Magnus Grimeland (Antler) – Fast Tracking Entrepreneurs With Antler

active CEO Podcast #30 Magnus Grimeland Fast Tracking Entrepreneurs With Antler

Magnus Grimeland – Founder & CEO of Antler

On this episode of the active CEO Podcast, Craig Johns speaks with Magnus Grimeland about his desire to make a positive difference in the world; excelling as a Norwegian Navy Seal; studying at Harvard University as Facebook launched; global learning’s working at McKinsey & Company; accelerating into Managing Director at Rocket Internet; capitalising on the diverse markets in Southeast Asia with fashion e-commerce companies Zalora and Global Fashion Group; and turning the world’s best talent into great founders of great companies with his new company Antler.

We also delve into three characteristics to be successful; front-loading; failure is not an option; knowing the right time to become an entrepreneur; senior leadership being close to the customers; why it is important to support the direction of your suppliers; fully aligning your own passion with the work you do; and why being healthy allows you to put a lot more energy into work.


Magnus Grimeland is an entrepreneurial catalyst and game-changing futurist who is driven to accelerate global aspiring entrepreneurs through connecting them with compatible co-founders and investors. He is a venture capitalist and angel investor who is on the search for the right talent, drive and ambition to change the world.

Born in Norway he dove in head first to kick start his career as a Navy Seal, before heading to Harvard University to study a Bachelors of Science and Economics. He then exceled as an Associate Principal and Junior Partner at McKinsey & Company, where he discovered his true talent, as a leader.

In 2013 he found his feet in the entrepreneurial and venture capital space when he took the reigns of Rocket Internet GmbH as Managing Director, as well as co-founding Zalora Southeast Asia. He then successfully transitioned into Managing Director and COO of Global Fashion Group, which offers over 8,000 brands, and operates across four continents and 28 countries, employing over 10,000 people.

Magnus is currently the Founder and CEO of Antler, a new start-up generator turning the world’s best talent into great founders of great companies. In less than two years he has grown Antler to more than seventy staff and is in the process of expanding to 6 cities across 5 continents in less than one year.

Magnus talks about:

  • The influence of his grandmother on considering the meaning of being on earth.
  • Decided early that he wanted to have a positive impact on the world.
  • Becoming a Norwegian Navy Seal with the intention of being an astronaut.
  • Developing a SPIKE, knowing what drives you and having the grit to make it happen.
  • Deciding to leave the Navy Seals to go to Harvard University.
  • The impact of his teacher at United World College of the Atlantic in Wales.
  • Starting life in the corporate world, and the huge learning curve at McKinsey and Company
  • Taking the leap into the unknown and setting a deadline to make the change from employee to entrepreneur.
  • Any great business must have a great team, validate their business model and identify the tipping point that will lead to incredible growth.
  • Convincing brands that you are a great sales channel for them and why you are the company of choice for the major brands.
  • Being inspired by Steve Jobs who would respond to customer requests and feedback.
  • Creating a platform that enables entrepreneurs a jump from whatever they are doing now into building a truly impactful company, much easier.
  • Antler providing a tremendous network of advisors and external investors and capital that most people would not have access to.
  • Finding that passion, your why and really make a difference for people.
  • Sharing the common passion about what you are building as an entrepreneur.
  • The Antler process and why its global platform enables entrepreneurs in a whole new way.
  • Ironman triathlon as an outlet from work and a form of active meditation.
  • The power of front-loading your work.
  • Taking on one uncomfortable thing every year, ensures you think outside the box.

Active CEO Wellness Tip                                                       

Workplace Motivation – You can’t build a company culture on free snacks in the boardroom or a foosball table in the office. Company culture is built on talking with your team and understanding what motivates each person. What makes them tick, why are they there and what do they want in the future. You also need to remove the negative influencers in a team before they effect the behaviour of other employees. Because this is important for not only for your welfare as a leader, but also to ensure you keep the team, long-term.


“Many people don’t become an entrepreneur, as they get caught up in life instead of setting the direction for your own life.” Why people don’t become an entrepreneur with Magnus Grimeland, on the active CEO Podcast.

“Great teams are put together when every team member knows what they are good at and what they need around them.” Building a great team with Magnus Grimeland, on the active CEO Podcast.

“A lot of start-ups fail not because they don’t have a great team or business model, because they give up when the first challenges arrive.” What challenges entrepreneurs face with Magnus Grimeland on the active CEO Podcast.

Resources Mentioned in this show:

Magnus Grimeland LinkedIn
Magnus Grimeland Facebook
Magnus Grimeland
Antler LinkedIn
Antler Facebook
Antler Twitter
Global Fashion Group Website
Rocket Internet
McKinsey & Company
Harvard University
Craig Johns
Craig Johns LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole LinkedIn
Ben Gathercole Performance Coaching

Recommended Reading:

Better Than Winning – Ben Gathercole