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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

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

© 2010-2019 500 Startups

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.

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

© 2010-2019 500 Startups

September 2017 Newsletter

September 2017 Newsletter

For this month’s newsletter, Eddie wanted to include a personal note:

“Today marks the 5th anniversary of my move to Vietnam, and I remain as enchanted and watchful and hopeful as I did on the day that I arrived.  The country — as my experience in it — remains a beautiful and complex mosaic of contrasts.  As one mosaic tile, the idea of “Vietnam” remains imprinted by the U.S.-Vietnam War and its aftermath, such that even 40+ years later, the esteemed documentary duo Ken Burns and Lynn Novick chose to craft a 10-hour, 18-hour opus to be released in 2 weeks.  As another tile, the economy has changed to an extent that Ho Chi Minh might scarcely recognize it.  In the midst of so much natural beauty (see: Vietnam From Above), skylines continue to shoot up and development continues its relentless march.  In short, the elements to many great or terrible futures are all around us, and it’s up to everyone to determine which future it’s going to be.  It’s exciting and humbling for me to be here and play my own small part.”

If you’re interested to see all of this for yourself, please send a note! We may be organizing a small Vietnam trip.  Get the market download, meet cool startups, check out the sites, and eat good food.

And on to other updates.  Last month we closed 3 new investments in fintech, travel, and adtech.  We hope to close 2-3 more deals in September.  To handle all of this deal flow we need good folks.  Our very first associate, Alvin, has decided to move on after 1.5 years.  Fortunately, he is not going far: he will work on operations for one of our portfolio companies.  We are now piloting his replacement and hope to announce him soon.

Of course, all of these small things are happening in a much bigger Vietnam context.  As you may know, Vietnam is the host of this year’s APEC meetings. Last month saw the third senior officials’ meeting, and this month welcomes the ministerial meetings on small and medium enterprises (including startups). Unfortunately, we had to decline participation in these latter meetings as we will be in San Francisco for 500’s semi-annual global team retreat.

Onwards —

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

Vietnam In The News

 

  • Vietnam forecasts record foreign investment of $16B. “Vietnam is shrugging off the uncertainty over the Trans-Pacific Partnership as low wages and a young workforce help retain its allure as a manufacturing base.” Deal Street Asia. 8/4
  • These Asian Cities Will Grow the Fastest in the Next Five Years. Ho Chi Minh City is forecasted to be the 2nd fastest growing, “reflecting the city’s success in establishing itself as a manufacturing center, as well as its strong services sector.” Bloomberg. 8/9
  • Meet VinFast, the world’s newest automaker — from Vietnam.“Vingroup plans to produce 500,000 vehicles in the country by 2025.”   Nikkei. 9/2
  • Vietnam crowned champions at Asia-Pacific robot contest. “The country has become the most successful in the competition’s history, with this year’s victory making it the first 6-time winner.” VNExpress. 8/28

 

500 Startups + INSEAD: VC Unlocked Asia
November 6-10 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.

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Vietnam to launch venture capital regulation in 2017. The Ministry of Planning and Investment is planning to introduce a legal framework for VCs by the end of this year. Deal Street Asia. 8/21
  • Vietnam Will Legalize Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets By August 2018. “The government will also legalize digital assets, which bodes well for ERC20 tokens, among others.” The Merkle. 8/26
  • Commentary: Ambitious and smart, youths in Ho Chi Minh are building Asia’s Silicon Valley. Ho Chi Minh City is home to most of Vietnam’s ~3,000 startups. Channel News Asia. 8/19
  • Female founders take charge in Vietnam. “Women hold 17.6% of board seats in Vietnam, more than any other country in the Asia-Pacific region except Australia…” TechCrunch. 8/14
  • Vietnam’s Zalo Pay Brings Payments To Social Media in Vietnam.Contactless, mobile payments are now available to 70 million users of Zalo, a social media and messaging platform. FintechNews. 8/7

 

From the 500 Startups Vietnam Blog

 

How to know what is working and what is not at your startup? Here are the basic metrics that founders should understand and keep an eye on.

 

Upcoming Events

 

Seamless Vietnam, September 6 – 7, HCMC
Over 2 days, Seamless Vietnam 2017 will bring together the most exciting online merchants, offline retailers, banks, transport operators and more with the very best in international payments, e-commerce and retail solution vendors.
Event Page

 

HCMC Leaders & Startup and Innovation Community Meetup,
September 7, HCMC

Department of Science and Technology and other leaders are gathering with local startups to discuss what the city’s innovation support efforts have accomplished over the last year and where to go next.
Event Page

 

Investor Summit #DealDay Roadshow, September 30, HCMC
As part of the Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) 2017, an Investor Summit – “Deal Day” will bring together the best of the best in terms of innovations, giving investors an opportunity to be part of the FinTech ecosystem.
Event Page

 

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

 

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

© 2010-2019 500 Startups

August 2017 Newsletter

August 2017 Newsletter

Eddie with Christopher Beselin (Founding Partner, Endurance Capital) at SURF 2017. 

