August 2018 Newsletter

August 2018 Newsletter

500 Startups Global Team Offsite

Hello all,

One of our reasons for entering the Vietnam market was the shortage in support and resources for early-stage startups.  As of 2016, there were probably fewer than 20 accelerators and incubators (most of which were lightly-active and/or under-resourced), just a few coworking spaces, and almost no active early-stage funds based here (the earlier funds having fully deployed). Sure, it represented an opportunity for us to invest and give a hand, but we also knew that it would be impossible for anyone to lift up the ecosystem alone.

Thankfully, the scene is getting new attention, especially among accelerators and coworking spaces.  A selection of news in the past couple of months:

  • Global space operator WeWork acquired China-based Naked Hub (which already had a presence in Vietnam) and will announce the first WeWork-branded space in Vietnam in 3Q 2018
  • Saigon-based coworking space CirCo raised an undisclosed amount from Indonesia-based East Ventures
  • Hanoi-based Toong has expanded rapidly in the past year with 8 locations listed on their website, including in Saigon and Vientianne (Laos)
  • RedFOX Labs is launching “Vietnam’s first blockchain coworking space” and accelerator in September in Saigon
  • Toronto-based Ryerson Futures (“for-profit entity connected with Ryerson University”) is announcing the launch of an accelerator program in partnership with private equity fund VinaCapital

Setting aside the challenging economics of coworking spaces and the challenging operations of accelerator programs, these are all great developments which we hope will raise the bar for early-stage startup support nationwide… and prepare more startups for us to invest in 😉

Meanwhile, we closed investments into startup #28 (a finance SaaS platform) and #29 (an open platform for enterprise app development), plus a follow-on investment into one of our portfolio companies.  We also identified new team members: we’ll be double our size in September.

At the end of the month we took a quick hop over to the U.S. for the 500 Startups global team offsite.  Highlights include:

  • fireside chat with Ken Lin, founder and CEO of Credit Karma (fintech unicorn + 500 portfolio company)
  • celebration of our 23rd SF/Silicon Valley accelerator batch and our upcoming 24th batch
  • ecosystem updates from our partners in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, India, China, Japan, Korea, and (of course) Southeast Asia

This month marks the 3-year anniversary of Binh and Eddie joining 500 Startups and the 2-year anniversary of Hau joining.  It’s been a wild ride so far, and we can’t wait to see what’s next!

Yours,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

P.S. Calling all Vietnamese AI startups: Innovatube, in partnership with Vietnam’s Ministry of Science & Technology, is running a survey on the AI startup ecosystem in Vietnam.  Please fill out their survey by August 15.

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • Landmark 81 officially opens for business. At 461.5 meters tall, it is the highest building in Vietnam (and, actually, the highest in Southeast Asia too). Taiwan News. 07/27
  • Vietnam posts $3.1 billion trade surplus in Jan-July. The country’s exports rose to $133.7 billion, with the U.S, EU and China identified as the top 3 export destinations. VnExpress. 08/02
  • Foreign investors take M&A route into Vietnam. In the first 7 months of the year, there were 3,311 M&A deals involving foreign buyers, with total deal value to date of $4.8 billion. VnExpress. 07/31
  • Vietnam’s sensational Golden Hands bridge welcomes tourists with open arms. The 150-meter long walkway appears to be held up with two “giant hands” made of steel mesh and fiberglass.  Some likened to Lord of the Rings; others called it “ludicrous”. New Zealand Herald. 08/03
  • Vietnam suspends information minister amid telecoms scandal: state media. Corruption crackdown intensifies as the Minister of Information & Communications was suspended due to mismanagement at state telecoms firm Mobifone. Reuters. 07/23
  • Foreign banks enlarge operations in Vietnam. Malaysia’s Public Bank Vietnam, South Korea’s Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank, and Bank of China recently received approvals from the State Bank of Vietnam. Vietnam News. 07/17
  • New airline set to join Vietnam’s congested skies. Bamboo Airways “is seeking to capitalize on the nation’s growing middle class and rapidly expanding tourism industry”. Bloomberg. 08/01

