Antler leads $5.1M pre-seed funding for 37 startups across Southeast Asia

Backing the best talents in Southeast Asia to build the most defining companies of tomorrow

Jussi Salovaara

Co-founder and Managing Partner
January 31, 2024
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Kicking off the year with a historic milestone, we are proud to announce an unprecedented investment of $5.1 million in 37 Southeast Asian startups. This round marks the highest number of pre-seed deals completed in a single round in the region, demonstrating our 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. This investment also marks our initial footprint in Malaysia as part of our strategic partnership with sovereign wealth fund Khazanah.

As a multi-stage investor, we recognize the immense potential of early-stage startups in Southeast Asia. In this dynamic and challenging climate, we are especially drawn to pre-seed investments, particularly in verticalized AI and industry 4.0 startups that address deep-seated pain points and revolutionize how 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.

Our position as the earliest backer of startups uniquely enables us to identify and drive emerging tech trends. The investments in this round underscore conviction in the following trends:

  • Shift to verticalized AI - A second wave of AI startups is expected to emerge in 2024 as AI matures and solutions are tailored to specific industries. We will see a greater shift towards building durable businesses in verticalized AI, notably in media, customer lifecycle management, and LLM integration.
  • Rise of Industry 4.0 in SEA - While Industry 3.0 was initially driven by the manufacturing sector, Industry 4.0 technologies now have the transformative potential to drive all industry verticals. Its core principles of interconnectedness, data-driven decision-making, and automation are increasingly being applied to traditionally non-digital sectors, including construction, transportation, and healthcare.
  • SEA startups building hyperlocal solutions with global scalability - With the global digital economy expected to reach $17.5 trillion by 2025, a new wave of startups is emerging that are developing products that cater to hyperlocal needs in Southeast Asia while maintaining the potential for global expansion. We currently see opportunities in e-commerce, fintech, productivity, and travel, capitalizing on the region's diverse and rapidly growing market landscape, developing solutions that address specific local pain points, and incorporating scalable technologies for a global audience.

Here's the full list of invested startups for each of our Southeast Asia locations:





This investment round follows a resounding response from founders, with over 5,000 applications received for our residencies across SEA. Held concurrently in all four cities, the applications represented a diverse group of founders. Some in search of the right co-founder and a compelling idea to launch their startups, while others aimed to develop and scale their existing startups.

The selection process was rigorous, with approximately 300 founders chosen from the pool to receive intensive mentorship and guidance during a 10-week residency. This culminated in the launch and funding of the 35 startups, showcasing our commitment to nurturing groundbreaking ideas from inception and backing founders from day zero.

As a multi-stage investor, we recognize the immense potential of early-stage startups. With over 1,000 portfolio companies globally, we remain steadfast in our mission to back founders from day zero. Besides being the earliest backer for startups, we are also a long-term capital partner that provides expansion support and scale-up funding to breakout companies from Series A onwards.

Join us to get your startup launched and funded.

Jussi Salovaara

Co-founder and Managing Partner

As Co-founder and Managing Partner Asia, Jussi works with a global team dedicated to building the most defining technology companies of tomorrow. Jussi leads Antler’s investments in the APAC region and supports founders in building and scaling their businesses, especially with growth and fundraising. He has over a decade of experience across different industries at Nokia, McKinsey, Deloitte and Morgan Stanley.

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