In a groundbreaking move, Antler, the global early-stage venture capital firm, has declared its largest pre-seed investment round to date, committing an impressive US$5.1 million (RM24.2 million) to support 37 startups across Southeast Asia, with a significant focus on Malaysia. This investment round not only sets a new record for Antler but also marks the highest number of pre-seed deals completed in a single round in the region, underlining Antler’s dedication to fostering the next generation of tech entrepreneurs in Southeast Asia.
The diversified portfolio of startups encompasses 19 sectors, spanning from AI and B2B SaaS to fintech and healthcare, strategically addressing specific regional challenges. This marks Antler’s initial commitment and entry into the Malaysian market, solidifying its strategic partnership with sovereign wealth fund Khazanah.
Jussi Salovaara, Co-founder and Managing Partner Asia of Antler, expressed the firm’s recognition of the immense potential in early-stage startups in Southeast Asia. Emphasizing their focus on pre-seed investments, particularly in verticalized AI and industry 4.0 startups, Salovaara highlighted the importance of addressing deep-seated challenges and revolutionizing the translation of models and data into tangible products.
Frank Kang, Associate Partner and Country Head for Antler Malaysia, expressed excitement about the first investment round in Malaysia, commending the country’s growing influence in the regional entrepreneurial landscape. Kang proudly announced the backing of seven startups from the Antler Malaysia cohort, including Cleve, COEX, MessengerCo, PingMi, Seafoody, UniiD, and Zappy.
Antler’s early-stage backing positions them uniquely to identify and drive emerging tech trends. Their investments in this round showcase confidence in trends such as the shift to verticalized AI, the rise of Industry 4.0 in Southeast Asia, and the emergence of startups building hyperlocal solutions with global scalability.
The record-breaking investment round attracted over 5,000 applications, solidifying Antler’s track record of supporting over 1,000 startups worldwide since its inception in 2018. The firm’s commitment to fostering innovation and contributing to the growth of the startup ecosystem in the region remains unwavering.