Romain Assunção joins Antler to help launch MENA presence

24 August 2023 2 min. read
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McKinsey associate partner Romain Assunção has taken on a new role at Antler, teaming up with Jonathan Doerr to spearhead the company’s entry into the region.

Headquartered in Singapore, Antler is a globally operating venture capital group with around 25 offices worldwide. Since its inception in 2018, the firm has invested in more than 850 startups – with the aim to back more than 6,000 start-ups by 2030.

A crop of around 100 early-stage investments over the next four years are set to come from the Middle East, following the launch of Antler’s $60 million MENA fund. “We are delighted to launch in the Middle East,” said Magnus Grimeland, CEO and Founder at Antler.

Romain Assunção joins Antler to help launch MENA presence

Leading the expansion in the region are the duo Romain Assunção (who spent seven years at McKinsey & Company in Dubai and also had a stint in industry) and Jonathan Doerr (a serial entrepreneur with three exits).

They have been tasked with establishing Antler within MENA’s fast-growing start-up landscape, with a focus on the early-stage segment.

Antler’s aim is to “back exceptional founders at the earliest stage with co-founder matching, personalised coaching, access to a local and global network of founders and advisors, ecosystem expertise, day zero investment, and support with follow-on funding,” states the firm on its website.

The firm’s long-term goal is to contribute to the innovation pillar of national agendas. “Startups are crucial – in particular in tech and digital space, being cross-sectorial, creating high quality jobs, and moving countries to knowledge economies, as guided by overarching economic strategies such as Vision 2030.”

Hitting the ground running, Antler has already selected 65+ aspiring founders from over 2,500 applications for its inaugural Riyadh cohort launching in September 2023.

Funding for Antler’s first MENA fund was raised from companies including e&, Telefonica, Deutsche Telecom, Sequoia and Rakuten.