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4 Vietnamese startups among Southeast Asian recipients of $5.1mn funding

4 Vietnamese startups among Southeast Asian recipients of $5.1mn funding

Friday, February 02, 2024, 16:02 GMT+7
4 Vietnamese startups among Southeast Asian recipients of $5.1mn funding
A group of startup founders pose for a photo during their visit to the Antler office in Vietnam. Photo: Huynh Mai / Tuoi Tre

Four Vietnamese businesses are among the 37 Southeast Asian startups recently announced as recipients of pre-seed investments totaling US$5.1 million from Antler, a Singapore-based global early-stage venture capital firm.

This round of investments represents the largest deal across the region in terms of the total number of investees.

These startups operate across 19 diverse industries, including artificial intelligence (AI), software as a service (SaaS), fintech, healthcare, and various others, Antler said in an announcement on Wednesday.

The four Vietnamese investees, namely Barely Skin, Flaex, Naki, and Upbrand, have qualified for undisclosed investments from Antler.

According to a representative from Antler, these invested amounts are substantial, reflecting the significance of the support provided to these startups.

Barely Skin specializes in providing accessible dermatology-level personalized skin treatment, offering online consultations and bespoke skincare products.

Flaex acts as a decentralized margin trading exchange leveraging the liquidity of lending protocols to offer competitive rates for traders.

Upbrand is a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand and e-commerce enabler for local fashion manufacturers to transition into global brands with cutting-edge services and market intelligence.

Naki serves as a platform enabling Generation Z, the cohort of people born between 1997 and 2012, to create AI friends tailored to their needs and personalities, offering a unique, personalized interaction experience. 

Vietnam is rapidly emerging as an innovation hub in Southeast Asia, managing partner of Antler Vietnam Erik Jonsson said, adding that Antler’s significant investment in this region demonstrates its strong confidence in regional startup founders in general and those in Vietnam in particular.

With resilience and ingenuity, Vietnamese founders have been making breakthroughs and conquering new challenges, Jonsson commented.  

The investment round followed a resounding response from startup founders across Southeast Asia, with over 5,000 applications received by Antler offices in the region, according to the investor.

Jussi Salovaara, Antler’s co-founder and managing partner in Asia, said that Antler, as a multi-stage investor, recognizes the great potential of early-stage startups in the Southeast Asian region.

Antler is particularly drawn to pre-seed investments, especially in “verticalized AI and industry 4.0 startups that address deep-seated pain points and revolutionize how models and data translate into tangible products,” Salovaara stated. 

As the world’s most active early-stage investor, Antler “backs people from the beginning with co-founder matching, deep business validation, and funding,” the investor said on its website.

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Vinh Tho - Duc Thien / Tuoi Tre News

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