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

 

 

Ho Chi Minh City
Bitexco Financial Tower, 46th Floor
2 Hai Trieu St., Ben Nghe, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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

© 2018 500 Startups Vietnam

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

Ho Chi Minh City
Bitexco Financial Tower, 46th Floor
2 Hai Trieu St., Ben Nghe, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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

© 2018 500 Startups Vietnam

January – February 2018 Newsletter

January – February 2018 Newsletter

Vietnamese soccer fans gathering on Nguyen Hue walking street in Saigon to show support to the national U23 team during Asian Cup final. Photos by Zing News.

January was a momentous month for Vietnam and for 500 Startups Vietnam.

The country was swept up in soccer madness as Vietnam’s national under-23 team made it to the Asian Football Championship final for the first time ever. The whole nation dropped everything to cheer on the team as they played against Uzbekistan, deemed the favorite after dominating performances earlier in the tournament.  Despite the tough odds and heavy snowfall, the Vietnamese team (whose players probably had never experienced snow before) didn’t disappoint, keeping the match even until the final moments of extra time. Though they ultimately lost the game 2-1, they won the hearts of the people. Vietnamese city streets were packed with flag-waving & noise-making fans thanking the team for their admirable effort.  One player in particular caught our attention: goalie Bui Tien Dung is an ethnic minority from the less-developed province of Thanh Hoa.  He was for a time unable to pursue his passion, as he felt compelled to do manual labor to support his family.  Eventually he got his chance and kept his team in the championship hunt.  His story is emblematic of many talented Vietnamese youth who shine when given the chance.  We’re looking forward to a bright future.  “Việt Nam Vô Địch!” (“Vietnam unrivaled!”)

Our team had several milestones of our own.  One of our earliest investments, Leflair, announced their $3M Series A fundraise.  Hau Ly was promoted to Manager, less than 1.5 years since joining the team in an entry-level role.  Eddie celebrated his marriage to his girlfriend Lan.  And we hosted our first 500 Startups Vietnam Family Day, a pre-Tet gathering of our founders and investors to reflect on where we’ve all gone and where we’re headed.

In a couple of weeks will be the start of the Year of the Dog.  The Dog is said to be honest, friendly, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable, and responsible.  As we always strive to be with our founders and the broader ecosystem.

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • The 10 key events that define Vietnam in 2017. From the APEC summit and corruption crackdown to the clash between local taxi giants and ride-hailing apps Grab and Uber. VnExpress. 12/28
  • Vietnam’s economy grows at fastest rate in a decade. “Full-year GDP growth was slightly above the government target of 6.7 per cent and outstripped the 6.21 per cent posted for 2016.” Channel News Asia. 12/27
  • Vietnam Surges, China Disappoints in Stellar Year for Asian Stocks. Vietnam’s stock market has doubled in size in 2017 thanks to privatization of state-owned enterprises and VN Index’s impressive gain. Bloomberg. 12/28
  • Vietnam’s Economic Growth Will Accelerate In 2018 As Investors Flood The Country. The Asian Development predicts that in 2018, Vietnam will see even stronger growth than 2017 and outperform developing Asia overall. Forbes. 12/27
  • The best-performing Asian indexes in 2017 look set for more gains in the new year. Vietnam “serves as the beacon of for all the frontier markets” as stock index increased 46.9% year-to-date. CNBC. 12/29

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Valuation mismatch, lack of scale & exit options remain key challenges in Vietnam startup space. “Vietnam offers many opportunities to investors, thanks to its tech-savvy population but it may not always be easy to navigate this small country.” DealStreetAsia. 01/09
  • Booming Airbnb service puts pressure on hotels in Vietnam. “There are now over 6,500 active Airbnb listings in Vietnam, with Saigon alone offering 4,000 places to rent.” VnExpress. 12/19
  • Saigon cafés, restaurants facing the heat for accepting Bitcoin payments. In the time when cryptocurrencies are still not recognized by the State Bank of Vietnam as a legal means of payment, businesses face fines up to $8,800 for accepting Bitcoin. VnExpress. 12/20
  • Burning question: Uber and Grab’s legal status. Is it time for Uber and Grab to be regulated as taxi transportation companies in Vietnam? VietnamNet. 12/30
  • The Story of Giang Nguyen, Grab’s First Blind Coder. Overcoming his disability, Giang was one of the eight selected among 400 applicants to join Grab this year. Saigoneer. 12/08
  • Vietnam Sets up Command Center for Cyberspace Defense. Earlier in December 2016, the government also unveiled a “10,000-strong cyber unit to combat wrong views.” Reuters. 01/08
  • How Vietnam’s answer to Whatsapp, Zalo, began with a hack. The local messaging app with more than 70 million users is developed by VNG, one of Southeast Asia’s unicorns. South China Morning Post. 12/13

