STARTUP generator and early-stage venture capital firm Antler has invested US$1.5 million in 15 new companies. The startups hail from Antler's fourth Singapore programme and recent initiative to fund solutions addressing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The companies operate in sectors including software-as-a-service, fintech, e-commerce, agritech and healthtech. Antler received 2,500 applications, of which 91, representing individuals from 28 nationalities, made it into the fourth cohort.
Antler builds startups by identifying a group of aspiring entrepreneurs, matching them to form a team, and funding the team while supporting their product development and scaling efforts.
The founders in the fourth Singapore cohort have an average of nine years of working experience; 61 per cent of them had previous entrepreneurial experience. Startups with at least one female co-founder made up 38 per cent of the funded companies.
In April, Antler said it will invest up to US$500,000 in total in up to five companies working on solutions in response to the pandemic. It received over 1,500 applications from 100 countries. Two finalists were chosen.
The first was Biogenes Technologies, which develops, produces and markets aptamer-based (synthetic antibody) diagnostics products via their proprietary technology platform. The startup is collaborating with universities, research institutions and industry stakeholders to bridge the gaps between technology incubation and commercialisation.
The second finalist was Path BioAnalytics. It uses proprietary technology to quickly produce respiratory cell cultures, known as organoids, which help in the understanding of a wide range of diseases. The company is negotiating with corporations seeking access to its technology to screen treatments and vaccines currently under development, including for Covid-19.
Since 2019, Antler has invested over US$26.9 million in early-stage companies globally.
Jussi Salovaara, co-founder and managing partner for Asia at Antler, said: "There has been a drastic change in consumer behaviour and we want to help create companies that keep this in mind when building. It was incredible to witness this group of founders build companies during a pandemic and global lockdown."