Singapore-based venture builder Antler is set to hit the final close of its $30-million Southeast Asia (SEA) fund by the end of this year.
In an interview with DEALSTREETASIA, Antler’s CEO and founder Magnus Grimeland said that the fund was oversubscribed, which led the firm to increase the fund size from an initial $15-20 million. The fund reached its first close in Q3 2018.
Antler’s SEA fund has been backed by institutional investors, family offices and high net-worth individuals from markets such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and Japan.
Despite launching just a year ago, the venture builder is already nurturing expansion plans beyond Singapore.
Grimeland shared that Antler will launch $30-million funds in four new geographies — Australia, UK, Central Europe and East Africa — by Q2. It already has a $30-million Nordic fund which it targets to close by Q3 this year.
In addition to these, Antler is targeting a “significantly larger” global fund dedicated to follow-on investments in 2019. Grimeland declined to reveal the size of this fund but noted that it is seeing rising global investor interest in early-stage deals.
“I think people really value the opportunity to invest in great talent with a great business model that is still in the early stages,” said Grimeland. “They see that it might be the only chance for them to get in because if you don’t get in early enough, it’s going to be hard to get in the later rounds.”
Antler deploys $100,000 per startup in exchange for 10 per cent equity. Its SEA fund has invested in 13 startups so far.
UK-based early-stage investor, Entrepreneur First (EF) is also eyeing a larger cash pile to fuel its global ambitions. Last December, EF submitted an SEC filing to raise a $255-million global fund. The venture builder has also widened its network from two to six cities globally.
Storied investors like Sequoia are also aggressively pursuing seed-stage startups to pick the winners early on. In January, the venture capital firm launched Surge, an accelerator programme targeting early-stage and pre-Series A startups in India and Southeast Asia. Sequoia has two seed funds under its belt – one for China and another for the US.
Singapore’s Temasek, too, has made select seed deals in recent months such as BasisAI, an AI startup based in Singapore.
Editor’s note: This article was updated to reflect a change in timeline.