcamps and design sprints
2. Validate business model
Weeks 3-14 (part time): We meet for 5-10 hours per week on site (typically Saturdays and 1-2 evenings), and you can continue working with your team another 10-20 hours per week at a time and location of your choice.
Test and iterate product ideas - When a team has decided to start building, you ”track out” and get assigned a dedicated team coach. We encourage all teams to meet real, potential customers as soon as possible to validate their problem statements and ideas, and ultimately build an early prototype.
The coaching sessions - Weekly coaching sessions will make sure you’re on the right track and progressing as fast and effectively as possible. Along with guidance from your coach, you’ll be mentored by experienced founders, investors and industry experts.
Team coachingUser researchPitching
3. First investment decision
First investment committee - About fourteen weeks into the programme, all teams will pitch to the Antler investment committee for US$100,000 (minus a US$20,000 programme fee) at 10% equity. The investment committee represents our investors in the funds and consists of Antler’s and NUS’ general partners, in addition to external, professional seed investors and VC investors. Leading up to this day, you will pitch to your coach and advisors, and get feedback along the way. We invest in strong teams with a clear team-market fit and products with potential to scale up. We look for external validation in terms of sign-ups, interested customers, LOIs and others.
What we look for:
Strong founding teamTeam-market fit A big problem in a growing market Customer validation
4. Build product and get customer traction
Weeks 1-12 (part time): You will be attending three Saturday workshops (full day), and eight 1-to-1 consultation sessions to discuss your venture development progress. The three workshops focus on:
Customer Development and Minimum Viable Product DefiningProduct Development and Financials Model DevelopmentIP and Growth Strategies
During these 12 weeks, you are required to spend at least 20 hours per week to secure customer(s), define and build prototype, develop a business case, and develop IP strategy and go to market plan.
In this phase, you will be matched with experienced business mentors to guide and support your deep tech venture development process. You will also be able to access NUS’ MVP (minimum viable product) Studio, and its master engineers will help you build or scale your prototype.
You are expected to show customer traction quickly during this period of the programme.
What traction looks like:
Securing pilot trial with potential customersActing fast on customer feedbackReleasing your productAcquiring paying customersBuilding valuable partnerships
5. Second investment decision
Second investment committee - At the end of Phase 2, founders pitch to the NUS GRIP investment committee for the opportunity to receive an additional S$100,000. At this stage we expect to see the team has successfully secured their first customers (at least with a Letter of Intent (LOI), if not a purchase order), built their prototype, file intellectual property, establish a well-defined IP, and develop a go-to-market strategy and execution plan for the next 1.5 to 2 years.
6. Leverage global alumni network
Antler and NUS GRIP continue to support you as you scale your business - The Singapore Deep Tech Executive Programme is just the very start of your company’s journey. We will continue to support you in growing your business and securing your next round of financing (seed funding).
All teams will be invited to our joint alumni network and have direct access to other like minded founders and advisors.
Global community of founders - Stay connected with the founders from your programme and meet others from Antler and NUS programmes. Our growing alumni network will help you stay connected and scale your business.
You also be able to access the programme partners’ overseas presence in close to 20 locations globally.
Kindly visit our FAQ page for more details.
Do you have a specific question around the programme? Maybe our FAQ can help you. Otherwise, please email us below.
Executive Deep Teach Programm Team
Who is this programme for?
The Executive Deep Tech Programme is for individuals who are passionate about entrepreneurship and deep tech but currently have full-time jobs. The programme will give candidates the opportunity to test potential co-founders, validate their business ideas and secure an initial investment in a part-time/modular programme without the initial risk of quitting their full-time jobs.
How is the Executive Deep Tech Programme different from the existing Antler and NUS GRIP programmes?
First, this programme combines the best of both Antler’s and NUS GRIP’s programmes; the opportunity to find the right co-founder, access to a global network of advisors and experts, access to cutting edge IP, and funding.
Second, the programme allows talents to keep their current jobs, while they explore finding the right partners and launching their new ventures. You can quit your job and become a full-time entrepreneur only after you have found the right co-founder, validated your business idea, and received investment.