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Go-Jek kicks off Southeast Asia expansion with Vietnam launch. Starting at the beginning of August, Go-Viet covers an initial 12 districts in Ho Chi Minh City with on-demand motorbike and delivery services. TechCrunch. 08/01
  • E-commerce players keep burning money. “Vietnam’s e-commerce platforms keep rolling in losses and taking in massive amounts of capital” to gain more share of the attractive $4 billion e-commerce market. Vietnam Investment Review. 07/15
  • Soaring 3G, 4G use to boost mobile ads, commerce. There were >50 million data subscribers by early 2018. VnExpress. 08/06
  • Vietnam withdraws licence of news site, issues fine. The state-owned Vietnamese news website Tuoi Tre Online has been suspended and fined $10,000 after it was accused of misquoting President Trần Đại Quang in an article in June. Channel NewsAsia. 07/17
  • Vietnamese co-working space CirCO raises funding from East Ventures. Operating at two locations in Ho Chi Minh City, CirCO will use the seed funding to accelerate expansion, improve service quality and corporate branding. DealStreetAsia. 07/24
  • Securities watchdog tightens cryptocurrency management. To prevent anti-money laundering, the State Securities Commission has banned companies & investment funds from engaging in any cryptocurrency trading activities. Viet Nam News. 07/25
  • Crypto-mining firm CEO allegedly flees with $35M in investor, company funds. Beware of crypto investment scams. CoinTelegraph. 07/31

 

Upcoming Events

 

PreMoney, 10/02, San Francisco.
PreMoney is a one-day conference, produced by 500 Startups, about the most disruptive strategies, models, & technologies for the future of venture capital.
Event Page

 

SDG Innovations Incubator, deadline 08/22.
Hosted by UNDP Vietnam, Citi Foundation and the Ministry of Science & Technology, the program will help social entrepreneurs turn their ideas into sustainable & scalable social impact startups. Application Page

 

Startup Day 2018, 08/24-25, HCMC.
Annual startup conference & exhibition organized by the Business Startup Support Center, a Ho Chi Minh City startup & entrepreneurship support initiative.
Event Page

 

NTT Communications Startup Challenge, 08/28, Jakarta, Indonesia.
The program, hosted by Japan’s largest telecom firm, provides Startups in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam with funding opportunities, investor networking opportunity, and quality technological infrastructure. Application Page

 

Google Demo Day Asia, 09/20, Shanghai, China.
Google’s first-ever Demo Day in Asia will highlight innovative technology and drive investment. Event Page

HATCH! FAIR 2018, 09/15 (Hanoi) & 10/19-20 (HCMC). 
International entrepreneurship conference & startup exhibition for Southeast Asia. Event Page

San Francisco
814 Mission St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

July 2018 Newsletter

July 2018 Newsletter

ApplyBoard and 500 Startups Vietnam folks in Saigon discussing Vietnam’s study-abroad market. From left to right: Eddie, Co-founder & CEO Martin Basiri, Finance Director Josh Zucker, and Hau.

Hello all,

Last month was a very eventful one!  Vietnam’s General Statistics Office announced that Vietnam’s economy grew 7% in the first half of 2018 vs. the same period in 2017.  That continued growth, as noted in a late-June article in Tech In Asia, has among other things continued to attract overseas Vietnamese to return to Vietnam, bringing financing, knowledge, and connections with them. But, as Eddie commented for the article, “At the end of the day, the success or failure of the ecosystem will depend first and foremost on local Vietnamese as founders and other stakeholders.”  Indeed, this will be put to the test. On June 12, the National Assembly passed the Law on Cybersecurity, provisions of which are sending waves in both the tech scene and broader civil society.  Separately, Adrian Tan, the Singaporean director of the Vietnam Innovative Startup Accelerator (VIISA), shared an emotional farewell after the conclusion of their 3rd batch; day-to-day operations will be handled in the interim by his (Vietnamese) #2.

Never a dull moment in Vietnam!  But 500VN marches on.  We closed deals #26 (a cybersecurity startup) and #27 (a consumer entertainment startup). Portfolio company ApplyBoard announced the close of their US$13 million Series A (as covered by the Wall Street Journal and other outlets).  On June 28, three of our portfolio companies presented to hundreds of investors at 500 Startups Batch 23 Demo Day in downtown San Francisco.

