A growing roster of vertical AI startups is emerging in Southeast Asia to serve sectors ranging from seafood to finance. Singapore-based venture capital firm Antler recently made a bet on 37 of them, investing $5.1 million in total for pre-seed deals. This included a partnership that is strategic Khazanah, Malaysia’s sovereign wide range investment, which spent into seven startups.

“If you appear in the other countries in the globe, there’s plenty of horizontal AI plus it’s getting insanely competitive,” Antler co-founder and partner that is managing Salovaara tells For Millionaires. “What founders are increasingly looking to solve in this part of the world are practical problems in different industries.”

He adds that even though Southeast Asia doesn’t have the talent pool to build something like OpenAI yet, they can take a approach that is customer-first AI applications, resolving discomfort things special to various areas and areas.

Within verticalized AI, various styles tend to be rising in each nation. For instance, Vietnam features a pool that is large of talent. Founders there who are working on a consumer startup usually focus more on the market that is domestic very first, but B2B startups are far more globally-oriented right from the start, Salovaara states. On the other side hand, Indonesian startups usually do not target expansion that is international their domestic market is so large, but Antler hopes to see more of them expand internationally.

One of Antler’s investments is BorderDollar, which is building an invoice financing platform for cross border logistics. Since funding structures are different in Southeast Asia than the rest of the global globe, BorderDollar utilized their instruction information to construct a credit rating system.

“You Can’t really take something from the West and then just plug it in here and use that,” says Salovaara.CapGoAnother known member of Antler’s portfolio is

, which Antler backed in large part because of the founders’ backgrounds: CTO Chen Yu worked on machine learning at Grab and CEO Yichen Guo earned a Harvard MBA and worked at Citi, Almanac and VIPKid as a product manager. CapGo automates data acquisition for market research, a pain point Salovaara is familiar with because he used to work at an investment bank.

“It’s super unclear why you would throw endless amounts of human hours into researching a market when AI can do so much more effectively and efficiently,” he says, adding that CapGo’s moat that is competitive being able to develop information resources which are tailored very first for Southeast Asia. It intends to increase to the other countries in the Asia Pacific area.ZoloBoth Seafoody and

had been intended to resolve issues in Southeast Asia’s meals offer string infrastructure. Situated in Malaysai, Seafoody ended up being launched by Eleen Kee, Samantha Ooi and Zach Leong. Kee, its CEO, arises from a grouped family that has worked in the seafood industry for several generations. Seafoody is focused on using AI to eliminate middlemen in the seafood supply chain and sell directly to businesses. Zolo, meanwhile, is also simplifying the food supply chain by using AI to shorten the order management process, which usually entails a complete lot of back-and-forth between vendors and restaurants on WhatsApp.CoexAnother startup Salovaara features is Malaysia-based

. It utilizes AI to digitize task statements and expenses of amount, therefore approvals, interaction and materials that are preparing all be performed more quickly. “Construction is obviously one of the most analog and school that is old, which means this is essentially a play to enhance money effectiveness and functional effectiveness,” says Salovaara.

Building a vertical AI startup includes unique difficulties. For instance, the team that is right to be put together and include not only a technical founder with the right expertise, but also someone who understands the industry they are targeting very well. They also need the data that are right instruction. But as soon as a vertical AI startup comes collectively, Salovaara states they could develop a really deep moat that is competitive

“If you want to raise funding for a quote‘hardcore that is unquote horizontal AI out of Southeast Asia, it might be difficult, particularly to come right into a race with a business located in Silicon Valley,” he adds. “Trying to contend with someplace which has more skill or a significantly better financing infrastructure in this room, particularly in the stage that is later is still quite difficult. So these plays that are vertical the ideal solution.”(*)