BUILD YOUR COMPANY WITH ANTLER IN THE MIDDLE EAST

We are one of the most active early-stage investors in the world, enabling the most driven people to build companies that move the world forward.

We invest from the pre-seed stage and continue to be a long-term partner as your company grows. In the evolving tech hubs of Dubai, UAE and Riyadh, KSA, we bring together entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.

Our value-add to founders, in a nutshell:

  1. Find your co-founders
  2. Validate your idea
  3. Access capital

Our next cohort will launch in September, 2024. Want to learn more about it? Register here!

Who is Antler in MENAP for?

We’re looking for experienced business operators, serial entrepreneurs, technologists, or domain experts who can motivate themselves and others to join their mission to build a game-changing business.

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur seeking a co-founder or an idea, or an early-stage startup seeking to expedite your growth, Antler is the ideal environment to bring your vision to life.

We accept applications from both individuals and teams.

Teams

Already have the dream team?

Do you already have a team and are ready to start building? Joining Antler gives you the opportunity to build alongside like-minded, ambitious founders. Build long-lasting relationships, gain access to coaching, network resources, investor introductions, and valuable support — regardless of your idea's stage.

Individuals

Looking for a co-founder?

Are you an individual ready to start something new, and looking for the right co-founder? Antler brings together an exclusive group of ambitious people to explore ideas together. Meet, learn, and co-create with exceptional builders. Join us to turn your vision into reality.

We back the best from the very beginning. Then back them again.

From day one, we provide access to co-founder matching, personalized coaching, access to a local and global network of founders and advisors, MENAP ecosystem expertise, day zero investment and support with follow-on funding. Having invested in 900+ companies and supported 6000+ entrepreneurs through our programs in 20 countries, we know what works and what doesn't. This helps us better support our founders and help maximize their chances of success.

01

Find your co-founder and build your network

  • Meet ~75 exceptional potential co-founders; tech, commercial, and domain experts selected from over 3,000 applicants.
  • Join a supportive and like-minded community that is committed to an in-person and full-time program.
  • Receive a $4,000 program grant, free office space, and $1M worth of founder perks.

Validate and launch your idea

  • Learn from master classes and workshops packed with our learnings from 1,000+ startup investments across 27 locations.
  • Get personalized coaching and mentorship from the Antler team and venture partners who bring entrepreneurial backgrounds and MENAP ecosystem expertise.
  • Create a robust pitch deck and get your team ready to present in front of the investment committee.

02
03

Access capital and scale your business

  • Pitch for your first investment of $180k for 11% of equity and fast-track your incorporation and legal documents with us.
  • Build your MVP and access a network of prominent investors to raise your next round.
  • Scale with our local and global network of private and public strategic partners, advisors, founders, and industry experts and receive follow-on investments from Antler.


No items found.

Application process

The full application process takes about 2 weeks to complete. Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the full process and will be available to answer all your questions. All of our interviews are done online.

Applications have now closed for our Dubai Cohort.

Apply

Apply on antler.co/apply using your LinkedIn account or CV and fill out a short questionnaire.

Kick-off session

Join a session with Antler team leadership to learn about the program, founder selection criteria, commercial terms, and the next steps. Use this session as an opportunity to ask any questions and understand whether our program is a right fit for you.

Intro interview

In this interview, we hope to learn more about your passions, domain expertise, and previous experiences driving projects forward, amongst other topics. We are also keen to share further information on how we can tangibly support you.

Partner interview

Here, we uncover your personal attributes aligned to launching and scaling a company such as creative problem solving, execution, leadership, and grit, in addition to how you are a leader in your industry or skill specialism, growth mindset, and intellectual aptitude.

01
0
02
1
03
2
04
3

Application process

The full application process takes about 2 weeks to complete. Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the full process and will be available to answer all your questions. All of our interviews are done online.

Applications have now closed for our Dubai Cohort.

Apply

Apply on antler.co/apply using your LinkedIn account or CV and fill out a short questionnaire.

Kick-off session

Join a session with Antler team leadership to learn about the program, founder selection criteria, commercial terms, and the next steps. Use this session as an opportunity to ask any questions and understand whether our program is a right fit for you.

Intro interview

In this interview, we hope to learn more about your passions, domain expertise, and previous experiences driving projects forward, amongst other topics. We are also keen to share further information on how we can tangibly support you.