  • Copper Cow Coffee, which is sharing beloved Vietnamese coffee online and in 2,000+ retail stores in the U.S.
  • Reflect, whose mission to improve mental health for all became even starker with the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain
  • Purple Go, an omnichannel retail solution for eyewear sellers

We are also very actively seeking new tech startups to support.  Whether you’re a small but full-time team that recently released a product, or a fast-growing group gearing up to scale massively, please reach out to us!

Yours,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

500 Startups Vietnam in the News

 

  • ApplyBoard closes a $13M Series A round led by Silicon Valley’s Artiman Ventures. The company, which helps students around the world realize their study abroad dreams at 750+ universities & colleges across North America, was featured for being a Canadian company that raised money from U.S. VCs. WSJ. 06/28
    [Editor’s note: Vietnam is Canada’s fastest-growing source of study-abroad students, and is also a major source for other countries including the U.S, Korea, Japan, Australia, France, and others.  ApplyBoard has a team and customers in Vietnam already, hence our investment in their seed round]
  • ELSA is named one of “13 Southeast Asian Tech Firms to Watch”. The company, whose AI-powered app could help the >2 billion English language learners improve their pronunciation, was one of only 3 AI companies and one of only 2 Vietnamese startups on the list. South China Morning Post. 06/30
  • Stably’s interview on providing crypto stability in an unstable market. Learn how Stably chose the centralized model & its plan to back every “StableUSD” token with a full unit of real currency. CryptoSlate. 06/07
  • Bunch Live in RTC Developer Spotlight. For the 2+ billion mobile gamers worldwide who want to facetime & play mobile games with friends simultaneously, Bunch.live is the solution for them. Medium. 06/21

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • Vietnam maintains momentum with record first-half growth. The >7% growth is the country’s highest since 2011. VnExpress. 06/30
  • CGV Vietnam to go public on Korean bourse. With estimated market value of >$375 million, the Vietnamese arm of South Korea’s largest multiplex cinema CJ CGV plans to IPO on the Korean stock exchange later this year. Viet Nam News. 06/21
  • Vietnam features among top five nations in Q1 Asia-Pac IPO listings: Baker McKenzie report. “Following China, India, Japan, issuers from Vietnam have raised $2.3 billion from three domestic listings (Vinhomes JSC, Techcombank and An Giang Urban Environment Company).” DealStreetAsia. 06/14
  • Southeast Asia’s largest solar project to be built in Vietnam. “The $420 million project, a Thailand-Vietnam joint venture, is set to open for commercial use in June 2019.” VnExpress. 06/22
  • Vietnam’s mobile-phone mogul now aims to modernize his nation’s grocery industry.  After building a cell phone retail empire, Mobile World is venturing into grocery retail with a view to replacing traditional wet markets around the country. Seattle Times. 07/01

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Go-Jek prepares to launch ride-hailing services in Vietnam and Thailand. Buckle up, Grab — your position in Vietnam is soon to be challenged again. TechCrunch. 06/25
  • Mobile wallet startup OnOnPay raises undisclosed amount. Led by FenoxVC, the capital injection helps the company in their mission to be a top digital banking solution in Vietnam. e27. 06/26
  • Vietnam’s ‘Uber for maids’ JupViec.vn snags seed funding. With 3,000 housemaids & 10,000 customers, JupViec plans to use the capital to recruit more developers, expand operations to provinces, and add new services.  The round was led by the Australia government-backed women’s fund run by Patamar Capital. DealStreetAsia. 06/07
  • Internet streaming one up on traditional TV in Vietnam. With large market demand for online video consumption, “local OTT providers are adopting different strategies to eke out an advantage in this tight race.” VnExpress. 06/12
  • Vietnam smartphone makers break from Samsung empire. With the rapidly expanding smartphone market in Vietnam recently, domestic brands such as Vingroup & Bkav may pose a threat to global players in the low-priced segment. Nikkei. 07/02
  • This Vietnamese refugee-turned-CEO makes technology that lets you control a car with your mind. Learn how Tan Le fled Vietnam aged four and eventually founded a successful brain research company Emotiv. CNBC. 06/06
  • Google is leading computer training in Vietnam. The tech giant is backing a summer program offering programming courses for students and digital training for teachers in Mekong Delta region. VOA News. 06/06

