Antler, a global early-stage venture capital firm, has committed US$5.1 million (RM24.2 million) to 37 startups across Southeast Asia, seven of which are in Malaysia.
For Malaysian startups specifically, each received an investment of US$110,000, totalling to US$770,000 across the board (RM3,640,175).
According to a January 31 press release, the startups funded in this round span 19 sectors, ranging from AI and B2B SaaS to fintech and healthcare.
This marks the firm’s largest pre-seed investment round to date, as well as the highest number of pre-seed deals completed in a single round in the region.
The investment also signifies Antler’s commitment to Malaysia, as part of its strategic partnership with sovereign wealth fund Khazanah.
Founded in Singapore with a global footprint, Antler is dedicated to backing the next generation of SEA tech entrepreneurs, the press release claimed.
Frank Kang, the Associate Partner and Country Head for Antler Malaysia, stated in the press release, “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.”
The seven local startups that have been backed by Antler include Cleve, COEX, MessengerCo, PingMi, Seafoody, UniiD, and Zappy. Here’s what they do.
Seven homegrown startups funded
Founded by Lizzie Tan and Ashvin Praveen, Cleve is an AI assistant that helps creators scale their online presence.
The duo previously founded and led Whacked, which focused on building online communities for business leaders through personal storytelling.
Cleve has a similar mission of helping creators and thought leaders scale their online presence, but it leverages AI and is trained based on each user’s knowledge and tone to generate personalised content at scale.
It works by chatting with users and asking tailored questions to acquire data on their thoughts, experiences, and industry knowledge.
These personalised responses are then used to generate a personalised AI model as well as platform-optimised posts that are unique to each user.
Another AI-centric startup, PingMi is a product management platform that uses technology to ship revenue-driving ideas “10x faster”.
The product management gaps that PingMi is addressing include inconsistency in customers’ data and fragment toolsets with poor stakeholder engagement.
What PingMi does to solve this is providing an all-in-one platform to convert customer data into AI insights, build data-driven priorities, and align teamwork and stakeholders’ expectations around a clear product strategy.
The founders are Stanislav Voronov, Katsiaryna Rusalovich, and Sergei Petrov.
An Industry 4.0 industry, COEX is a platform designed to maximise capital and operational efficiency in construction.
It does this by offering a centralised solution that digitalises project claims and bills of quantity management. Bills of quantity refer to a precise breakdown of all the material, labour, and parts required for a construction project.
On the project claims front, COEX connects upline and downline companies of a project in one platform, allowing collaborations both internally and externally to facilitate the processes of approvals and communications.
To streamline bills of quantity, COEX allows multiple departments both horizontally and vertically to work on the preparation of materials and services costs.
The startup is founded by Demi Chu and Peh Sern Tan.
Labelled as a proptech startup, UnniD allows for smart access for buildings and cities.
It envisions a world where the tap of a phone can unlock doors, events, and even the city using secure IDs and smart hardware. The idea is that there will no longer be any cards, tickets, or queues,
Founded by industry veterans Renyi Khor, May Hee, and Huey Teo, UniiD doesn’t want to just be an app but rather an ultimate access tool.
Seafoody is an agritech startup that enables F&B businesses to directly source their seafood supply.
Providing the ability to be truly sea-to-table, Seafoody gets their seafood directly from the source then delivers it to the business with the goal of eliminating duplicative middlemen.
This reduces touchpoints for the products, ultimately reducing cost of the seafood while ensuring quality and freshness.
Seafoody also aims to empower suppliers such that they can sell at better prices and reach a broader audience of customers.
This startup was founded by Eleen Kee, Samantha Ooi, and Zach Leong.
A one-stop corporate gifting platform, MessengerCo aims to simplify and optimise B2B gifting and merchandising across regions.
Its catalogue includes branded merchandise and personalised gifts befitting scenarios such as staff onboarding, festive sets, client appreciations, branded swag, and more.
It was founded by Heaster Andrea, Kimberly Lau, Mahamat Moussa, and Wayne Wong Wooi Leng.
Offering affordable business communication tools for micro-SMEs, Zappy is a B2B software that aims to bring all work conversations into one unified inbox.
It claims to offer this at a value that’s up to 14x more cost effective compared to competitors, with the starter plan already including custom domain email IDs and more.
It also features a conversational interface in email inboxes, allowing teams to have group discussions via channels.
Zappy also offers add-ons such as the ability to integrate an AI website that acts as a sales agent, allowing users to reply and manage their work conversations from email, WhatsApp, and other work chat apps from one place.
The founders of Zappy are Mark Sachintha and Shay Anthony.
Featured Image Credit: Antler Malaysia