Partner interview

Here, we uncover your personal attributes aligned to launching and scaling a company such as creative problem solving, execution, leadership, and grit, in addition to how you are a leader in your industry or skill specialism, growth mindset, and intellectual aptitude.

Offer to join Antler

Once we have made an offer, the next steps are simple. You’ll sign an Antler Founder Agreement and shortly after, we will send you a welcome package containing instructions on how to participate in our pre-program activities to prepare you for your first day, including getting to know the other founders in your program ahead of time.

01
0
02
1
03
2
04
3
05
4

Application process

The full application process takes about 2 weeks to complete. Once you apply, our scouting team will guide you through the full process and will be available to answer all your questions. All of our interviews are done online.

Applications have now closed for our Dubai Cohort.

Apply

Apply on antler.co/apply using your LinkedIn account or CV and fill out a short questionnaire.

Kick-off session

Join a session with Antler team leadership to learn about the program, founder selection criteria, commercial terms, and the next steps. Use this session as an opportunity to ask any questions and understand whether our program is a right fit for you.

Intro interview

In this interview, we hope to learn more about your passions, domain expertise, and previous experiences driving projects forward, amongst other topics. We are also keen to share further information on how we can tangibly support you.

01
0
02
1
03
2
No items found.
No items found.
Entrepass Partner

Our team

Meet the people dedicated to our founders’ success.

Dr. Jonathan Doerr
Partner

Jonathan is the Co-Founding Partner at Antler MENAP. He has a proven track record of successfully building ventures across diverse markets. Before Antler, Jonathan founded Smileneo, a direct-to-consumer health tech business in the MENA region, which was acquired in 2023. He also served as the Co-CEO of Daraz, the leading online marketplace in South Asia, acquired by Alibaba in 2018. Additionally, Jonathan held the position of Managing Director at Jumia, the leading online marketplace in Africa that went public on the NYSE in 2019.

Romain Assunção
Partner

Romain is the Co-Founding Partner at Antler MENAP. He has served as an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company in Dubai / Riyadh offices, where he notably helped governments in MENAP to foster startup and tech ecosystems. Prior to that, he focused on go-to-market functions within Amazon, Rocket Internet / Jumia, and L'Oreal. Romain holds an MBA from London Business School and is a member of Tomouh Community of Leaders.

Hala Ebrahim
Director, Investments

Hala is an Investment Director at Antler MENAP, based out of the Riyadh office. She has over 16 years of experience in program management, strategic comms, and business consulting, having worked with a range of startups, investors, and government entities in the MENA region. Most recently, Hala worked at Brinc MENA, where she led the expansion and program setup with regional entities such as NEOM, Omantel, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund.


Amy Zaghloul
Director, Capital

Amy is a Director Capital at Antler, she combines her global experience in Investor Relations and M&A to support fundraising for Funds and early-stage companies. Most recently, she led Investor Relations efforts at a Venture Fund focusing on the capital raising process for the Fund as well as providing strategic advisory to portfolio companies on growth initiatives. Previously, she spent several years in Investment Banking in New York focusing on M&A and capital raising projects in Healthcare and Technology. Amy enjoys building relationships and attracting strategic investors to help exceptional entrepreneurs build impactful businesses. She is an advisor to a mental healthcare start-up and sits on the board of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association.

Mohamed Hamza
Residency Manager

Hamza has cultivated invaluable experience working with more than 250 sustainable startups across various sectors. His primary focus lies in driving the commercialization of innovation and fostering meaningful corporate engagement within these dynamic entrepreneurial ventures.

Norhan Ghazi
Investment Associate

Norhan is an Investment Associate at Antler MENAP. She began her tech ecosystem journey at Techstars as an Operations Associate, where she supported growth-stage startups at Hub 71 in Abu Dhabi. She also has diverse experience in digital marketing strategy and project management in the mental wellness, audio branding and banking spaces.

Zade Al Borshaid
Manager, Investments

Zade is an Investment Manager at Antler MENAP. He was previously at McKinsey's Middle East Office, where he worked on engagements at the cross section of their Digital and PE/Principal Investor practices. He mainly focused on strategy work around funding startup ecosystems, investment and set up strategies for vertical-specific VC/Growth PE investment funds, and investment processes for institutional investors. He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Economics and hails from Bahrain.