 

Ho Chi Minh City
Bitexco Financial Tower, 46th Floor
2 Hai Trieu St., Ben Nghe, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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

© 2018 500 Startups Vietnam

December 2017 Newsletter

December 2017 Newsletter

A Buddha statue covered in snow at the Fansipan summit in Lao Cai province on December 19, 2017. Photo by Tuoi Tre.

The holiday season is upon us! And it’s not too late to buy gifts for your loved ones — or yourself — for Christmas or Tet!  Here are some ideas:

For the classy women in your life: perhaps this glam lipstick from Guerlain? Go to Leflair to get one for 799,000 VND (~US$35 vs. US$49 on Amazon)

For a gluttonous life: perhaps beer from Vietnam’s leading craft brewery, Pasteur Street Brewing Co.? (Their Jasmine IPA is our favorite). Or the unique local chocolates by Marou?

For a healthy life: 8020fit offers short-term healthy meal subscriptions.  Get (1, 2, 3, or 6) meals per day, (1 or 5) days per week, Vietnamese or Western, starting from 66,000 VND per person, in HCMC.  Or subscribe to WeFit for discounted access to fitness classes and premium gyms in Hanoi or HCMC.

For the ambitious student in your life: English pronunciation training app ELSA is offering 20% off one-year memberships for 550,000 VND (~US$24). Install the app on an iOS or Android phone, give it a try, and if you like it then go ahead and buy!

For the new home of your life: go to Mitssy to buy one of their affordable modern pieces, or talk to their in-house design experts to figure out a beautiful furniture set just for you.

Happy holidays!
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Disclaimer: Leflair, Chopp, ELSA, and Mitssy are portfolio companies of 500 Startups.

 

500 Startups Vietnam In The News

 

  • Eddie Thai was interviewed by VTV4, commenting on opportunities and challenges of Vietnamese startups in Industrial Revolution 4.0. Link (starting at 7:48). 11/19
  • ApplyBoard is awarded Tower 2017’s “China Outstanding International Education Award” in Shanghai. Here is how they are assisting hundreds of students everyday on their study-abroad journey. Link
  • With their App Content Optimization platform, AppOnboard makes Inc. Magazine’s list of 10 companies Building the Future of App Development. Link. 09/1
  • Aspiring to give smartphones to 2 billion people with no access to credit, PayJoy is one of the hottest San Francisco startups to watch in 2018. Link. 11/10

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Meet the 4 Southeast Asian startups participating in latest Google Launchpad cohort. Monkey Junior, a Vietnam-based learning app, will be among the 4 SEA startups participating in the 6-months prestigious Launchpad accelerator programme. e27. 11/30
  • Facebook users on the rise in rural Vietnam. According to data recently released by research company Nielsen, more than a million new Facebook accounts were opened in rural parts of Vietnam in the past year, almost catching with urban users. VNExpress. 11/29
  • Uber signs first Southeast Asian e-wallet deal with Vietnam’s MoMo.Uber has agreed to sign a strategic deal with Vietnamese financial technology firm MoMo to let passengers pay for rides using MoMo’s e-wallet. Reuters. 11/29
  • Central Bank launches first-ever fintech challenge. The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) hopes the challenge will spur innovation in financial services for greater financial inclusion in the country. Vietnam News. 11/28
  • Online shopping platforms stir up Black Friday fever. Vietnam doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, but it doesn’t mean e-commerce players in the country stand outside of the Black Friday game. Vietnam News. 11/25
  • Hendale Capital invests in Vntrip. Details are undisclosed. However, Vntrip had earlier announced that it had raised $10 million in funding. DealStreetAsia. 11/24
  • JD.com invests US$44 million in Tiki.vn. Online retailer Tiki.vn has closed their latest funding round with Chinese ecommerce company JD.com. Inside Retail. 11/20