What sort of companies do you invest in?
Our Executive Programme focuses on four verticals:
Bio/health-tech (medical devices, digital health and wellness, biosensors, novel molecular diagnostic tools, novel cell culture technologies, food and nutrition, modern aging)Sustainability/environment (urban farming, green manufacturing processes, waste management/treatment, upcycling solutions, water solutions, next generation power and energy solutions, novel sensor solutions)Industry 4.0 (industrial big data and analytics, advanced robotics, automation and autonomous solutions, drone technologies and services, predictive maintenance, disruptive logistics, warehousing, and production solutions, advanced manufacturing) Machine Learning/AI (fintech, medtech, digital healthcare, biotech, edutech, transportation & urban mobility)
How much time do I need to make available for this programme?
The first 10 days of the Executive programme are full time and intense so you are expected to take 6 working days off (Fri and Mon-Fri of the following week).
The rest of the Phase 1 (weeks 3-14) are part-time. During this period we will be meeting 5-10 hours per week; typically on Saturdays and 1-2 weekday evenings.
Assuming you are successful in securing investment from Antler at the first investment committee, you may quit your full time job, incorporate your startup, and become a full time entrepreneur any time within Phase 2 of the programme.
During this phase, all teams are expected to attend three weekend workshops, and the weekly 1-to-1 meetings with your business mentor on site. Teams who have yet to go full-time should expect to spend at least 20 hours per week working on their business at a location and time of their choice.
Do I need an idea to join the programme?
No, you don't. Some founders have a clear idea of what they want to build in our programme, however, most join us with areas of interest and expertise. The first part of the programme is spent developing ideas and connecting with the right co-founders.
Do I have to pay for this programme?
Programme participants (1) will pay a founder commitment fee of S$1,800 to secure a place in the programme. This fee will be returned to founders whose startups receive Antler investment at the end of Phase 1, and commit to their startup full-time. Startups who are successful in securing the investment from Antler will need to pay a US$20,000 programme fee (out of the US$100,000 investment).
1. NUS has catered for the founder commitment fee for programme participants who are full-time NUS staff.
What are the investment terms and are they negotiable?
Investment terms are non-negotiable and they are the same for every startup.
For the first investment at the end of Phase 1, we invest US$100,000 (minus a US$20,000 program fee) for 10% equity. To release the investment, we also require you to incorporate your new startup, commit full-time and sign the investment agreement.
For the second investment at the end of Phase 2, we invest up to S$100,000 as a convertible note. This note is at a 20% discount with no interest.
What are the investment criteria?
We look at both the team and the business model. On the team front, we invest in strong founders with complementary skill sets, a good team-market fit, and ability to execute fast. On the business model, we are looking for companies solving real problems in large and growing markets. We are also looking for a great product with defensible IP, a superior go-to-market strategy and clear customer validation.
Who holds the IP rights?
The IP for startups that include one NUS founder and/or have leveraged NUS IP will belong to NUS. All other startups (with non-NUS founders and non-NUS IP) will have the option to participate in Phase 2 of the programme if they assign their IP to NUS. The IP will be licensed back to the startup with no licensing fees in the first year of business.
Will someone help me with the prototype development?
Your tech founder is expected to conceptualize the prototype and define its specifications based on market inputs. NUS master engineers will be available to provide additional support. NUS also has prototyping partners who can help you build your prototype based on your concept.
Will I have office space available to work from?
During Phase 1 of the programme, Antler’s office space (Prinsep Str.) may be used for onsite sessions and meetings during evenings and weekends. During Phase 2, you may use the space at NUS GRIP HQ (Innovation 4.0 (I4) building) and, depending on the needs of your project, you may also be allocated working space at I4 or at the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) Studio for product prototyping.
What support will there be for my startup once the programme has ended?
After we have invested in your startup it is to our interest, and we will do our best, to introduce you to our investors network (both Antler and NUS have extensive networks in Asia and globally), and to open doors to advisors and customers e.g. corporates. 1-to-1 meetings with your business mentors will continue, although at a lower frequency. In addition, your startup can be considered for incubation support at NUS’s incubation facilities.