Karan Teckchandani
Senior Investment Associate

Karan is a Senior Investment Associate at Antler MENAP. He has over 6 years of experience in venture capital, he has invested in and managed a portfolio of technology startups from seed to series A across India, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and North America. Prior to joining Antler, Karan worked at Equanimity Investments, Modus Capital, and Hashgraph Ventures. He holds a Masters in Finance from Johns Hopkins University.

Faheem Asvat
Manager, Investment

Faheem is an Investment Manager at Antler MENAP. He was previously at Majid Al Futtaim, where he worked on Strategy, Digital Transformation and Innovation projects supporting the rapid growth of the eCommerce business. Prior to that, he was at McKinsey’s Johannesburg Office, serving Sub-Saharan clients across Capital Projects, Banking Ecosystems, Capital Excellence, and Strategy. He also spent 8 years at Massmart, South Africa’s largest multi-retail brand.

Mohamed Elmalik
Senior Investment Associate

Mohamed is a Senior Investment Associate at Antler. He spent time at a Bay Area-based Venture Capital Fund investing in early stage start-ups in the United States. He also brings operating experience, having led expansions into new geographies with Wanderjaunt, a Real Estate and Hospitality start-up; he helped develop a comprehensive launch playbook and set up operations, build teams and processes in cities across several states. Mohamed started his career in Consulting at Redwood Advisors in Austin, where he led strategy and growth projects for start-ups, enterprises and leading philanthropic organizations.

Shadi Karra
Senior Investment Associate

Shadi Karra is a Senior Investment Associate at Antler. Prior to joining Antler, his experience spanned strategy and business operations within both the public and private sectors. Shadi began his career at the United Nations Development Programme and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office. He later transitioned to the startup ecosystem, overseeing business operations and strategy at a health tech startup, followed by a role as a strategic client partner at a leading media company. Shadi studied Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hollie Stoner
Manager, Finance

Hollie is the Finance Manager at Antler MENAP. She has over 7 years of experience in finance, having held senior roles across property, parking, and technology industries. Prior to Antler, she worked in Dubai as the Finance Manager of a digital identity start-up.

Nadine Mezher
Venture Partner

Nadine is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. She is a co-founder and board member of Sarwa, a leading investing and personal finance Fintech platform.

Prior to that, she spent more than 15 years in leadership roles and growth strategy consultancy across industries and geographies in the private and public sectors, with multinationals like Nestle, and government entities like Dubai Economy and Tourism, government of Dubai, as deputy director in the retail and strategic alliance department.

Sabine El Najjar
Venture Partner

Sabine is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. She has 8+ years experience in consulting focused on financial services, real estate, and digital transformations. She also led the growth of Kitopi KSA, the world's largest multi-brand restaurant, in her role as managing director and is currently launching prop-tech company SIlkhaus KSA as Founding GM. In her roles, she has gained significant experience in scaling start-ups in KSA.

Wafaa Al Obaidat
Venture Partner

Wafa Al Obaidat is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP and a renowned CEO, TEDx speaker, and serial entrepreneur. She has led Obai and Hill for over 12 years, overseeing 5000+ global projects with a team of 40+. She also founded Sketchbook, a rapidly growing digital magazine in London. A champion for women's advancement, Wafa hosts the Women Power Summit and podcast. Recognized by Business In Gulf and a fellow at The Vital Voices GROW program, she has given over 50 talks globally. Her accolades include the Leader of Tomorrow award from MasterCard MENA and recognition from Entrepreneur Magazine.

Baghdad Gherras
Venture Partner

Baghdad is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He works at the intersection of Web 3.0 and Data Science for an Abu Dhabi based conglomerate contributing to the launch of several ventures including Zand Bank. He was one of the pioneers in Data Science in the region, being a professional working with organizations such as RTA, UAE Prime Minister Officer, MAF, etc. Lecturer at IE Business School and RIT Dubai or Community Builder with Google.

Beau Seil
Venture Partner

Beau is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. Prior to his move to Dubai, he co-founded Patamar Capital, the leading early-stage impact investing VC firm in SE Asia, and led the firm for over 10 years. He is on the board of Lhoopa and SwipeRx, and is also an executive coach for select startup CEOs in the MENAP region.