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • Vietnam’s Jan-Nov FDI rises 11.9 pct on-year. Vietnam received an estimated $16 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the first 11 months of this year (11.9% year over year). VnExpress. 11/28
  • Vietnam Sheds Its Minnow Status. This year, Vietnam will overtake the Philippines in terms of average daily equity trading volume. Bloomberg. 11/28
  • Vietnam’s real estate tycoon catapulted into world’s 500 richest list.Pham Nhat Vuong, founder & chairman of Vingroup, is the first Vietnamese person “to crack the list of the world’s 500 wealthiest people.” VoV. 11/26
  • Saigon scores high on global property growth index. According to a survey conducted by real estate firm Savills, Ho Chi Minh City has been ranked third in a survey of 50 cities worldwide for property rental growth. VnExpress. 12/07
  • Vietnam wins first gold medal at international science contest for junior students. In the 2017 International Mathematics and Science Olympiad, Vietnam brings home 1 gold and 5 silver. VnExpress. 11/24

 

Upcoming Events

 

Vietnam Investor Expeditionary Trek 2018
January 24-27, 2018  |  Hanoi & Saigon

Learn more about the country’s background, investment opportunities, and challenges through immersion and expert talks.  Along the way, meet many of Vietnam’s most promising startup founders and ecosystem leaders — including partying with the 500 Startups Vietnam family!
Event Overview

 

Ho Chi Minh City
Bitexco Financial Tower, 46th Floor
2 Hai Trieu St., Ben Nghe, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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

© 2018 500 Startups Vietnam

November 2017 Newsletter

November 2017 Newsletter

Jack Ma speaking at Vietnam E-Payment Forum 2017. Photo by VnExpress.

In a conversation with the Vietnam country manager of a major credit card company earlier this year, it was reiterated that less than 10% of payments are non-cash.  Credit card penetration in Vietnam, although growing, is still only at around 3% of the population.

It’s no surprise then that the payment space would be seen as ripe for disruption.

There are already more than a dozen local companies licensed in ewallets / epayments.  The more notable moves prior to the past 12 months were from local players like M-service (which in March 2016 closed a $28M investment from Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered for its ewallet & payment app, Momo), and VietUnion (which announced the official launch of their ewallet Payoo in October 2016 after extensive beta testing).

But in the last 12 months, we have seen big foreign players make moves.

  • Grab (the Singapore-headquartered Uber clone for SE Asia, and a 500 Startups portfolio company) launched GrabPay at the end of 2016.  Initial use was for rides but they are expanding to other use cases as well.
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma has visited Vietnam twice in the past two months, most recently speaking at the Vietnam E-Payment Forum 2017.  No doubt Alipay will make a push soon, presumably associated with Alibaba-owned ecommerce market leader Lazada. (Note: after this was drafted but before the newsletter was sent came this announcement).
  • Singapore-based, NASDAQ IPO’d Sea (formerly known as Garena) has started rolling out Airpay, e.g. via Foody (the Yelp clone for Vietnam that Sea recently acquired).

Perhaps partially in anticipation of these movements, the State Bank of Vietnam in 2016 began moving forward with Circular 19, which covers operations of bank cards in Vietnam.  A particular provision, Article 24, has NAPAS (owned by the SBV and several Vietnamese banks, not surprisingly; analogous to UnionPay in China) inserted into both sides of the credit card processing model.  The purpose is to capture data on all card transactions (for national security uses) and to earn transaction fees.  However, there are multiple negative impacts which may not have been fully considered (see half-way down the linked article), potentially including but not limited to constraining innovation and degrading data security.

Local upstarts, foreign entrants, government movements — an exciting and challenging dynamic here!  500 Startups Vietnam is not currently investing in the payment space, but given the wide-ranging impacts of what happens there, we’re keeping close attention.

For more insights like this, you may wish to check out our investor trek happening in January.  For more information, see this overview.  To apply, fill out this form.

