14 Sep 500VN September 2017 Newsletter
For this month’s newsletter, Eddie wanted to include a personal note:
“Today marks the 5th anniversary of my move to Vietnam, and I remain as enchanted and watchful and hopeful as I did on the day that I arrived. The country — as my experience in it — remains a beautiful and complex mosaic of contrasts. As one mosaic tile, the idea of “Vietnam” remains imprinted by the U.S.-Vietnam War and its aftermath, such that even 40+ years later, the esteemed documentary duo Ken Burns and Lynn Novick chose to craft a 10-hour, 18-hour opus to be released in 2 weeks. As another tile, the economy has changed to an extent that Ho Chi Minh might scarcely recognize it. In the midst of so much natural beauty (see: Vietnam From Above), skylines continue to shoot up and development continues its relentless march. In short, the elements to many great or terrible futures are all around us, and it’s up to everyone to determine which future it’s going to be. It’s exciting and humbling for me to be here and play my own small part.”
If you’re interested to see all of this for yourself, please send a note! We may be organizing a small Vietnam trip. Get the market download, meet cool startups, check out the sites, and eat good food.
And on to other updates. Last month we closed 3 new investments in fintech, travel, and adtech. We hope to close 2-3 more deals in September. To handle all of this deal flow we need good folks. Our very first associate, Alvin, has decided to move on after 1.5 years. Fortunately, he is not going far: he will work on operations for one of our portfolio companies. We are now piloting his replacement and hope to announce him soon.
Of course, all of these small things are happening in a much bigger Vietnam context. As you may know, Vietnam is the host of this year’s APEC meetings. Last month saw the third senior officials’ meeting, and this month welcomes the ministerial meetings on small and medium enterprises (including startups). Unfortunately, we had to decline participation in these latter meetings as we will be in San Francisco for 500’s semi-annual global team retreat.
Team 500 Startups Vietnam
Vietnam in the News
- Vietnam forecasts record foreign investment of $16B. “Vietnam is shrugging off the uncertainty over the Trans-Pacific Partnership as low wages and a young workforce help retain its allure as a manufacturing base.” Deal Street Asia. 8/4
- These Asian Cities Will Grow the Fastest in the Next Five Years. Ho Chi Minh City is forecasted to be the 2nd fastest growing, “reflecting the city’s success in establishing itself as a manufacturing center, as well as its strong services sector.” Bloomberg. 8/9
- Meet VinFast, the world’s newest automaker — from Vietnam.“Vingroup plans to produce 500,000 vehicles in the country by 2025.” Nikkei. 9/2
- Vietnam crowned champions at Asia-Pacific robot contest. “The country has become the most successful in the competition’s history, with this year’s victory making it the first 6-time winner.” VNExpress. 8/28
500 Startups + INSEAD: VC Unlocked Asia
November 6-10 at the INSEAD Asia Campus in Singapore
Join us at the next session where INSEAD faculty and 500 Startups partners will lead current and aspiring investors through a comparison of the startup investing landscape across different countries in Asia. Spots are limited. Apply now here.
Vietnam Tech in the News
- Vietnam to launch venture capital regulation in 2017. The Ministry of Planning and Investment is planning to introduce a legal framework for VCs by the end of this year. Deal Street Asia. 8/21
- Vietnam Will Legalize Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets By August 2018. “The government will also legalize digital assets, which bodes well for ERC20 tokens, among others.” The Merkle. 8/26
- Commentary: Ambitious and smart, youths in Ho Chi Minh are building Asia’s Silicon Valley. Ho Chi Minh City is home to most of Vietnam’s ~3,000 startups. Channel News Asia. 8/19
- Female founders take charge in Vietnam. “Women hold 17.6% of board seats in Vietnam, more than any other country in the Asia-Pacific region except Australia…” TechCrunch. 8/14
- Vietnam’s Zalo Pay Brings Payments To Social Media in Vietnam. Contactless, mobile payments are now available to 70 million users of Zalo, a social media and messaging platform. FintechNews. 8/7
- Seamless Vietnam, September 6 – 7, HCMC. Over 2 days, Seamless Vietnam 2017 will bring together the most exciting online merchants, offline retailers, banks, transport operators and more with the very best in international payments, e-commerce and retail solution vendors. Event Page
- HCMC Leaders & Startup and Innovation Community Meetup,
September 7, HCMC. Department of Science and Technology and other leaders are gathering with local startups to discuss what the city’s innovation support efforts have accomplished over the last year and where to go next. Event Page
- Investor Summit #DealDay Roadshow, September 30, HCMC. As part of the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) 2017, an Investor Summit – “Deal Day” will bring together the best of the best in terms of innovations, giving investors an opportunity to be part of the FinTech ecosystem. Event Page
- Slush GIA 2017 in Vietnam – From Mekong to the world, October 27, HCMC. Slush Global Impact Accelerator (GIA) is a program created in collaboration with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland and other multiple partners globally to support impact startups and showcase the exciting business opportunities in emerging markets. Event Page
- Hatch! Fair the Fifth, September 23 – October 27, Hanoi, Danang, HCMC. Bringing up untold stories from not only ecosystem builders but also startups and investors in a national and international scale throughout a trip from the North to the South, starting from Hanoi, to Danang, then HCMC. Event Page