Florian Jansen
Venture Partner

Florian is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He co-founded and led the fashion ecosystem Lamoda, and spearheaded Russia’s largest retailer Magnit through its transformation. Being focused on MENA, Florian runs the IT service & investment firm FJX and serves the board of noon.

Jerry Gamez
Venture Partner

Jerry is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He is the CEO of VOV, an integral part of Savvy Games Group both in KSA and worldwide. Prior to that, he has over two decades of senior executive positions in entrepreneurship, retail and hospitality, in major brands like Walmart, Restaurant Brands International and Le Pain Quotidien.

John Mady
Venture Partner

John is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He is the Co-founder and MD at Qlub, a global fintech focused on digitizing payment in the F&B sector. Prior to that, he spent 3 years at Deliveroo in various Operational and Commercial leadership roles in the Middle East, and was a manager at McKinsey & Co.

Leonard Stiegeler
Venture Partner

Leo is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He is a serial entrepreneur & investor, having set up and funded companies in different regions. He founded & scaled the leading digital media company in Africa, Pulse, which today has platforms in 6 countries across the continent and was acquired in 2022. His investments include ventures in Fintech, SaaS, eCommerce and Health Tech across the world.

Marc Weill
Venture Partner

Marc is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP, his career has spanned more than three decades and in nearly every aspect of financial services, Marc has served in key roles at several top firms, including Chief Investment Officer at Citigroup. He is currently a Senior Advisor at Two Sigma Ventures where he helps source and evaluate investment opportunities while providing strategic support to their portfolio companies, fascinated by the intersection of health and financial wellness and the tech solutions created by dynamic founders.

Malik Alyousef
Venture Partner

Malik is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He co-founded and acts as COO of Mozn AI. He has 12+ years of experience in technology, consulting, and financial services spanning across 4 continents. Prior to Mozn, he was an Engagement Manager at McKinsey & Company in Dubai. He has an MBA from MIT and a BSc in engineering from the University of Maryland.


Michael Trüschler
Venture Partner

Michael  is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He is an entrepreneur with expertise in FinTech and e-commerce, is known for founding citrussTV and FlexxPay. With successful exits from both ventures, he now mentors startups and provides consultancy on financial matters. Michael's interests extend to blockchain technology, and he enjoys sports, wood carving, and reading.

Omar Chihane
Venture Partner

Omar is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He is the CEO of Englease.com, a leading online English language school in MENA. Featured in Forbes and other publications, he advocates for entrepreneurship. With an MBA from London Business School, Omar has led sales transformations at Siemens, Nokia, and Microsoft, achieving significant growth. Englease.com offers accredited English classes around the clock, poised to become the premier ESL platform in the region.

Sebastien Wakim
Venture Partner

Sebastien is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He is a co-founder of Wisewell, a sustainability-focused consumer water technology company in the US and GCC. Prior to that, he assumed leadership roles at OLX and was a General Manager with Uber, launching and scaling multiple Uber markets in the MENA region. Sebastien started his career as a consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton and Delta Partners. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a MS in engineering from UC Berkeley.

Baghdad Gherras
Venture Partner

Baghdad is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He works at the intersection of Web 3.0 and Data Science for an Abu Dhabi based conglomerate contributing to the launch of several ventures including Zand Bank. He was one of the pioneers in Data Science in the region, being a professional working with organizations such as RTA, UAE Prime Minister Officer, MAF, etc. Lecturer at IE Business School and RIT Dubai or Community Builder with Google.

Leonard Stiegeler
Venture Partner

Leo is a Venture Partner at Antler MENAP. He is a serial entrepreneur & investor, having set up and funded companies in different regions. He founded & scaled the leading digital media company in Africa, Pulse, which today has platforms in 6 countries across the continent and was acquired in 2022. His investments include ventures in Fintech, SaaS, eCommerce and Health Tech across the world.

Hala Ebrahim
Director, Investments

Hala is an Investment Director at Antler MENAP, based out of the Riyadh office. She has over 16 years of experience in program management, strategic comms, and business consulting, having worked with a range of startups, investors, and government entities in the MENA region. Most recently, Hala worked at Brinc MENA, where she led the expansion and program setup with regional entities such as NEOM, Omantel, and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Innovation Fund.