 

Upcoming Events

 

Industry 4.0 Summit 2018, 07/12-13, Hanoi 
Hosted by the Prime Minister & the Central Economic Commission, the summit will discuss the current status of deployment & application of the Industry 4.0 in Vietnam. Event Page

 

ASEAN Startups Programme, deadline 07/15
World Economic Forum’s entrepreneurial initiative “aiming to bring together the region’s most innovative start-ups and connect them with business, political and academic leaders”. Application Page

 

Vietnam M&A Forum 2018, 08/08, HCMC
“Examine the factors that energize the market toward a new era, while also recap the 10 years journey, pay tribute to notable deals of the decade and forecast the journey yet to come for Vietnam M&A.” Event Page

 

HATCH! FAIR 2018, 09/15 (Hanoi) & 10/19-20 (HCMC) 
International entrepreneurship conference & startup exhibition for Southeast Asia. Event Page

San Francisco
814 Mission St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

June 2018 Newsletter

June 2018 Newsletter

500VN’s Binh Tran on AVCJ’s VC panel (again :P). Photo source: AVCJ.

Last month, the IFC in association with the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA) hosted the 20th Annual Global Private Equity Conference.  In advance of the conference, the EMPEA released results of their annual LP Outlook survey.  Among the findings:

  • LP respondents anticipate increasing commitments to emerging market funds
  • Southeast Asia is the most attractive emerging market region over the next 12 months (with India #2 and China #3)
  • Venture Capital is the asset class with the highest % of LP respondents with plans to begin or expand investment over the next two years

Sounds like good timing for 500 Startups Vietnam, 500 TukTuks, and 500 Durians!

Indeed, it’s been busy over here at 500 Startups Vietnam. We closed deals #24 (health tech) and #25 (logistics).  One of our portfolio companies closed a $10M Series A (not announced).  And we had several event engagements with investors, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders:

  • Binh spoke on the VC panel at the 2nd annual AVCJ Vietnam Forum, a day-long meeting for leaders of the alternative investment industry in Vietnam and broader Southeast Asia.
  • Eddie spoke at a session on “Leading into the Digital Future” at the 2018 Horasis Global Meeting in Portugal, and met with Vietnamese diaspora entrepreneurs in London and Paris.
  • Hau supported innovation initiatives in travel tech and fintech in Saigon and Hanoi respectively, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank.

In June we’re anticipating closing another 2+ new investments, and a handful of portfolio companies will begin accepting downstream capital in new rounds. Folks interested in Vietnam-connected opportunities should contact us ASAP!

Yours,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Vietnam in the News

 

  • Fitch upgrades Vietnam to ‘BB’; outlook stable. Vietnam won a sovereign rating upgrade from Fitch Ratings thanks to strong economic growth and declining public debt. FitchRatings. 05/14
  • Vietnam: DFJ VinaCapital-backed Yeah1 seeks to raise $100m from share sale. The raise will be followed by their listing debut on Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, making them the first local entertainment company listed on the stock market. Deal Street Asia. 05/25
  • Vietnam ranks 1st in Asia, 6th of 53 in female business ownership. “According to a recent Mastercard study, 31.3% of businesses in Vietnam are owned by women…, ahead most of Europe, the US, China and all other Asian nations”. Saigoneer. 05/23
  • Vietnam, with its low property prices, has become a new treasure hunting ground for Hong Kong and China buyers. High-end property prices in Vietnam were estimated to be 50% and 90% cheaper than in Bangkok and Hong Kong, respectively. South China Morning Post. 05/23

