A new early-stage fund called First Move has been established with the goal of supporting consumer-focused startups in Southeast Asia. The fund, led by former Fave executives Audra Pakalnyte and Joel Neoh, aims to accelerate the success of early-stage ventures in the region.

First Move sets itself apart by offering crucial pre-seed funding of up to US$100,000 and currently boasts a portfolio of seven companies spanning Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

This launch marks a significant milestone in fueling innovation and reshaping the consumer technology landscape in Southeast Asia.

Audra expressed enthusiasm about the vibrant consumer technology innovation scene in Southeast Asia. With the region’s ecosystem and infrastructure primed for growth, First Move is excited to partner with emerging entrepreneurs and contribute to the creation of future consumer-tech giants.

“At First Move, we go beyond providing capital injection as founders ourselves. We believe in offering guidance, mentorship, and access to a vast network of industry connections, which are crucial in the early stages of a startup’s journey.

“Understanding the challenges faced by founders, we aim to leverage our experience to provide invaluable mentoring support and set our portfolio startups up for long-term success.”

Joel added, “Having embarked on my own entrepreneurial journey, I am humbled by the support I have received from the startup ecosystem. Now, with First Move, we are committed to paying it forward, supporting founders, and bridging the crucial gap of early-stage support in Southeast Asia.”

In addition to providing direct funding, First Move embraces a collaborative approach by actively partnering with other venture capital firms in the region. Among its initial collaborators and backers is 500 Global, highlighting First Move’s collaboration-first approach to supporting startup growth and success in Southeast Asia.

Khailee Ng, Managing Partner at 500 Global, shared his perspective on the importance of angel syndicates and founder-led funds like First Move in the region. He said the compounding effect of successful founders supporting future founders and expressed confidence in First Move’s ability to launch the next generation of founders.

To further foster collaboration, First Move has established the Consumer Tech Angel Syndicate, a tight-knit group comprising experienced founders and executives in the consumer space. Members of the Angel Syndicate, including founders and senior executives from D2C, e-commerce, mobility, and fintech scale-ups across Southeast Asia, will have the opportunity to co-invest in First Move deals and provide hands-on support and counsel to the startups.

Following their departure from Fave earlier this year, Joel Neoh assumed the role of Managing Director of CircleDNA, a leading healthtech company. He had previously invested as an angel investor in Prenetics, writing the first check for the company in 2014.

Audra Pakalnyte, a seasoned founding team member of multiple successful startups alongside Joel, brings invaluable expertise in helping startups make their initial moves.

Together, their combined experience and passion for fostering entrepreneurial growth solidify First Move’s commitment to supporting startups. The fund has already invested in an initial portfolio of seven startups in the e-commerce and D2C space across Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

First Move is actively seeking investments and invites entrepreneurs working on innovative and disruptive consumer startups to submit their applications. For more information about First Move, please visit www.firstmovefund.com.

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