October 2018 Newsletter

October 2018 Newsletter

Eddie during the session “Start-Ups: Driving Innovation” at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018. Image: WEF / Sikarin Thanachaiary

Hello all,

In September, Vietnam recently hosted this year’s World Economic Forum on ASEAN, bringing together political, business, and civil society leaders to discuss the latest on “Industrial Revolution 4.0”, ASEAN integration, sustainable development, and human rights.

Eddie was invited to join the meeting and speak on a plenary session focused on startups, alongside Tan Hooi Ling (co-founder, Grab), Shailendra Singh (managing partner, Sequoia), and others. Speakers observed that it’s never been easier in Southeast Asia to launch a venture—whether a clone, adaptation, or innovation—but at the same time there was still work to ensure inclusivity in access to capital, networks, and other resources.

Towards that end, 500 Startups Vietnam welcomed four new colleagues (i.e. doubling our team size) to support investment, portfolio support, and other operations. Born and raised in different parts of Vietnam, they bring diverse work experience ranging from startups, like Anduin Transactions (backed by 8VC and 500 Startups) and Topica EdTech, to larger companies like Lazada, Deloitte, and KPMG. We’re thrilled to have them! Hopefully folks in Vietnam will have a chance to meet them soon.

In September we also closed investments into company #33 (enterprise fintech), #34 (transportation), and #35 (cross-border ecommerce), bringing the third quarter’s deal count to a record high 8 deals closed! Meanwhile, two portfolio companies reported closing a combined $3M of downstream capital, with participation from investors in Silicon Valley, Asia, and Europe. That brings total downstream capital closed to ~$45M (by our estimation as reported by our portfolio companies) through Q3 2018, exceeding our expectations so far for a portfolio whose average holding period is <9 months. We have several companies fundraising in the next 3-6 months; if you haven’t already shared your investment preferences with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Yours,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

 

Vietnam in the News

  • Vietnam fastest growing ASEAN economy: Standard Chartered Bank. SCB expects Vietnam to maintain the robust GDP growth of 7% and remain the fastest-growing ASEAN economy in 2018 and 2019.  VietnamNews. 10/8
  • Vietnam’s first female president takes over after Tran Dai Quang dies at 61. Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh will be the acting president until the National Assembly elects a new leader. Bloomberg. 9/23
  • Vietnam shines despite Southeast Asia’s struggles with trade and emerging market pressures. With $11.25 billion in FDI from January to August, Vietnam is defying the stress in emerging markets as its Southeast Asian rivals face an uncertain outlook. CNBC. 10/9
  • Prime Minister meets US firms to talk investment in Vietnam. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomes foreign businesses and investors to Vietnam to tap into local technological and labour advantages. SGGP. 9/28
  • Vietnamese students win record 8 gold medals at int’l science, math contest. The national team with 23 students also won ten silver and five bronze medals. VNExpress. 10/4

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

  • Fast and serious: Vietnam’s first domestic car manufacturer bets big. “Where else in the world can you do this with this sort of speed?” said Shaun Calvert, vice president of manufacturing at VinFast. Reuters. 10/1
  • Vietnam’s Tima raises US$3M in Series B funding round, nearing US$20M valuation. The consumer finance marketplace and peer-to-peer lending platform raised capital from private equity fund Belt Road Capital Management. e27. 10/1
  • Vietnam reaches for a homegrown tech revolution. Zalo, a messaging app, reportedly has 70 million subscribers and 35 million active users in Vietnam, far more than competitors like China’s WeChat or WhatsApp. Asia Times. 9/27
  • Vietnam’s first car-hailing app FastGo heads overseas. Hanoi-based FastGo is a member of NextTech Group, with sister companies pioneers in fintech, e-commerce, e-logistics and investment across Southeast Asia. Nikkei Asian Review. 10/8
  • Grab announces partnership with local e-wallet app Moca. The Vietnam-based digital payment service will handle cashless payment across Grab’s services in Vietnam. Saigoneer. 9/26
  • Vietnam-based B2B logistics startup EcoTruck raises US$1.7M in Pre-Series A round. EcoTruck assists merchants in contacting vendors, tracking the delivery, managing customs, and loading/unloading. e27. 9/18
  • Southeast Asia’s Logistics Startups Are Winning Big By Tailoring Themselves To Local Markets. Giao Hang Nhanh’s technology backbone provides fast coordination—target delivery time within a metro is two hours max—while keeping costs low. Forbes. 10/5

 

Upcoming Events

 

Women’s Summit by Forbes Vietnam, 10/18, HCMC.