Romain Assunção
Partner

Romain is the Co-Founding Partner at Antler MENAP. He has served as an Associate Partner at McKinsey & Company in Dubai / Riyadh offices, where he notably helped governments in MENAP to foster startup and tech ecosystems. Prior to that, he focused on go-to-market functions within Amazon, Rocket Internet / Jumia, and L'Oreal. Romain holds an MBA from London Business School and is a member of Tomouh Community of Leaders.

Anne-Maria Salmela
Associate, Investments

Anne is an Investment Associate at Antler MENAP, based out of the Riyadh office. She co-founded a UAE-based student startup community, Violet Ventures, which brought Slush to the Middle East and supported 700+ young founders with programs and training. Prior to Antler, she worked in Investment Banking at Morgan Stanley, impact VC, growth at Nasdaq’s impact-data provider, right-hand for family office investors, amongst others.

Akshat Agarwal
Manager, Investments

Akshat is an Investment Manager at Antler MENAP, based out of the Riyadh office. He was the first employee in both Antler MENAP Fund I and Antler Australia Fund I. He has led and supported several roles in startups ranging from Fintech, Edtech, and SaaS. Prior to Antler he led a NFP, Textbook Ventures with the aim of educating all students in Australia about entrepreneurship.

Hollie Stoner
Manager, Finance

Hollie is the Finance Manager at Antler MENAP. She has over 7 years of experience in finance, having held senior roles across property, parking, and technology industries. Prior to Antler, she worked in Dubai as the Finance Manager of a digital identity start-up.

Zade Al Borshaid
Manager, Investments

Zade is an Investment Manager at Antler MENAP. He was previously at McKinsey's Middle East Office, where he worked on engagements at the cross section of their Digital and PE/Principal Investor practices. He mainly focused on strategy work around funding startup ecosystems, investment and set up strategies for vertical-specific VC/Growth PE investment funds, and investment processes for institutional investors. He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Economics and hails from Bahrain.

Dr. Jonathan Doerr
Partner

Jonathan is the Co-Founding Partner at Antler MENAP. He has a proven track record of successfully building ventures across diverse markets. Before Antler, Jonathan founded Smileneo, a direct-to-consumer health tech business in the MENA region, which was acquired in 2023. He also served as the Co-CEO of Daraz, the leading online marketplace in South Asia, acquired by Alibaba in 2018. Additionally, Jonathan held the position of Managing Director at Jumia, the leading online marketplace in Africa that went public on the NYSE in 2019.

News and views from Antler

Read our latest insights and stories about our phenomenal founders.

View all
From around the world to MENAP: Antler's first Riyadh residency

The startup ecosystem in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan (MENAP) is bursting with potential. With a young, tech-savvy, and increasingly urban population of 600 million and governments evaluating ways to diversify and modernize their economies, vast opportunities await founders building in the region. Antler is thrilled to support the next generation of standout founders from across the region—and the world—through the launch of our inaugural residency in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Learn more about the 92 exceptional founders who joined our first cohort.

Antler launches $60 million MENAP fund

Antler launches a $60m MENAP fund led by partners Dr. Jonathan Doerr and Romain Assunção with plans to invest in 100+ startups in the next four years. Antler is replicating its proven global track record from across six continents to boost early-stage investing in MENAP.

Antler’s $285M emerging growth fund backs tomorrow’s industry leaders

Antler is thrilled to have closed Antler Elevate, a $285 million emerging growth fund that backs the next generation of game-changing founders across 20+ technology ecosystems, propelling them on their paths to greatness.

Abraham Burak: The digital nomad delivering instant connectivity worldwide

Meet Abraham Burak, co-founder of Airalo, who ditched an inefficient legacy system to make connectivity accessible and affordable to millions of world travelers.

A window into progress: A look inside the world's day zero investor

As we approach the fifth anniversary of our first investments, we are excited to share A Window into Progress, a report that captures the breadth, depth, and impact of Antler’s global community, which continues to grow and strengthen through the downturn.

FAQs

No items found.
No items found.
Middle East
Find your co-founder in less than 3 months

Join the most active pre-seed residency in the world. Subscribe and get a personalized Q&A session.

Subscribe now