Former Fave Execs Joel Neoh and Audra Pakalnyte have launched First Move, a founder-led early-stage fund, to empower consumer-focused startups across Southeast Asia.

First Move said in a statement on Tuesday that the fund sets the bar high with its commitment to accelerate the success of early-stage consumer ventures.

The fund provides vital pre-seed funding of up to $100,000, and has a current portfolio of seven companies spanning Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

This launch marks a significant step towards fueling innovation and reshaping the consumer technology landscape in the region.

“Southeast Asia is a vibrant epicenter for consumer technology innovation. With the ecosystem and infrastructure primed for growth, First Move is thrilled to partner with emerging entrepreneurs embarking on their journey to fuel the creation of tomorrow’s consumer-tech giants,” said Audra Pakalnyte, Partner of First Move.

“As founders ourselves, at First Move, we go beyond capital injection. We believe in providing guidance, mentorship, and access to a vast network of industry connections which is crucial in early stages to get on the right path,

“We understand the pain points of founders and aim to leverage our experience to provide invaluable mentoring support during the early days of their journey and set our portfolio startups up for long-term success,” she added.

First Move another Partner Joel Neoh said the fund is committed to paying it forward, supporting founders, being companions on their journey and filling the crucial gap of early stage support in Southeast Asia.

“Having embarked on my own entrepreneurial journey, I am humbled by the support I have received from the startup ecosystem,” he said.

In addition to providing direct funding to startups, First Move embraces a collaborative approach by actively partnering with other venture capital firms in the region.

Amongst its first collaborators and backers are 500 Global, underscoring First Move’s collaboration-first approach to support the growth and success of startups in the region.

“Southeast Asia is seeing the compounding effect of having multiple generations of successful founders backing future founders,

“Angel syndicates and founder-led funds like these are crucial allies as 500 Global continues to invest across seed and growth stages of our region’s best companies,” said Khailee Ng, Managing Partner at 500 Global.

“Collaborating with First Move propels the very best builders I know, Joel and Audra – to launch the next generation of founders,” he said.

In the same collaborative spirit, First Move has also established the Consumer Tech Angel Syndicate, a close-knit group of experienced founders and executives in the consumer space.

Members of the Angel Syndicate, which includes founders and senior executives from direct to consumer (D2C), e-commerce, mobility and fintech scale-ups across Southeast Asia, will have co-invest in First Move deals.

Moreover, these seasoned leaders will provide hands-on support and counsel to the startups.

After leaving Fave earlier this year, Joel joined leading healthtech company Prenetics as Managing Director of CircleDNA.

He wrote the first check for Prenetics as an angel investor back in 2014.

Audra Pakalnyte, a seasoned founding team member of multiple successful startups alongside Joel, brings invaluable expertise in helping startups make their first move
from zero to one.

Together, their combined experience and passion for fostering entrepreneurial growth reinforces First Move’s commitment to supporting startups.

The fund has already invested in an initial portfolio of seven startups, in e-commerce and D2C space across Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

First Move is actively investing and invites entrepreneurs working on innovative and disruptive consumer startups to submit their applications.

Joel Neoh departs Fave as Chief Executive Officer