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Dec 22, 2022

Faces of Innovation: Deepak Jayaraman, Antler

Innovation is a practice often misunderstood in the world of business. Many might consider it just a word that can be used to make an organization’s work sound fresh, or may even think all work can be considered innovative. To gain more insight into what this practice really looks like, we invite industry experts to our podcast, "Faces of Innovation," to discuss what it means to invest, create, and lead with innovation.


By Alex Pavlou

Founder - I help organizations and startups scale their teams.

We were excited to welcome Deepak Jayaraman to our Faces of Innovation podcast. Jayaraman runs Global Business Development for Antler, a venture company that provides funding for early-stage startups across the world. Like many innovation practitioners, Jayaraman didn’t get his start in the innovation space until later in his career.

“I am a venture capital, M&A, deal lawyer by trade, having practiced at a big firm in Boston for several years,” he shares. He had a few roles that allowed him to experience what innovation work really was and became more and more specific about the positions he would accept. He, like many, stumbled into innovation.

“Early on, I started working with founders, helping them put together their early-stage deals. You start to really have respect for them and for what they're trying to achieve.” While not a founder himself, he saw how game-changing the work of entrepreneurship is and wanted to support them.

Now, he gets to do just that. Learn more about Deepak Jayaraman’s experience connecting the dots between corporate and startup work and how his goal to help every founder could shape the future of business.


Corporate + Startup = The Future

Many have speculated about what the future of business looks like. Corporate structure compared to startup’s looser operations seem to be at odds with each other. Jayaraman has seen that this is not the case.

“Corporates are working with startups all over the place, and in fact, corporates are probably engaging with startups in a way they don't even realize.”

- Deepak Jayaraman, Partner + Global Head of Business Development & Collaborations at Antler

Partnerships between these two very different business models are more common than we think but do come with their unique set of difficulties.

“Corporates need to understand that startups don't have endless time on their hands. They've got runways that are expiring by the minute. And they often make the mistake of bringing a startup on a journey that is endless and not time bound and can really distract a startup and take them off their roadmap. That's when it becomes challenging for both parties.”

Challenges won’t hinder the future that Antler sees for corporate and startup partnerships. “We're working on new and improved ways to get our portfolio companies in front of corporates and to do a little bit of shepherding to ensure that both parties play well in the sandbox together.”


Adapting to the Economic Environment

When dealing with a shift in the economy, the question doesn’t become, “is there money to invest?” The focus should be, “how do we efficiently invest this capital in a way that meets our bottom line now and sets us up for a booming future?” Jayaraman thinks this is a highly needed perspective during a recession.

“I think the best companies will still get funded even in this environment because there's still capital out there. Capital always has to be put to work; it just has to be more prudently put to work. Good companies, good founders with strong teams and viable propositions that address a real challenge and a real market need - I think they're gonna be alright.”

If you’re eager to make your own head-first dive into the innovation industry, contact Alex Pavlou to hear more about open roles and register with Bamboo Crowd for other opportunities and insights.

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