FEM-START Up Awards 2023, Powered by Antler

Welcome to the FEM-START Up Awards, powered by Antler! Congratulations on taking the first step towards your entrepreneurial journey. We are thrilled to have you sign up for our pre-selection events to have a chance to win 100k investment at our finals on the 3rd of November. Our pre-selection events for the finals are organized with esteemed partners such as TNW, Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship, and High TechXL Eindhoven.

Please find below some important information about the pre-selection events and how you can make the most out of this opportunity:

If you are selected to pitch at the pre-selection events, you will have 3 minutes to pitch your start-up to a jury of 3 well-established and seasoned entrepreneurs and VCs. Besides the pitches, a speaker will share an exciting talk, and you can join a workshop.

The criteria for entering the competition are:

  • Team of at least 2 founders, and at least one female founder (who should pitch)
  • Incorporated in the Netherlands
  • No previous professional investor (VC) on the cap table
  • < 2 years old
  • Highly scalable / tech-enabled
  • Can show traction
  • Has a unique way of solving a problem
  • Has a positive impact on society


Do you want to pitch your startup and make a chance to win EUR 100k investment? You can fill in the application form here


Pre-selection Event: 

  1. Date: 27th of September 2023
  2. Time: 15.00-19.00
  3. Location: TNW City, Singel 542, Amsterdam


Description: The pre-selection Event in Amsterdam will provide you with a platform to pitch your startup idea to industry experts and receive valuable feedback. Bring your A-game and be prepared to showcase your innovation and potential.

If you want to visit our pre-selection event in Amsterdam, please register at the link below:


Pre-selection Event: 

  1. Date: 4th of October 2023
  2. Time:15.00-19.00
  3. Location: Erasmus Center of Entrepreneurship, Marconistraat 16, Rotterdam

Description: The pre-selection Event Rotterdam allows you to connect with like-minded individuals and get insights from experienced entrepreneurs. Use this event to refine your pitch and gain inspiration from the entrepreneurial community.

If you want to visit our pre-selection event in Rotterdam, please register at the link below:


Pre-selection Event: 

  1. Date: 5th of October 2023
  2. Time:15.00-19.00
  3. Location: High TechXL, HTC 27, Eindhoven

Description: The pre-selection Event Eindhoven focuses on startups in the high-tech sector. Showcase your technological advancements and network with industry professionals who can help take your startup to the next level.

If you want to visit our pre-selection event in Eindhoven, please register at the link below:

Please note that participation in these pre-selection events does not guarantee entry into the final round of the FEM-START Up Award. During our main event in Amsterdam on the 3rd of November, there is room for 5 finalists. However, it is an incredible opportunity to refine your pitch, gain exposure, and make valuable connections within the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

We wish you the best of luck with preparations for making it to your pre-selection event! Remember to bring your passion, enthusiasm, and innovative spirit. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need further assistance. 

Prepare to showcase your startup and make your mark in the entrepreneurial world!

FAQ Investment Terms

There are no set goals/milestones we look at during the competition as a deciding factor for
investment, as this will vary depending on the initial stage of the idea. Therefore, we look at your
trajectory since inception, how your team has operated and what has been achieved throughout
the journey.

Yes, by signing the Founder Agreement this becomes your obligation (if you are selected as
the winner).

No. (other than your own travel expenses to the pre-selection and finals event)

No, the key terms (economic and control) are fixed. In some cases, e.g. commitment
required, we may adjust some clauses to be in line with our verbal agreements, however the
key terms remain fixed. It is therefore important you understand and agree with these terms, so
please let us know if you have any questions or doubts, so we can discuss your questions on
any specific terms and how they work in practice.

We will discuss the valuation during the selection process. Typically this will be subject to
traction, team, innovation, and total size of the round and commitments from other investors.

We believe it is in everyone’s interest that we are on the same page with what the CLA
documentation looks like, so that we avoid misalignment of expectations and discussions down
the line. Of course, if you have specific questions about the CLA, this is a great time to ask them
and you should be comfortable with it before you sign the agreement.

By signing the Founder Agreement, you agree to granting Antler the option to invest in your
company according to the terms in the CLA, once we decide if we want to. You cannot ‘step out
of this obligation down the line. If you don’t yet know if you would like to have Antler as your
investor or are unsure about the terms, we recommend that you do more due diligence before
signing the founder agreement.

A convertible loan is a short-term debt that converts into equity. Usually it converts at the next
investment round. It is one of the easiest ways to perform early-stage investments into startups
because they avoid the larger legal process and costs associated with a ‘straight equity’
investment (which you will typically have for your Series A and later rounds, and sometimes also
at Seed). There are plenty of articles on google that explain the benefits of a convertible loan for

After investment, if at some point you believe that the venture has lost all potential to create
value and therefore have lost motivation to work on it, we will discuss with you what the best
way is to get (some of) our money back. For example, an early liquidation while you still have
money in the bank. Or a sale of your company assets to another company. As long as the loan
hasn’t been converted into equity, Antler has the right to get back the loan amount in case of an
event of default. Typically in such scenarios we will discuss a transition plan together that helps
minimize losses for Antler while also setting yourself up for success in your next steps (which
could include you looking for another job before the bankruptcy is complete).
However, what is more common is that you are close to running out of cash runway in the
company but you have not yet lost hope for the business. In that case, we discuss and agree
with you on how you can make some money ‘on the side’ while still continuing to work on the
startup in the hope/expectation that traction will pick up. If eventually this doesn’t happen, it
becomes the scenario described above.

If for example you win the competition but deny the investment from Antler.

We are industry agnostic and look to invest in fast-growing companies with a strong regional or
global potential. We welcome a wide range of companies across industries as long as there is a
tech component – e.g. utilising machine learning, blockchain or loT technology – in industries
such as healthcare, finance, property, insurance deep tech and more.

Yes – Antler continues to support companies after the competition. We’ll continue to support
companies with business coaching, access to our global advisory network, fundraising support
and investor introes, company partnerships (free credits on AWS, Google Cloud etc) and hiring

Ideally teams then incorporate just before the finals event so you can get the cash in your bank
account as soon as possible after the finals (if successful).

In order for Antler Benelux to invest, we do require you to incorporate in the Netherlands.The
reason behind this requirement is that among our investors, we do also have the Dutch
government (RVO), which does require us to invest in Dutch entities.

Having an ESOP will become a part of the Shareholders Agreement when you do your first
priced equity round (after the Antler investment), so we do not force you to create them at the
time of the Antler investment, but the ESOP you will discuss/negotiate with your next investor
and typically ends up between 10-15%. Note, Antler’s stake will not dilute as a consequence of
introducing the ESOP.

Yes, if it does not require your time. If it does require your time, please let us know before you
start the competition so we can create a solution together with you in case you will be the
winner of the investment at the finals.

If you have minor side activities that do not significantly take up your working time for your
startup (and do not compete with building your startup), this is perfectly acceptable and we
always document those with our founders in a simple 1-page document defining what those
activities are and how much time you expect them to take. This way we (as well as your
co-founders) are all aligned on the (lack of) impact these activities have on your startup and
no-one needs to worry about this. We suggest we wait to do this until after Antler decides to
invest. In any case, other VCs (including the ones that would invest in your company after Antler
does so) will also have commitment clauses so this is quite a common practice.


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