Yours,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

Vietnam In The News

 

  • TPP Trade Deal Advances Without United States. During the 2017 APEC summit in Vietnam, eleven TPP countries settled on a new pact, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The New York Times. 11/12
  • Vietnam Is The Biggest Winner On Donald Trump’s Tour Of Asia. “…It was Vietnam that got the clearest start to the two things it really wanted from Trump’s Washington.” Forbes. 11/12
  • The US sees increase in number of Vietnamese students. A near 5% increase from academic year 2015-16 helps Vietnam remain the 6th leading country of origin of international students in the U.S. Vietnam News. 11/15
  • Billionaire Vietnamese airline CEO flies higher on list of world’s most powerful women. Vietjet’s CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao ranks 55th in Forbes’ 2017 list of the world’s most powerful women, joining German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May. VnExpress. 11/02

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Jack Ma: Vietnam holds huge e-commerce potential. Alibaba founder and CEO expressed high growth potential in Vietnam e-commerce. Alibaba will sign an agreement on e-commerce and science-technology cooperation with Vietnam to support the e-commerce ecosystem. Saigon Times. 11/07
  • Siemens manager: Vietnam holds big potential for software industry. Vietnam holds potential to develop its software industry thanks to having many young IT-savvy workers, according to Cedrik Neike, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG. Vietnamplus. 11/14
  • TNB Ventures strikes 1st deal in Vietnam in e-commerce. Singapore-based early stage investor TNB Ventures has made its maiden investment rumoured to be $20m in Vietnam by co-funding an eight-digit amount around into an e-commerce and logistics startup. Deal Street Asia. 11/14
  • GHL to enter Vietnam via strategic investment in mobile payment company. Malaysia-based GHL Systems has proposed to buy a 31.16% stake in Vietnamese mobile payment company MPOS Global Ltd for US$3.32 million. TheEdgeMarket. 11/07
  • Bill demanding Google, Facebook install domestic servers raises eyebrows in Vietnam. The draft law “has met with strong opposition from experts and an influential local business advocacy group.” VnExpress. 11/03
  • Vietnam: Greenwings invests in Hoayeuthuong; Vemanti takes over Two Group. Hoayeuthuong receives $1 million in equity funding and loan from Greenwings. Vemanti Group acquires 100% of Vietnam-based technology Two Group, which is active in e-commerce, location navigation, content streaming and social media. Deal Street Asia. 10/30
  • Lotte Accelerator to invest $1M into Vietnamese startups. South Korea’s Lotte Accelerator commits to invest at least $1 million in Vietnamese startups through an alliance with Vietnam Silicon Valley Accelerator (VSVA). Deal Street Asia. 10/27

 

Upcoming Events

 

Vietnam Investor Expeditionary Trek 2018
January 24-27, 2018  |  Hanoi & Saigon

Learn more about the country’s background, investment opportunities, and challenges through immersion and expert talks.  Along the way, meet many of Vietnam’s most promising startup founders and ecosystem leaders — including partying with the 500 Startups Vietnam family!
Event Overview

 

PreMoney SF 2017 Conference
Dec 5, 2017  |  InterContinental San Francisco Hotel

PreMoney is a one-day conference, produced by 500 Startups, about the most disruptive strategies, models & technologies for the future of venture capital. Featuring the world’s most forward-thinking investors, PreMoney will provide attendees with insight and tactics for building successful, scalable venture portfolios that are just as innovative as the companies they finance.
Register here for limited early tickets.

 

Vietnam Internet Forum 2017
November 27-28  |  Hanoi

Vietnam Internet Forum 2017,  co-hosted by the Embassy of Sweden in Hanoi and the Ministry of Information and Communications, will discuss Internet’s contribution to an open, sustainable and innovative society. Focus is on Internet accessibility and digital solutions for social impact under the theme #DigitalforGood.
Event page

Ho Chi Minh City
Bitexco Financial Tower, 46th Floor
2 Hai Trieu St., Ben Nghe, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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

© 2018 500 Startups Vietnam

October 2017 Newsletter

October 2017 Newsletter

Lion dancing during Mid-Autumn Festival in the Old Quarter, Hanoi. Photo by dan.toan on Instagram.

It was a Russian doll of exits this past month, as Vietnam’s Foody was acquiredby Singapore-based Sea, which in turn IPO’d on NASDAQ.

Vietnam moved up again in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness rankings, marking a 20-place climb in the past 5 years.  The Vietnamese government has been trying to protect/strengthen competitiveness as the economy shifts from lower income to middle income status (per the World Bank).  In the past 1-2 months, the government has: suspended proposed new tax hikes; reduced >50% of various business license restrictions/conditions; set a target to have 1 million effective SMEs/startups by 2020; and opened up online applications for foreign work permits.  See article links below.

