Antler announces the expansion of its presence to MENAP with Dr Jonathan Doerr and Romain Assunção as Partners. The firm aims to strengthen the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by backing exceptional founders at the earliest stage with co-founder matching, personalised coaching, access to a local and global network of founders and advisors, MENAP ecosystem expertise, day zero investment, and support with follow-on funding.
As a day zero investor, Antler’s philosophy is to invest in people. For the Riyadh cohort launching in September 2023, Antler selects 60+ pre-idea or pre-seed founders from thousands of applications to develop, validate, and start scaling a new business model. This proven program has so far supported 6000+ founders globally.
Recently recognised as the world’s most active early-stage investor with ~850 investments across 20+ countries in under 5 years, Antler sees increasing applications to its founder programmes with an end-of-programme investment rate of 1%.
Post-programme, Antler invests $180,000 for 11% equity in high-performing founders, selected based on 200+ hours of close interaction time throughout the 3-month program. Antler also assists down the startup cycle with expansion support and follow-on funding from Antler’s global funds or top VC co-investors like Andreessen Horowitz or Northzone.
Notable Antler portfolio companies include Airalo, a global eSIM provider which connects millions of users across 200+ countries. Initially incubated in Singapore’s Antler cohort, it has expanded its operations to MENAP and recently raised $60M from strategic investors, such as e& (Etisalat), Telefonica and Deutsche Telecom, in addition to co-investors Sequoia and Rakuten.
Dr Jonathan Doerr, a serial entrepreneur with 3 exits, and Romain Assunção, former Associate Partner at McKinsey, lead the firm’s activities in the region. Doerr says: “As an entrepreneur that has exited 3 companies and built businesses in the KSA and the UAE, I would have highly valued a program like Antler that not only puts me in a room of high-calibre potential co-founders but also supports me tangibly on my first steps and introduces me to relevant people within the ecosystem.”
Assunção adds, “National strategies show an unprecedented level of ambition to modernize and diversify countries’ economies and often coordinate efforts across public related entities, offering significant opportunities and support for founders. Startups are crucial – in particular in tech and digital space, being cross-sectorial, creating high-quality jobs, and moving countries to knowledge economies. And we see governments walking the talk.”
Long-term, Antler seeks to actively increase economic competitiveness, job creation, technical and digital innovation, and knowledge-based GDP resilience in MENAP by creating and scaling exceptional fast-growing companies, supporting regional ambition, as guided by KSA’s Vision 2030 and Dubai Economic Agenda 2033 Vision.
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