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Exclusive: Meta veteran David Fischer makes a move into venture capital

July 7, 2022, 12:20 PM UTC

After more than 11 years at Facebook—or, more recently, Meta, where he ultimately climbed to Chief Revenue Officer—David Fischer decided to try his hand at something new: Taking a break. 

It didn’t really stick—not entirely, that is.

Shortly after his departure from Meta, around Thanksgiving 2021, conversations were already underway about Fischer joining the board of the Singapore-founded venture capital firm and international startup studio Antler. As we spoke on the phone, Fischer pulled up an email from “right around the time I was wrapping up at Facebook”—an introduction from Larry Summers, the former U.S. Treasury Secretary he had worked under in the 90s, to Magnus Grimeland, Antler’s founder and CEO. In an industry chock-full of Ivy League grads, it’s a rather small world. Grimeland himself was one of Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard classmates.

Fischer, who is based in the San Francisco Bay area, has since agreed to become an Antler board member himself, and will serve alongside Summers, B Capital Group vice chairman Sheila Patel, and, another recent addition, the hedge fund manager Nancy Zimmerman, among others. While Fischer and Antler are still sorting out the details, he expects to spend a few hours a month on the role and attend Antler’s bi-quarterly board meetings. As for his next full-time gig, Fischer says he is giving himself some time and space to decide.

Fischer is much more eager to talk about his new board position than he is about leaving Meta. He declined to say very much about his departure, and, early on in our conversation, even said he would end the interview if I continued to ask about it.

“After 11.5 years and growing the business from a relatively small to a very large business serving over 200 million businesses around the world, I just felt like it was a good time,” he says, adding later: “It was the right time for me. And if you talk to the people at the very top of the company, I was really proud of the work we had done there.”

As for Antler, this isn’t Fischer’s first foray into venture. He is a limited partner in a “variety of funds,” he says, though he wouldn’t say how many, nor whether he is an LP in Antler (An Antler spokeswoman declined to comment). Fischer has also increasingly been investing directly in startups as an angel. He declined to share any of his own investments.

“What I’m trying to look for…is opportunities that I think are not necessarily chasing what everyone else is doing,” Fischer says, noting how he was drawn to the international network Antler is building, and how the firm and its studio platform are finding innovative people wherever they are in the world.

“Great ideas and great people are everywhere, and that opportunity should be everywhere,” Fischer says.

Antler was founded in 2017 and has since grown into a global venture business that has worked with more than 3,700 founders and made around 500 investments across Vietnam, Indonesia, Australia, Singapore, Nairobi, and several countries in Europe and the Americas. Antler, which takes somewhere around a 7-10% stake in the startups coming out of its studios (depending on the region), manages around $500 million in AUM. The firm hasn’t had any exits yet, according to a spokesperson.

While Fischer is still sorting out exactly what his board position will look like, he hopes to advise startup founders as they build their businesses—relying on his experience at both Facebook, and previously, vice president of global online sales and operations at Google. Fischer says he joined Facebook when it was a 1,200-person organization generating $750 million in ARR, and he helped it grow into the nearly $118-billion social media, app, and virtual reality behemoth. Fischer oversaw the company’s advertising as well as its marketing for business products, and he led the company’s global sales and marketing teams. Fischer had led Meta’s expansion efforts in India over the last three years, he says.

It’s not an easy time for founders to launch a company, but if you ask Fischer, it’s a good one.

“The long-run opportunities are there, and the future is bright, but I think it’s going to be a bumpy road to get there,” he says.

See you tomorrow,

Jessica Mathews
Twitter: @jessicakmathews
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.


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