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Exclusive: Vietnamese e-commerce major Tiki to raise Series D, existing backer JD.com may join. “Tiki has hit the fundraising trail barely six months after securing a $44-million Series C investment co-led by China’s second-largest e-commerce firm JD.com.” Deal Street Asia. 06/07
  • Indonesian ride-hailing app revs up to join Vietnam’s transport market. “Go-Jek will officially launch in Vietnam this July, the same time with Singapore-based ride-hailing app MVL.” VnExpress. 05/18
  • How Vietnam’s Fintech market could reach nearly $8 billion by 2020. “High internet & smartphone penetration, increased popularity of e-wallets, rising income & consumption, and a growing e-commerce sector” will unlock the country’s fintech growth potential. Forbes. 05/18
  • New cybersecurity law may thwart foreign businesses, stall growth. GDP & FDI are estimated to fall 1.7% & 3.1% percent respectively if the new cybersecurity law takes effect. VnExpress. 05/29
  • IT outsourcing hotspot: Vietnam, a small but mighty powerhouse. Learn more about the history and growth drivers of global IT outsourcing in Vietnam. Forbes. 05/29
  • Vietnam launches in-depth probe into Grab-Uber deal in Southeast Asia. The investigation will take at least 180 days to understand whether Uber and Grab’s combined market share in Vietnam exceeds the allowed maximum of 50%. Reuters. 05/18

Upcoming Events

 

EdTech Vietnam 2018, 06/08, HCMC
Key stakeholders including startups, academic institutions, NGOs, tech companies, investors, and education practitioners will share their insights into the current state & growth opportunities of EdTech ecosystem in Vietnam. Event Page

 

Vietnam Mobile Day, 06/08 Saigon & 06/15 Hanoi 
The largest annual festival for Vietnam’s mobile industry. Event Page

 

SURF – Da Nang Startup Wave 2018, 06/29, Da Nang 
Organized by Da Nang Business Incubator (DNES) and endorsed by the Da Nang government, SURF is one of the key activities to develop the city towards a thriving innovation hub. Event Page

 

Google Demo Day Asia, deadline 07/01
Pitch to top venture capital firms, get mentored by Google executives, and gain access to Google for Entrepreneurs’ global partner network. Application Page

 

Vietnam M&A Forum 2018, 08/08, HCMC
“Examine the factors that energize the market toward a new era, while also recap the 10 years journey, pay tribute to notable deals of the decade and forecast the journey yet to come for Vietnam M&A.” Event Page

San Francisco
814 Mission St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

May 2018 Newsletter

May 2018 Newsletter

Landmark 81, set to be the tallest building in Southeast Asia upon completion at the end of this year. Photo source: Saigoneer.

On the way from District 1 to District 2, Landmark 81 stands out.  A VinGroup project, it’s set to be the tallest building in Southeast Asia upon completion at the end of this year.  It already pierces the sky far above the rest of the city.  In some ways, the building is emblematic of what’s happening in Vietnam and broader Southeast Asia: breaking out towards its larger potential.  This view seems to be shared by many investors.  The Wall Street Journal recently featured a piece on how “private money is flooding in” to Vietnam.  Perhaps it’s about time?  Per survey results from the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association, Southeast Asia has been seen as the most attractive emerging market in the world over the past decade, yet total capital invested in the region has been limited. (see chart below)

In the meantime, we maintain a steady pace, with investments into companies #22 and #23 closed in April.  We were also pleased to see one of our portfolio companies, AppOnboard, close their $15M Series A, led by Korea Investment Partners and Mirae Asset Management.  This month is trading places: Binh spends most of May in Vietnam and Singapore (catch him at Tech in Asia in Singapore on May 15-16 or AVCJ Vietnam in Saigon on May 24), while Eddie is on the road for meetings in the U.S. and Europe (catch him in Lisbon, London, Paris, Boston, or Miami).

