VC firm Antler launches ONDC-focused platform to support founders with capital, network

Created in collaboration with Infosys's Nandan Nilekani and FIDE's Beckn Protocol, the platform will offer pre-seed capital of $300,000 with an additional investment of upto $200,000.

VC firm Antler launches ONDC-focused platform to support founders with capital, network

Thursday August 10, 2023,

3 min Read

Bengaluru-based early-stage venture capital firm Antler has rolled out a new platform to help founders building on the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) gain access to capital, expertise and network. The initiative is in collaboration with Nandan Nilekani (Chairman of Infosys and Ekstep), FIDE (Beckn Protocol), and ONDC.

Formally called the Antler-ONDC platform, the initiative aims to bring together capital, community and content to help entrepreneurs build successful businesses on the open protocol.

The platform will offer founders with a team and an idea with pre-seed capital of $300,000, along with an additional investment of up to $200,000 from partners in the Antler network, including unicorn founders and strategic backers, the venture capital firm said on Thursday.

The platform also intends to support founders without a team and idea with a curated community to help kickstart their journey and build with the guidance of experts, operators, and ONDC network participants including Namma Yatri, magicpin,, and SellerApp. Founders can also expect problem-solving sessions with industry leaders including Pramod Varma (Co-founder of FIDE), Vibhor Jain (COO of ONDC), and Abey Zacharia (ONDC specialist), among others.

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A select number of founders building on ONDC and looking for founding teams will also get the opportunity to be fast-tracked to Antler India Residency, a community for founders and operators to build a team, germinate an idea, and get funded in three months.

"As the first VCs to launch a platform to increase talent density and enable opportunities on ONDC, we are excited to partner with visionaries such as Mr Nandan Nilekani and the FIDE, ONDC leadership. We are excited to see founders building at population scale in themes like complex commerce, vernacular commerce and flow-based lending, to name a few," Nitin Sharma, Partner at Antler in India, said.

"The Antler ONDC platform will provide everything from the best resources to a vibrant community and seed capital for them," Sharma added.

In June, Antler raised $285 million for its Antler Elevate fund to support growth-stage startups.

"We are going to democratise ecommerce in India. It won't be limited to a few players. Everyone, every supplier including kirana stores, grocery and electronics retailers, small vendors and restaurants should participate in the digital marketplace on an open platform," said Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani.

Beckn Protocol offers a playground for innovators and problem-solvers and gives everyone a fair chance to participate in an online market, according to Sujith Nair, Co-founder of FIDE. "I encourage entrepreneurs to build on ONDC and build with Beckn Protocol," he added.

ONDC, an open protocol aimed at democratising ecommerce in India, is clocking more than one lakh transactions in grocery and mobility daily. It expanded its geographic footprint of merchant network to more than 230 cities in May from 85 in January. It also added mobility service in Kochi in January and in Bengaluru in April, with the cities seeing a jump to more than 35,000 rides a day.

Intercity logistics have also picked up pace in the fashion, beauty and electronics segments, ONDC said.

Edited by Kanishk Singh