Friends of 500,
As we hurtle into the holiday season, our team members are taking time to reflect on the journey so far and what lies in the future. In November, we announced the final close of our fund at $14M. When we set the target at $10M in 2016, Vietnam was not an obvious tech investment destination. The country was poor, fraught with bureaucracy, and struggling to create a startup ecosystem. We wouldn’t have been here without all the support from the friends, mentors, founders, and partners we met along the way. In true Vietnamese fashion, family comes first, so here’s a big thank you to the #500strong community worldwide.
The momentum has been palpable. If Obama said “the world is taking notice” of Vietnam’s entrepreneurial spirit in 2016, this year is the second time in a row Vietnam tops places where APAC CEOs look for investment. Days ago, educational service Topica has closed its $50 million Series D – one of the highest to date for a Vietnamese tech company. While tech giants have promised to provide digital training for 20M people in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is putting itself at the forefront of high-speed data communications by quickly rolling out 5G, launching an IoT innovation hub with Ericsson in Q12019, ratifying the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, and generally winning the trade war.
Vietnam has become more than just one of a series of Southeast Asian nations jostling for previously China-based manufacturing operations. Indeed, Vietnam is well placed to strongly capitalize on China’s disrupted trade. – Forbes
With Vietnam on the verge of transformation, 500VN will continue to foster the ecosystem while ramping up our fund operations. We are actively looking for a BD and Partnerships Coordinator and an Investment Associate. If you know someone who would be a good fit, refer them our way.
As 2018 is winding down, we look forward to another year of deeper collaboration and genuine connection with the local community. In December, Eddie will be a panelist at the Lead The Change 2018 Competition before meeting university students and recent graduates at AmCham Vietnam. Enjoy your holidays, and finish this year #500strong.
See you in January,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam
500 Startups Vietnam in the News
- 500 Startups surpasses Vietnam fund goal by raising $14M. The amount raised was $4M more than the initial target when 500 Startups announced the fund in 2016. Bloomberg. (also TechCrunch, DealStreetAsia, Vietnam Investment Review, etc.) 11/20
- An entrepreneur’s guide to Vietnam’s startup scene. Binh Tran, a partner at 500 Startups and co-founder of Klout, Inc. argues that Vietnam is particularly attractive as a startup location and a talent pool for larger companies due to the abundance of low-cost, high-tech talent, engineers and coders who are able to build and develop products just as well as their competitors in Silicon Valley — for a fraction of the cost.The Next Web. 11/16
- Bunch scores $3.8M to turn mobile games into video chat LAN parties. The seed round is led by London Venture Partners and joined by Founders Fund, Betaworks, North Zone, 500 Startups and more. TechCrunch. 11/15
- Copper Cow Coffee closed a $2M round led by Silverton Partners (NOSH, 12/4). The Vietnamese-inspired coffee brand also appeared in Forbes’ holiday gift guide for the travelin’ man (Forbes, 11/22) and Vogue’s best on-the-go snacks. Vogue. 11/6
Vietnam in the News
- Vietnam continues to top places where APAC CEOs look for investment, says PwC’s Chao (video). In its survey of 1,189 business leaders across the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, PwC found that the biggest winners for foreign investment will be Vietnam, followed by China. Bloomberg. 11/16
- Indonesia, Vietnam big draws for private investors, said Bain. 90% of surveyed investors said the two nations would be the hottest South-east Asian markets outside of Singapore. The Straits Times. 11/20
- Vietnam reduces reliance on China, ratifies new Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. Despite Donald Trump’s snub, TPP trade deal will take effect at end of 2018 after Australia ratifies it. It is expected to reduce tariffs between the 11 participating economies that together add up to US$10 trillion. South China Morning Post. 11/13
- M&A takes center stage in Vietnam’s foreign investment landscape. The finance, property, retail, and consumer goods sectors will continue to dominate M&A in Vietnam. VNExpress. 11/29
Vietnam Tech in the News
- Topica raises $50M for its online learning services in Southeast Asia. Topica offers a range of different services that include English-language tutoring and university-level courses, but it has expanded to less traditional disciplines, including a “founders institute” accelerator program and a 3D “technologies” program. TechCrunch. 11/27
- Vietnam signs agreement with Ericsson to open Internet of Things Innovation Hub. The hub will be located at Hòa Lạc Hi-Tech Park in Hanoi and will launch in 1Q2019. Yahoo News. 11/30
- Vietnam to begin testing 5G networks next year. Vietnam hopes to jump-start its telecom industry and boost high-tech manufacturing by quickly rolling out 5G. Nikkei Asian Review. 11/16
- Vingroup to launch smartphones next week as part of tech push. VinSmart is also working with Qualcomm and Alphabet Inc’s Google to “update the most advanced technology in the smartphone sector”. Reuters. 12/3
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