Singapore-headquartered Forge Ventures announced on Tuesday an oversubscribed $21.88 million first close of their debut fund.

Forge Ventures was founded by startup ecosystem veterans, Tiang Lim Foo and Kaspar Hidayat, in partnership with Alto Partners, one of the region’s first multi-family offices.

The firm aims to back founders building the next generation of “category-defining” businesses in Southeast Asia at the seed stage.

“Southeast Asia’s startup ecosystem is at an inflection point and with the current abundance of capital, founders demand more from their seed investors. We are operators so we know what it takes to go from zero to one. This is why we can build conviction early and be the first institutional capital to back a startup. The founders that we partner with count on us to get our hands dirty in every aspect of company building from ideation to go-to-market (GTM). Our proprietary in-house technology, community, and network are a force multiplier for our portfolio companies,” said Forge Ventures Co-Founder and Partner Tiang Lim Foo said in a statement.

In a first for Southeast Asia, Forge Ventures said it assembled a limited partner base designed to help the founders it partners with. The majority of Limited Partners (LPs) in the fund are founders and operators at leading technology companies and startups including Airbnb, Carousell, Fabelio, Facebook, Funding Societies, GajiGesa, Grab, Kopi Kenangan, Qoala, Stripe, and others.

To ensure that the partners have the bandwidth to work closely with every founder, Forge Ventures said it will build a concentrated portfolio of just 15 companies over the next three years with a focus on Singapore and Indonesia.

To date, the fund has led three investments: Vouch, a Singapore-headquartered digital concierge Software as a Service (SaaS) platform for the hospitality industry; Dropezy, a grocery delivery service in Indonesia; and Marathon, a Vietnam-based K-12 tutoring business.

“While we do provide capital to startups, we see ourselves first and foremost as partners and advisers to the founders we work with. Unlike other investors, we allocate the majority of our time to working with founders so that we can make a difference,” said Forge Ventures Co-Founder and Partner Kaspar Hidayat.

Foo is a venture partner at Next Billion Ventures and served as a partner at Singapore-based early-stage investment fund SeedPlus. His portfolio includes early investments in Southeast Asian companies including Qoala, Rukita, Homage, and CardUp, among others.

Hidayat previously held investment roles at 500 Startups, Venturra Capital, Koru Partners, and Maloekoe Ventures where he invested in some of the fastest-growing startups in Southeast Asia including Grab, Bukalapak, Zilingo, Carsome, and Carro. He was previously a Vice President at Pomelo.

Forge Ventures is a seed-stage venture capital firm that partners with founders building the future in Southeast Asia, invest with high conviction, leading seed and pre-seed financing rounds, working hand-in-hand with founders. The firm provides access to experts across every sector and function through its network of collaborators, advisors, and limited partners.

Alto Partners’ notable early investments include Grab, Stashfin, Advance.AI and Coursera. Its partners and clients include executives from TPG, Northstar, and several institutional investor partners, along with associated founders at Bank Jago, Jobstreet, Go-Jek.

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Featured image credits: Forge Ventures