However, challenges remain and the government faces a balancing act on many matters. For example, the tax hikes had originally been proposed by the Ministry of Finance to keep Vietnam’s government debt under control.  Most starkly, as our friends at VinaCapital highlighted at their annual investor conference this week, the local banking system continues to be burdened by NPLs: of the $12B in NPLs that have been transferred to the VAMC, only 20% have been resolved so far.

We’re keeping an eye on these themes as well as other regulatory changes under consideration such as: a reduction of the capital gains tax (positive); a payments processing law (negative); and a venture capital law (implications as yet unclear).

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

Vietnam In The News

 

  • Vietnam’s government steps in to suspend sweeping new tax hikes.The government fears that the tax raise proposed by the Ministry of Finance can devastate efforts to achieve the 6.7% economic growth target in 2017. VNExpress. 9/12
  • Vietnam aims to become startup destination in APEC. The government has set a target of having one million effective enterprises by 2020 with increasing efforts in creating favorable policies to support startups. Vietnamnet. 9/16
  • MoIT cuts 675 business and investment conditions. The Ministry of Industry and Trade slashes a historic 55.5% of current business and investment conditions across 27 sectors to stimulate economic growth. VoV. 9/23
  • Here’s Where The Money Is Going As Wealth Rises In Vietnam. As spending power goes up, what are the Vietnamese people spending money on? Forbes. 9/20
  • Vietnam’s government debt jumps 80% in four years. “The government debt in 2015 was more than twice the country’s budget income… Meanwhile, economic growth targets are not being met.” VnExpress. 9/22

 

500 Startups Demo Day Batch 22
Oct 25, 2017 at Terra Gallery, San Francisco
36 startups in FinTech, Data, Health, and more will pitch to investors on Oct. 25. Join 500 Startups latest Batch 22 for #DemoDay in San Francisco!  Learn more here.

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Can Vietnam become a global tech hub? Our partner, Eddie Thai, discusses opportunities and challenges of the local startup scene. Forbes India. 9/11
  • Sea Ltd is said to acquire 82% of Vietnam’s Foody for $64M. With this acquisition, Vietnamese restaurant booking and food delivery startup Foody “has become one of the biggest success stories in the Vietnamese startup space”. Deal Street Asia. 9/26
  • Cocoon Capital, 500 Startups lead funding in Vietnamese platform Hiip. One of our latest bets is on Hiip, Vietnam’s first automated, data-driven influencer marketing platform. e27. 9/14
  • Saigoneer, an English-language online content platform in Vietnam, raises funding from 500 Startups, VIISA. “Saigoneer is an online platform to showcase the nation’s cultural charm and social dynamism, and offers info under various categories.” e27. 10/23
  • Saigon slams the brakes on Uber, Grab expansion plans. Authorities in HCM City have instructed ride-hailing firms Uber and Grab to delay any plans they have of expanding their fleets “to better manage the number of cabs operating in the city to prevent further gridlock.” VnExpress. 9/22
  • Vietnam: Fund launched to help commercialise ideas by scientists.Ho Chi Minh-based non-profit fund Startup Vietnam Foundation has partnered with Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology to support local scientist financially and operationally. Deal Street Asia. 9/27

 

500 Startups + INSEAD: VC Unlocked Asia
Nov 6-10, 2017 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.

PreMoney SF 2017 Conference
Dec 5, 2017 at the InterContinental San Francisco Hotel

PreMoney is a one-day conference, produced by 500 Startups, about the most disruptive strategies, models & technologies for the future of venture capital. Featuring the world’s most forward-thinking investors, PreMoney will provide attendees with insight and tactics for building successful, scalable venture portfolios that are just as innovative as the companies they finance. Register here for limited early tickets.

 

Upcoming Events

 

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

 

Win a $1,000 cash prize and a trip to Sweden

Lund University Internet Institute (LUii) in collaboration with Embassy of Sweden in Vietnam, and the Vietnam Programme for Internet and Society will honor one enterprise or individual from Vietnam for their work in social innovation in a digital context. Read more about the award here.

Ho Chi Minh City
Bitexco Financial Tower, 46th Floor
2 Hai Trieu St., Ben Nghe, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

San Francisco
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San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

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