Yours,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • Vinhomes seeks up to $1.4B in Vietnam’s biggest equity issue. Dominating the high-end property segment in Saigon & Hanoi, the residential property arm of conglomerate Vingroup launched a ~$1.4B equity issue with a market value of $13-13.5B. DealStreetAsia. 04/30
  • Private money is flooding this frontier market.  Global private-equity firms and sovereign wealth funds are pouring record sums of money into Vietnam, fueled by a loosening of ownership restrictions in the communist nation’s largest companies and accelerating economic growth. Wall Street Journal. 04/23
  • 1.5 million Vietnamese join middle class each year. “Expected to account for 33 percent of Vietnam’s population by 2020, the middle class is a major contributor to the country’s development”. Vietnamnet. 04/17
  • Proposed new property tax raises eyebrows in Vietnam. The tax bill is expected to hit the majority of homeowners and might have negative impact on the market. VnExpress. 04/16

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • New zero-commission ride-hailing platform to launch in Vietnam in July. Learn how the Singaporean blockchain-based platform will reignite the ride-hailing war. Saigoneer. 05/07
  • Cybersecurity regulations should ensure business rights. “The draft law on cyber security is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for discussion at the end of this month.” Vietnam News. 05/09
  • Exit scammers run off with $660 million in ICO earnings. The Vietnamese crypto company Modern Tech vanished after raising $660 million from approximately 32,000 investors. TechCrunch. 04/13
  • Vietnamese fintech space to continue to attract investor interest: EY report. The number of fintech companies in Vietnam receiving investments is projected to increase five times by year-end. DealStreetAsia. 04/13
  • Vietnam’s tech giant VNG apologizes after alleged data breach affecting 163 million accounts. The leaked login info of these gaming accounts was offered for sale on a database trading site. Tuoi Tre News. 04/28

 

Upcoming Events

 

WISE Women Innovation Challenge 2018, application deadline: 05/15
The challenge offers women-led startups the opportunity to accelerate their innovations, compete for prizes, gain valuable mentorship, and access capital and market opportunity in the Mekong region. Program Page

 

Blockchain Festival Vietnam, 05/24&25, HCMC
Join world-class experts and industry leaders to discuss the latest blockchain trends and developments. Event Page

 

Vietnam Mobile Day, 06/08 Saigon & 06/15 Hanoi 
The largest annual festival for Vietnam’s mobile industry. Event Page

 

SURF – Da Nang Startup Wave 2018, 06/29, Da Nang 
Organized by Da Nang Business Incubator (DNES) and endorsed by the Da Nang government, SURF is one of the key activities to develop the city towards a thriving innovation hub. Event Page

San Francisco
814 Mission St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

April 2018 Newsletter

April 2018 Newsletter

Uber & Grab offices in Singapore. Photo source: Wong Maye-E / Associated Press.

Local market knowledge and focus matters.  We saw another example of that this month with the exit of Uber.  Uber entered Vietnam in 2014 and quickly gained traction.  At 500 Startups Vietnam’s investor trek earlier this year, an Uber launcher noted that HCMC had been among Uber’s fastest-growing cities in the world upon launch. Alas, that wasn’t enough to defeat Singapore-based Grab (a 500 Startups portfolio company).  Ultimately Uber announced that it would sell its regional operation to Grab in exchange for a 27.5% stake.

We’ll see this fight play out again soon though, as we’re told the former Vietnam country manager of Uber has been brought on by Vietnamese unicorn VNG to lead Zalo Pay, while former country manager of GrabTaxi Vietnam is now leading the GrabPay effort in Vietnam.

Anyways, the importance of market focus is why 500 Startups launched our Vietnam-focused fund in 2016 as opposed to simply investing here out of our existing funds.  Last month the fund closed our 19th, 20th, and 21st deals — and we expect a robust deal pace through Q2 as well.

Yours,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • Vietnam’s economy expands more than 7% in first quarter. The country’s GDP growth,  fueled by an export surge, has outperformed most of its Southeast Asian peers. Bloomberg. 03/29
  • PM approves $921M infrastructure investment for economic, industrial zones. “Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has given the green light for infrastructure development worth up to VND 21 trillion for economic zones and industrial parks in the 2016-2020 period.” Vietnam Investment Review. 04/02
  • Vietnam’s rapid growth fuels Ho Chi Minh property boom. With changing foreign ownership rules and rising property prices in other markets, the demand from international buyers in Vietnam is estimated to have doubled since 2014. Financial Times. 03/30
  • Cornell to collaborate with Vingroup to establish VinUniversity in Hanoi, Vietnam. The international, private, non-profit university will be the result of a partnership between Vingroup and Cornell. Cornell Chronicle. 03/13