The event features keynote speeches, one-on-one interviews, and panel discussions on women leadership and women empowerment in Vietnam. Event Page

WISE Women Innovation Challenge Demo Day, 10/22, HCMC

12 women-founded startups from Vietnam and the Mekong Region compete in the final round, hosted by WISE (Women’s Initiative for Startup and Entrepreneurship). Event Page

Vietnam Digital Economy Forum 2018, 11/1, HCMC

The event themed “Challenges & Strategic Solutions for SMEs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” draws various stakeholders from national policy-making bodies, academia, and corporates. Event Page

Seamless Vietnam 2018, 11/7-8, HCMC

Over 110 free conference sessions and 40 exhibitors highlight the future of commerce at the event hosted by Fintech Vietnam News. Event Page

 

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

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

September 2018 Newsletter

September 2018 Newsletter

President Tran Dai Quang meeting with 100 overseas Vietnamese scientists and tech experts in the Vietnam Innovation Network program

Hello all,

While the eCommerce war here rages on—last month, Sendo announced a >$50M fundraise led by SBI Group — there are players in Vietnam focused on pushing into deeper tech and more complex applications.  For example:

  • VinGroup announced plans to launch an “Institute of Big Data”, with $40M committed to support development of AI capabilities in Hanoi
  • The governments of Ho Chi Minh City and Yamanashi Prefecture (Japan) announced cooperation to develop agri-tech, smart city, and other automation research
  • Various folks including (500-backed founder Thuc Vu) have begun the next iteration of their grassroots effort, VietAI, to educate and build a community of world-class AI talent in Vietnam.

Even so, there is still some way to go.  As Vietnam-born technologist Albert Antoine (co-founder ILOG, acq’d by IBM) noted at Vietnam Startup Day 2018, changes in mindset and a focus on applications (rather than raw R&D) might help Vietnamese engineers catch up faster.

500 Startups Vietnam continues to do our part.  In August, our 29th deal was publicly announced, plus the closing of deals #30, #31, and #32.  This month we will be doubling the size of our team to maintain/increase our rapid investment pace and support to our portfolio companies.  And we’re continuing to take meetings with founders, investors, policymakers, and other ecosystem stakeholders.  Catch Binh in Saigon September 12-25, Eddie in Hanoi September 11-13, or both in San Francisco on October 2 for 500’s annual VC industry conference, “PreMoney”!

Yours,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • How Vietnam Fell in Love with John McCain. “We consider him to be the man who started reconciliation and re-establishing diplomatic relations and normalisation between the US and Vietnam”. SCMP. 08/31
  • Can Vietnam Avoid Getting Hurt in the U.S.-China Tariff Crossfire?“Together, the U.S. and China accounted for 35 percent of Vietnam’s exports in 2017. When the trade war broke out, so did the ominous headlines…But soon another sort of reaction began taking place: many foreign companies with stakes in China have started shifting production to Southeast Asia”. NYT. 08/29
  • From Extreme Turmoil to Calm, Vietnam Stocks Attempt a Comeback. Vietnam’s stock market seems to be entering a calmer period after a few months of macroeconomic turbulence stemming from trade war contagion fears and a higher U.S. dollar. Bloomberg. 08/28
  • Vietnam may reach new foreign investment record in 2018. In the first eight months of 2018, foreign investors spent a total of $24.35 billion to “register new and added capital as well as to contribute capital and purchase shares”. Vietnam Investment Review. 09/04
  • Vietnam pushes for development of domestic private sector.Previously dependent on export-oriented manufacturing, Vietnam is now actively developing its domestic private sector as a key driver of growth. Channel NewsAsia. 08/15
  • Inside the ambitious 1,545km high-speed railway project that links Saigon with Hanoi. The project is estimated to cost almost $60 billion and, once completed, can reduce the Saigon-Hanoi trip duration from over 30 hours to just around 8 hours. Saigoneer. 09/04

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • 7 women VC warriors to watch in Vietnam. The current tech wave in Vietnam is being powered in part by several outstanding women VCs, including 500’s own Hau Ly, Eddie notes.  LinkedIn.  08/22
  • Billionaire’s firm to launch US$44M fund for machine learning, AI in Vietnam. VinGroup’s intention to become a tech-centric corporation is illustrated by its upcoming launch of the Institute of Big Data. The institute aims to train students and scientists in applied science as well as funds research projects. VnExpress. 08/23
  • Vietnamese C2C portal Sendo nets US$51M from SoftBank, SBI, and others. The funds raised will be used to improve Sendo’s current C2C portal and launch its new B2C marketplace, Senmall. Tech in Asia. 08/16
  • Startup Viet Partners announces US$5M fund. Backed by 10 local Vietnamese LPs with networks and experience in various industries in Vietnam, SV Partners hopes to help startups better serve the needs of local businesses. e27. 08/24
  • VC fund VinaCapital Ventures launches in Vietnam. The VC fund, VinaCapital’s second VC fund, will typically write checks ranging from US$2–10M and has invested in two Vietnamese startups. Yahoo! News. 08/30
  • Vietnam’s online travel app Vntrip raises third round from Swiss IHAG Holding. Vietnam’s Expedia clone has plans to increase its resources and grab greater share in the online air ticket sector. DealStreetAsia. 08/20
  • Grab partners with Vietnamese firm for payment service. Grab’s deal with Moca, the Vietnamese mobile payment startup, further solidifies its grip of the regional fintech market. Reuters. 09/11
  • Vietnamese logistics startup LOGIVAN raises US$1.75M to expand services. LOGIVAN, a Hanoi-based logistics startup, offers a platform that connects freights with truckers. e27. 08/29

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
Vietnam AWS Community Day 2018, 09/17, HCMC. 
A full day event featuring strategic and technical discussions led by expert AWS users and community leaders in Asia Pacific. Event 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
Vietnam Frontier Summit, 10/06, Hanoi. 
The summit, supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, will discuss trends and impacts of frontier technologies such as AI, VR/AR, Blockchain, and IoT. Event Page

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

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

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

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