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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
Email: jessica.mathews@fortune.com
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Jackson Fordyce curated the deals section of today’s newsletter.

VENTURE DEALS

- YuLife, a London-based insurance company, raised $120 million in Series C funding led by Dai-ichi Life

- Swimlane, a Louisville, Colo.-based security automation company, raised $70 million in Series C funding. Activate Capital led the round and was joined by investors including Energy Impact Partners and 3Lines Venture Capital

- Zeem Solutions, an Inglewood, Calif.-based zero emission commercial vehicles provider, raised $50 million in funding from affiliates of ArcLight Capital Partners

- Iceotope Technologies, a Sheffield, U.K.-based precision immersion cooling technology company, raised £30 million ($35.77 million) in funding. ABC Impact led the round and was joined by investors including nVent, FTSE 250, SDCL Energy Efficiency Income Trust, Northern Gritstone, British Patient Capital, Pavilion Capital, and Edinv.

- Tropic Biosciences, a Norwich, U.K.-based plant breeding and gene editing AgTech, raised $35 million in funding. Blue Horizon led the round and was joined by investors including DisruptAD, Skyviews Life Science, Bloom8, Tekfen Ventures, and Sucden Ventures.  

- EVCS, an Arcadia, Calif.-based electric vehicle charging network operator, raised $18.8 million in Series A funding co-led by Abdo Partners, Spring Lane Capital, and the Copulos Group

- Finalis, a New York and San Francisco-based technology platform for dealmakers, raised $10.7 million in seed funding co-led by ANIMO Ventures, Chaac Ventures, Ulu Ventures, Tribe Capital, and The Fund

- Foresite Technology Solutions, a Costa Mesa, Calif.-based construction software company, raised $8 million in funding led by Gallant Capital

- APFusion, a Champaign, Ill.-based automotive B2B marketplace and SaaS company, raised $6.5 million in seed funding. Left Lane Capital and Bedrock Capital led the round and were joined by M25.

- Finli, a San Marino, Calif.-based payment management platform for small businesses, raised $6 million in seed funding. Urban Innovation Fund led the round and was joined by investors including Motley Fool Ventures, M13, Alumni Ventures, and others. 

PRIVATE EQUITY

- Avalanche’s Blizzard Fund and JAM FINTOP acquired a minority stake in Intain, a New York-based blockchain financial administration system company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- BCS HR Group, backed by Main Capital Partners, acquired Apployed, a Berkel en Rodenrijs, Netherlands-based personnel administration software company. Financial terms were not disclosed.  

- First Trust Capital Partners agreed to acquire Veriti Management, a Boston-based direct indexing asset management and financial technology company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Genstar Capital acquired Abracon, a Spicewood, Texas-based passive components provider. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- LongWater acquired Thermotec, a Greenwich, Ohio-based glass products maker. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Mercer Global Advisors acquired Starks Financial Group, an Asheville, N.C.-based financial planning and wealth management firm. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

- Repairify, backed by Kinderhook, acquired Automotive Training Group, a San Diego-based technical training company for the automotive industry. Financial terms were not disclosed. 

EXITS

- ASGN Incorporated acquired GlideFast Consulting, a Waltham, Mass.-based IT consulting, implementation, and development company, from BV Investment Partners for $350 million. 

- Equistone Partners Europe acquired a majority stake in Talon Outdoor, a London-based advertising agency, from Mayfair Equity Partners. Financial terms were not disclosed.  

OTHER

- Paper Excellence Group agreed to acquire Resolute Forest Products, a Montreal-based newsprint producer, for $1.6 billion in cash. 

- Actis acquired a minority stake in Omega Energia, a São Paulo-based renewable energy generation company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

- Piper Sandler agreed to acquire DBO Partners, a Burlingame, Calif.-based brokerage services provider. FInancial terms were not disclosed. 

- Prodege acquired BitBurst, a Monheim am Rhein, Germany-based market research company. Financial terms were not disclosed.

FUNDS + FUNDS OF FUNDS

- Headline, a Berlin and San Francisco-based venture capital firm, raised $954 million across three funds: The North American-focused fund raised $408 million, the pan-European-focused fund raised €320 million ($325.85 million), and the Latin American-focused fund raised R$915 million ($168.5 million). 

- Hamilton Lane, a Philadelphia-based investment firm, raised $590 million for its infrastructure opportunities fund.  

- Silverton Partners, an Austin-based venture capital firm, raised $248 million for a fund focused on Texas-based early-stage startups.

- Konvoy, a Denver-based venture capital firm, raised $150 million for a fund focused on pre-seed, seed, and Series A gaming companies. 

- Partners Capital, a Boston-based investment firm, raised $143 million for a fund focused on companies with net zero carbon emission technologies.  

- Tenacity, a Palo Alto-based venture fund, raised $60 million for a fund focused on pre-Series A rounds.

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