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • It’s official: Uber sells Southeast Asia operations to Grab. Uber has sold its Southeast Asia’s ride-hailing and food delivery services to Grab. Saigoneer. 03/26
  • Vietnam’s antitrust regulator tells Grab to prove Uber deal will not create monopoly. Does the acquisition satisfy local Competition Law and what are the potential consequences? DealStreetAsia. 04/10
  • Go-Jek said to be eyeing Vietnam as next SE Asian market for foray. With Uber out of the picture and Go-Jek rumored to launch soon, the ride-hailing battle in Vietnam is only getting more interesting. DealStreetAsia. 03/02
  • Facebook appoints Le Diep Kieu Trang as national director for Vietnam. The former CFO & COO of Misfit and Oxford & MIT grad will lead Facebook’s operations in the 60M+ user market. Saigoneer. 03/21
  • Vietnam may emerge as a blockchain innovation hub for Southeast Asia. Learn how blockchain solutions can help Vietnam’s underbanked population and address agricultural challenges. Forbes. 03/27
  • Mobile wallets and tech-savvy youth driving e-commerce growth in Vietnam. The country’s e-commerce sector is estimated to grow 30-50% per year. Forbes. 03/25
  • KPMG acquires Rainmaker Labs’ businesses in Singapore and Vietnam. The acquisition will help KPMG better serve businesses capitalising on mobile technologies in Southeast Asia. KPMG. 03/21
  • Vietnam Mobile App Advertising & Monetization Report (2017). In 2017, Vietnam mobile advertising spending hit $78.7M, a 4.5X increased from 2015. Adsota

 

500 Startups Vietnam in the News

 

  • Exclusive: 500 Startups closes 20th deal in Vietnam, seeks to up deal pace this year. Having closed deal #20, we are stepping on the gas to invest faster and provide better support to our founders and the ecosystem. DealStreetAsia. 03/28
  • Lumanu raises $1M for tools that amplify social influencers’ posts. The seed round will be used to expand the team to serve existing clients like Unilever and Harley-Davidson as well as win new customers in the fashion, beauty, hospitality, and consumer packaged goods industries. Xconomy. 04/04
  • Introducing Urbanist Hanoi, Saigoneer’s New Sister Site. The news & lifestyle site is expanding to Vietnam’s capital to “explore unique and overlooked elements of the ancient city’s past, present and future.” Saigoneer. 04/09
  • 500 Startups Backs $500k Seed Round for Stablecoin Project. Meet one of the newest members of the #500vietnam family — Stably. CoinDesk. 04/09

 

Upcoming Events

 

Impact Enterprise Summit  2018, 04/14, HCMC
Learn how to establish profitable & sustainable enterprises that have positive social impacts on many disciplines such as education, agriculture, technology, etc. Event Page

 

Forbes Vietnam Under 30 Summit, 04/24, HCMC
Meet some of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers in the country featured in Forbes’ latest 30 Under 30 list. Event Page

 

 

San Francisco
814 Mission St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

March 2018 Newsletter

March 2018 Newsletter

Our first exit captured in a photo — WifiChua shaking hands with acquirer Appota. Photo source: ictnews.

As we head into Saigon’s hot-dry season, the tech scene here is heating up too:

  • Amazon and Spotify announced their Vietnam market entry
  • It was reported that Grab would acquire Uber’s Southeast Asia operations
  • Binh and Eddie’s first investment for 500 Startups Vietnam — ELSA — closed a $3.2M pre-A round led by Monk’s Hill Ventures.
  • 500 Startups Vietnam saw our first exit, an acquisition of portfolio company WifiChua by Vietnamese mobile platform Appota

(Learn more via news articles listed below)

This is on the heels of a report released by Hanoi-based accelerator Topica Founder Institute that showed an 80% increase in startup deal activity in 2017 vs. 2016.  The report also lists 500 Startups Vietnam as the most active VC investor in Vietnam (not including accelerators), with 11 deals in 2017.  Looks like we picked a good time to be here!

