Singapore-founded global startup Antler has invested $1.2m in pre-seed funding in 12 Sydney-based startups in its inaugural Sydney program.

After launching in June, with 31 teams taking part in the initial intake, 12 teams have secured a $100,000 investment — in exchange for a 10 per cent equity stake — and will continue in the program for an additional four months.

Bede Moore, Antler Australia New Zealand partner, said he was proud to have overseen the program, which took 70 individuals from a range of technical and commercial backgrounds and challenged them to form teams of between one and three founders, come up with an idea, then pitch their businesses to an expert panel in under half an hour.

“This experience has been remarkable,” he said. “In just eight weeks, these individuals have found their co-founders, identified a problem to solve, validated their solution and built a business model.

“Not only that, many of these teams have already started on their MVP, made first hires and secured customers.

“The grit and determination these founders have shown has been inspiring, and we’re looking forward to continuing the work with these amazing teams over the next four months, and help prepare them for Demo Day in November.”

The 19 teams who missed out on investment won’t be left behind, Moore said. “They should be fiercely proud of what they have achieved.

“We’ll be working with these teams, helping them transition into the next phase of their journey, whether that be to join a team which did gain investment, continue on with their idea outside of Antler, or to pursue other opportunities.”

Antler will now help the teams grow and scale their companies, providing access to a global network of experts to advise founders along the way.

At least half of the companies have a female co-founder, and all have at least one co-founder born overseas.

Antler says their investment is based on their belief the company can hit a seven-figure valuation.

The accelerator does not seek board seats, and founders are inducted into the global Antler alumni, which they can access for the future of their careers.

The portfolio companies will pitch their startups on stage at Antler’s Demo Day to an audience of up to 500 local and international investors for external seed funding. The next program will kick off in January.