Global venture capital firm Antler invests in seven Malaysian startups

KUALA LUMPUR: Antler, the global early-stage venture capital firm is investing in seven Malaysian startups as part of a US$5.1 million (RM24.2 million) investment in 37 startups across Southeast Asia.

Antler Malaysia associate partner and country head Frank Kang said the firm is backing seven startups from the Antler Malaysia cohort including Cleve, COEX, MessengerCo, PingMi, Seafoody, UniiD, and Zappy.

The seven startups in Malaysia are from consumer technology, B2B SaaS, real estate, and property technology, as well as industrial sectors, through its first venture generation program that kicked off in October 2023.

"As we mark our first investment round in Malaysia, we are excited by the potential. The diversity and calibre of the startups speak volumes about the country's growing influence as a key player in the regional entrepreneurial landscape," said Frank Kang, Associate Partner and Country Head for Antler Malaysia.

The investment also marks Antler's initial commitment and footprint in Malaysia, since its entry in July 2023, as part of its strategic partnership with sovereign wealth fund Khazanah.

Antler aims to invest in over 30 startups in Malaysia across three years.

Antler said the US$5.1 million round marks the highest number of pre-seed deals completed in a single round in the region, demonstrating Antler's commitment to backing the next generation of SEA tech entrepreneurs.

The diverse portfolio of startups spans 19 sectors ranging from AI and B2B SaaS to fintech and healthcare to address specific regional challenges.

Antler Co-founder and Managing Partner Asia Jussi Salovaara said as a multi-stage investor the firm recognised the immense potential of early-stage startups in Southeast Asia.

In this dynamic and challenging climate, the company is especially drawn to pre-seed investments, particularly in verticalised AI and industry 4.0 startups that address deep-seated pain points and revolutionize the way models and data translate into tangible products.

"At this pivotal moment, we are laser-focused on helping founders establish a robust foundation for sustainable business models and fostering long-term innovation within the broader global tech ecosystem," Salovaara said.

Antler's position as the earliest backer of startups uniquely enables them to both identify and drive emerging tech trends. With a record number of over 5,000 applications in this round, Antler has consistently backed over 1,000 startups across the world, since its launch in 2018. 

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