That’s all we’ll say for now — there’s too much to do ~

Regards,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Vietnam in the News

 

  • The World in 2050. Vietnam economy is projected to move up to #20 in the global rank by 2050. PwC. 02/2017
  • Asia-Pacific nations sign sweeping trade deal without US. “The CPTPP will reduce tariffs in countries that together amount to more than 13 percent of the global economy.” VnExpress. 03/09
  • Vietnam snatches back Asia’s equity crown as foreigners buy.Vietnamese stock market has attracted investor appetite with the country’s positive economic outlook despite recent turbulence in global financial markets. Bloomberg. 02/28
  • Monthly salaries in Vietnam rise fastest in Southeast Asia: survey.The annual growth rate of Vietnam’s payroll is estimated at 20-24% as recruitment demand remains high. VnExpress. 12/14
  • Understanding Vietnam’s generation Z. “They are entering the workforce for the first time and exist in a world where the line between the physical and the digital is blurry at best.” Forbes. 02/03

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Vietnam startup investment rises 42%. In 2017, $291M was invested into 92 startups in the country, with e-commerce leading the scene, accounting for more than 20% of deals done. VietnamNews. 03/03
  • It’s official: Amazon will be in Vietnam this year. Amazon will share the details of its plan for expansion in Vietnam and insights of Vietnam’s online commerce landscape at a major tech conference this month. Saigoneer. 03/07
  • Spotify is launching in Vietnam in 3 days. The world’s biggest music streaming service announced the big news on their official Facebook page with the hashtag #spotifyvietnam. Saigoneer. 03/10
  • Grab Close to Deal for Uber’s Southeast Asia Business. Is the war between the two major ride-hailing service in the region finally coming to an end? Bloomberg. 03/08
  • Blockchain technology to see bright future in Vietnam. “The very first Vietnam Blockchain Week has attracted 2,000 attendees and experts who were excited to discuss the future of this breakthrough technology in Vietnam.” Vietnam Investment Review. 03/09
  • More Vietnamese shift to online shopping ahead of Tet. With the local e-commerce market growing at 25% last year, holiday shopping is taken to a new level. VnExpress. 02/14

500 Startups Vietnam in the News

 

  • 500 Startups’ Investor Trek highlights Vietnam’s robust tech scene.The four-day trek took place in Hanoi and Saigon, where international investors learned about the country’s background, investment opportunities, and challenges and met many of Vietnam’s most promising startup founders and ecosystem leaders. Saigoneer. 01/31
  • ELSA raises $3.2M for its A.I.-powered English pronunciation assistant. “Since its launch two years ago, ELSA has been adopted by a few million users in over 100 countries, with around half its user base in Southeast Asia, and the rest spread out elsewhere in the world, including in Latin America and Eastern Europe.” TechCrunch. 03/06
  • Vietnam’s Appota acquires tool for sharing free passwords WifiChua. WiFi Chùa, the biggest wifi sharing and look-up mobile app in Vietnam, has always stood in the top 100s of all mobile app ranking, having 18 million users with 2.4 million access points throughout Vietnam and globally. DealStreetAsia. 03/08
  • Hiip is featured on Vietnam National Television (VTV) as a rising startup in the country. Learn how Hiip became the leading automated social influencer marketing platform in Vietnam, working with major international and local brands such as Unilever, Heineken, Shiseido, Oreo, and The Coffee House. VTV. 03/09

 

Upcoming Events

 

Vietnam Online Business Forum 2018, 03/14 (Hanoi) & 03/16 (HCMC)
VOBF 2018, organized by the Vietnam E-Commerce Association, will gather major e-commerce players and enablers in and outside of Vietnam to discuss the latest industry trends. Event Page

 

Droidcon Vietnam 2018, 04/07, HCMC
“Droidcon is a global developer conference series and a network focusing on the best of Android, and in 2017 it will be coming to Vietnam.” Event Page

 

Forbes Vietnam Under 30 Summit, 04/24, HCMC
Meet some of the brightest young entrepreneurs, innovators and game changers in the country featured in Forbes’ latest 30 Under 30 list. Event Page

San Francisco
814 Mission St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2018 500 Startups