December 2018 Newsletter

December 2018 Newsletter

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

  • 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

Events

 

 

 

Lead The Change 2018 Final Round, 12/13, HCMC
GP Eddie Thai will be a panelist at the annual startup contest organized by the University of Economics, HCMC with supporting from the US Consulate, the Consulate General of Italy, Accelerator Startup Campus in Korea, and others. Event Page

AmCham Networking Night, 12/14, HCMC
Eddie Thai will be meeting with university students/recent graduates and speaking alongside Linh Pham (Logivan) and Ha Lam (Triip.me) on the topic of rising from your failure. Organized by AmCham Vietnam. Event Page

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

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

November 2018 Newsletter

November 2018 Newsletter

Panel discussion with members of Forbes’s “Midas List” of leading venture capitalists at 500’s annual VC industry conference, PreMoney. Photo: Sumit Kohli @sreelphoto

Hi all,

At the beginning of October, we held our annual global LP meeting as well as our annual VC industry conference, PreMoney. Discussions ranged from nuts and bolts topics like “The State of Data & Experimentation in Venture” to industry trends like “The Impact of Massive Funds” and “Navigating Generational Change in VC”. Get your dose of straight talk and watch the panel discussions here.

With Vietnam emerging as the winner of the US-China trade war and primed for an M&A boom, it’s a good time to be investing. Indeed, we closed deal #36 to help companies leverage engineering talent in Vietnam and elsewhere. Meanwhile, we also took time to honor our founders and our partners.

In conjunction with National Women’s Day on October 20 (Vietnam celebrates women’s day twice a year) we had the chance to feature the stories of women who lead: our portfolio companies’ female founders. Recently Eddie helped judge the WISE Women Innovation Challenge and encouraged 12 innovative women-led startups to champion their space. We also charted seven woman VC warriors to watch in Vietnam, including our investment manager Hau Ly as well as other VCs from Startup Viet Partners, Openspace Ventures, VinaCapital, and Patamar, among others.

Until then,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

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500 Startups Vietnam in the News

 

  • Copper Cow Coffee in Fortune’s Holiday Gift Guide 2018: Coffee and Tea. A Vietnamese-style cup of coffee with a strong, nutty brew that can be whipped up anywhere. Fortune. 11/1
  • AppOnBoard’s App Store Demos on Google Play see big growth. “Google is using AppOnBoard’s technology to enable users to tap on demo apps in the store and play the game instantly in a highly visible feature dubbed Google Play Instant.” VentureBeat. 10/18
  • Beam scores funding to bring e-scooters to Singapore. The e-scooter startup raised $6.4 million from investors including Sequoia, Founders Fund, ZhenFund, and 500 Startups to transform shared personal mobility in Asia. Bloomberg. 10/23
  • PayJoy secures $20M in debt financing from Arc Labs. The company helps consumers with not only mobile device financing, but also unsecured lending, by using a customer’s phone for underwriting data and as collateral. Crowdfund Insider. 11/1. The company also partnered with major banks and network providers to boost smartphone penetration in Nigeria and help close its digital divide. TechFinancials. 11/5

 

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • Vietnam, France sign deals worth more than $10 billion. The prime ministers of France and Vietnam witnessed the signing of two business deals worth over $10 billion and dozens of other agreements covering energy, education, health, technology and the environment. Voice of America. 11/2
  • Vietnam is winning the US-China trade war. As the trade war heats up, more firms are rerouting their production to Vietnam. Foreign Policy. 10/30
  • Vietnam begins life under new strongman President Nguyen Phu Trong. General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong became the first person to hold both titles since founding father Ho Chi Minh in the 1960s. TIME. 10/24
  • Vietnam to Launch MicroDragon Earth Observation Satellite in December. An important milestone in the nation’s road map to master satellite design and production. Via Satellite. 10/22
  • Vietnam primed for M&A boom as foreign ownership limit eases. Pharmaceuticals and banking will attract more foreign investment as state-owned companies look to divest. Nikkei Asian Review. 11/1
  • Vietnam to ratify Pacific Rim trade pact. The agreement is expected to improve Vietnam’s investment environment and to create between 20k-26k new jobs a year. ABC News. 11/2

 

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • KKR pumps $145 Million into Southeast Asia’s top property app. The Series D financing will help PropertyGuru take full control of leading Vietnamese real estate site Batdongsan.com.vn. Bloomberg.10/31
  • Vietnam releases cybersecurity draft decree. The draft required tech companies such as Facebook and Google to set up offices in Vietnam. Reuters. 11/2
  • Cooky, a Vietnamese food recipe portal, raised $500,000 in a funding round led by ESP Capital. With 40,000 online recipes and 200 offline cooking tutorial sessions, Cooky attracts over 3 million visits per month. DealStreetAsia. 10/29
  • Uiza snatches top spot at Tech in Asia Jakarta 2018 Arena. The video and livestream cloud API platform from Vietnam leverages data science to optimize viewing experience. Tech in Asia.10/24
  • Vietnamese prosecutor recommends Grab be treated as taxi service. As the lawsuit between local taxi firm Vinasun and Grab is still ongoing, so is the debate about whether Grab is a taxi service or not. DealStreetAsia. 10/30

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

Startup Viet 2018, 11/15, HCMC
Hau will be judging the top 5 pitches from Startup Viet, an annual startup pitching contest and tribute gala hosted by VNExpress. Event Page

NTT Com Startup Challenge Vietnam 2018, 11/22, HCMC

Startup pitches, panel discussion, and meeting with VCs from Monk’s Hills Ventures, 500 Startups Vietnam, and Golden Gate Ventures among others. Event Page

Techfest 2018: From Here to Global, 11/29-12/1, Da Nang

Eddie will be speaking on a panel about Vietnam’s VC landscape, Techfest 2018 is a 3-day event with +100 investors and +200 startups from Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and others. Event Page

Vietnam Web Summit, 12/6, HCMC. 12/13 Hanoi

Organized by TopDev, the annual festival expects to provide 150 technical seminars as well as networking and recruiting opportunities. Event Page

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

© 2010-2018 500 Startups

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

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