Singaporean VC firm Antler expands into Vietnam, ex-Zalora exec to head the unit

Antler, an early-stage VC based in Singapore, announced its plans to expand into Vietnam later this year, with the company setting up local operations in Ho Chi Minh City.

Erik Jonsson, partner at Antler Vietnam / Photo credit: Antler

Erik Jonsson, partner at Antler Vietnam / Photo credit: Antler

The Vietnam unit will be spearheaded by Erik Jonsson, former co-founder and managing director of Zalora Vietnam, who will join the company as a partner.

Instead of focusing on investing in existing companies, Antler’s VC model in Vietnam will enable entrepreneurs to form teams and build a company from scratch. It will also invest in companies in the region through its Southeast Asia fund.

Founded in 2017, the VC firm runs startup generator programs and invests in early-stage firms. It also helps entrepreneurs find the right co-founders and connects them to a network of advisors and experts. The company has operations in 14 countries globally and has invested in over 300 technology startups to date.

“There is incredible talent in Vietnam who have huge aspirations to create their own companies. The entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in Vietnamese culture and mindset,” said Jussi Salovaara, co-founder of Antler.

He added, however, that the deal flow in the country does not match the availability of capital. Hence, finding entrepreneurial talent and providing them with the right platform as well as validating their ideas are important for the Vietnamese startup ecosystem.

In February 2020, Antler raised an undisclosed amount of investment from British investment manager Schroders, Norway-based Ferd, and other investors such as FinTech Collective. Its portfolio includes Indonesian on-demand workforce startup Sampingan, home rental platform Cove, skincare company Base, and recruitment platform Sama, among others.

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