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

This marks the highest number of pre-seed deals completed in a single round in the region.


Jussi Salovaara

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.

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.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest news and views from Antler’s global community

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Must-read articles from Antler

Browse our collection of founder stories, industry insights and latest startup successes from Antler Australia

See articles
5 min read
From day zero to greatness: Magnus Grimeland on the Capital Allocators podcast

How can the world tackle the increasingly complex problems of our time? With a new global infrastructure backing the most driven founders. Listen to Antler founder and CEO Magnus Grimeland discuss this—and why we're building Antler—on the Capital Allocators podcast.

5 min read
Antler expands into Queensland, Australia

Antler is charting a new course for innovation by expanding our presence in Australia. We are launching in Queensland and partnering with the Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC).

Supported by the Queensland Government's Queensland Venture Capital Development Fund (QVCDF), the partnership is poised to transform the state's innovation sector. With a focus on bridging the early-stage funding gap, Antler and QIC are committed to attracting and nurturing the nation's top talent, driving forward Queensland's position on the global innovation stage.

5 min read
Bridging startups and industry leaders to drive purposeful innovation

As Jeff Bezos once said: “What’s dangerous is to not evolve.” While most business leaders understand that stagnation is fatal, for a host of reasons established companies often struggle to innovate—purposefully and powerfully.

Antler’s Business Development and Collaborations Group helps global corporates drive innovation excellence through high value-generating collaborations with Antler’s 1,000+ (and growing) global startup portfolio. In our collaboration with Investa, a leading Australian real estate investment manager and developer, we are connecting them to our global community of founders and the cutting-edge solutions they are building.

Read more about the powerful outcomes that happen when ambitious startups and industry leaders come together.

5 min read
The next wave of innovation: 27 industry trends set to define 2024

What will innovation look like as we move deeper into 2024? What are the biggest industry trends that will define the coming year?

We asked our global network of Antler Operators—founders, sector leaders, CxOs, and VPs from companies including Roblox, Airtable, Shopify, Spotify, Affirm, DoorDash, Uber, Hubspot, and more, who offer 1:1 advice to Antler portfolio companies, giving them extra firepower to help fast-track their growth.

5 min read
Shaping sustainability in venture capital

Antler's third annual ESG and Impact Report discusses our commitment to sustainability as a strategic principle that's fundamental to the success of our firm, our portfolio companies, and broader society.

5 min read
What's in store for day zero building in 2024?

A brand new year, teeming with possibility. What can founders building from day zero expect in 2024? Antler partners share their on-the-ground expectations for the coming year, including sector trends, big shifts in VC, and the biggest headwinds and tailwinds affecting founders around the world.

5 min read
1,000+ investments from day zero

As 2023 draws to a close, we are proud to mark a special milestone: making our 1,000th investment in companies originating from Antler residencies around the world.

5 min read
The people who drive progress: Antler founders in 2023

Antler's global community grew larger, stronger, and more impactful this year, now including 8,000 founders, 800 advisors, and 249 Antler team members in 27 offices worldwide. Here's how we moved the world forward together in 2023.