500 VN Feb-Mar 2017 Newsletter

March marks one year from the announcement of the 500 Startups Vietnam fund!  At our semi-annual global team retreat a few weeks ago — see our brief moment in the snow above in an otherwise meeting-filled few days — we were pleased to share about our progress.  Most importantly, most of our teams have made solid progress, with 5 already closing / signing term sheets for >US$10 million of next-round capital, from folks including Sequoia, Social Capital, Google Launchpad, Stanford StartX, and others.

This goes hand-in-hand with the continued market development. For example, VC funding of Vietnamese startups increased by est. >60% from US$150 million in 2015 (source: Topica data, DealStreetAsia reporting).  Meanwhile, the number of deals remained steady at >60 in both 2015 and 2016, vs. fewer than 30 in the years prior.  This suggests to us that although there remains a lot of noise in the startup ecosystem overall, the top-tier startups are improving in quality and maturity.

To step it up in 2017, we are proud to have promoted our most recent hire, Hau Ly, to an investment associate role.  We have also relaunched our website to include more information (in both English and Vietnamese) on our investment preferences and on best practices.  Binh and Eddie are now visiting Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Singapore over the next 2 weeks to touch base with many of our stakeholders and community partners.  Hope to see you around!

As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for anything related to Vietnam-connected tech startups and investment opportunities.

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Vietnam In The News

  • US$250 million injected into Vietnamese startups in 2016. This represents a 67% increase over the 2015 figure of $150 million. 500 Startups is the most active investor into startups in the nation (see image below). DealStreetAsia. 3/6
  • The benchmark VN Index is up 7.3 percent this year, reaching a nine-year high on Feb. 23 partly thanks to 4 major IPOs. Bloomberg. 3/15
  • Their parents’ lives were defined by war. Now Vietnam’s youth are pushing the country toward a new identity. “These young people are creating a new national identity — one filled with capitalistic idealism, responsibility, and a belief that the country offers opportunity that many of their parents won’t acknowledge.” LA Times. 2/2
  • Vietjet’s US$1.2 billion listing set for February 28, GIC is large shareholder. Following the footsteps of Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet is set to list on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange. “Vietnam is forecasted to be the fifth fastest growing aviation market in the world by 2035 by the International Air Transport Association.” DealStreetAsia. 2/12

Source: DealStreetAsia

500 Startups Vietnam in the News

  • Al Jazeera explores how a new generation is rapidly transforming Vietnam from a Communist nation reliant on farming and manufacturing into Southeast Asia’s Silicon Valley. Al Jazeera 101 East. 1/19
  • 500 Startups-backed e-commerce startup Leflair bags $1M funding.DealStreetAsia. 1/17
  • Binh speaks about the trials and tribulations of starting your own company. VOA News. 2/3
  • Eddie’s journey from Florida to 500 Startups Vietnam is featured in OZY. 2/9

Upcoming Events

  • Google Launchpad Information Session, March 17, HCMC
    An event introducing Google’s Launchpad program. In 2016, 2 startups from Vietnam (including 500 Startups VN portfolio company, ELSA) participated in this program. Event Page
  • 9cv9 Vietnam Transport Hackathon 2017, April 12, HCMC
    A hackathon focused on solving Vietnam’s transportation-related programs taking place during the 2017 Smart Tech Show. Event Page
  • Droidcon Vietnam, April 15-16, HCMC
    Droidcon is a global developer conference series focused on supporting the Android platform and creating a global network for developers and companies. Event Page
  • Woomentum’s 5th signature crowdfunding event: CrowdFundHer Live!, April 25, HCMC
    This is a chance for female (co-)founded startups to expand their knowledge and gain valuable business advice and mentorship, with real rewards. You can visit Woomentum’s website or contact Anh for more information. Apply to pitch here!

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