Congratulations to the Vietnam student delegation to the International Math Olympiad for getting 4 gold medals and #3 overall!  Of course, the outcome was not terribly surprising — it’s  Vietnam’s sixth Top 10 finish in the last seven years.  This kind of math talent has formed the basis of Vietnam’s tech labor force.

However, as we reminded the audience at Danang’s annual startup conference last month, tech capability is necessary but not sufficient.  Successful startup founders, let alone complete global citizens, must also be capable with critical thinking, teamwork, ethics, etc.  Anecdotally, Vietnam’s education system still has gaps on some of these elements.  Until now and for the near future, many students have filled the gaps with sheer hustle, soaking up digital content and/or fighting their way to international learning opportunities.  That’s why, for example, Vietnam has been such a major source of study abroad students in places like the U.S., Australia, Japan, Korea, and France, and that’s why in July we closed an investment in ApplyBoard, a startup helping students anywhere in the world (incl. Vietnam) study at leading institutions in the U.S. and Canada. But Vietnam’s full potential can only be met if local learning is transformed and world-class education is made available to everyone.  This was a common topic of discussion at this year’s EdTech Asia Summit, held a week ago in Saigon. Besides universal conversations regarding the evolution of education, preparation for jobs of the future, etc., Eddie moderated a panel covering Vietnam’s evolving education landscape: a proposed revision to Decree 73, the ongoing effort to establish Vietnam’s first independent, non-profit university, and so on.

By the way, a friend at Google SEA has tips for our newsletter subscribers who want to make sure they catch our newsletter each month: move the newsletter email from the Promotions tab (for those who use gmail tabs), and add the sender’s address to your Address Book.  (Thanks Ly!)

Until next month ~

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Vietnam In The News

 

  • Vietnam to launch nearly 40 IPOs of state companies in 2H2017. “The country has set itself a goal of paring stakes in 137 state owned enterprises by 2020.” DealStreetAsia. 7/17
  • Vietnamese students score 4 medals at the International Mathematics Olympiad, including the top individual performance. The Vietnamese as a team ranked third overall behind South Korea and China. VNExpress. 7/22
  • China reportedly threatens Vietnam into ending energy exploration in South China Sea. Vietnam has reportedly terminated a gas-drilling expedition in a disputed area of the South China Sea…” CNBC. 7/23 BBC. 7/24

 

500 Startups + INSEAD: VC Unlocked Asia
November 6-10 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.

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Channel News Asia features Binh and Eddie on their latest episode of Power List Asia. Channel News Asia. 7/26
  • Eddie keynotes SURF Tech Conference in Da Nang on the topic of “Why it’s now (or never) for Viet Nam”. SURF, video. 7/20
  • Uber CTO Thuan Pham shares his story and advice in local fireside chats in Hanoi and Saigon. Deal Street Asia. 7/28

 

Skoll Global Threats and benetech are partnering to bring top technology mentors to the world, with Vietnam as one of their focus countries. If you are interested in digital healthcare initiatives and want to find out more, send an email with subject “Technology Mentorship” to Deep at deepd@benetech.org.

 

From the 500 Startups Vietnam Blog

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

2nd Annual Startup Weekend, August 25 – 27, HCMC
Startup Weekend is a 54-hour event designed to provide experiential education for technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.
Event Page

 

Seamless Vietnam, September 6 – 7, HCMC
Over 2 days, Seamless Vietnam 2017 will bring together the most exciting online merchants, offline retailers, banks, transport operators and more with the very best in international payments, e-commerce and retail solution vendors.
Event Page

 

Startup Day 2017, August 26, HCMC
One of the largest annual startup events organized by the Business Startup Support Centre.
Event Page

 

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

© 2010-2019 500 Startups

July 2017 Newsletter

July 2017 Newsletter

Three days ago, we were made aware of behavior by Dave McClure, co-founder of 500 Startups, towards some number of women in the tech industry.  After mention of one incident in a New York Times article, 500 Startups top management shared a blog post that they had already become aware of allegations a few months ago and had transitioned Dave out of day-to-day operations.  Dave followed up a day later with his own blog post taking responsibility for his actions and apologizing to all affected.  But as it became clearer that more needed to be done, Christine Tsai (co-founder and CEO of 500 Startups) asked for and received Dave’s resignation.  Meanwhile, more incidents by Dave continue to surface.

We at 500 Startups Vietnam have no tolerance for that sort of behavior.  We empathize greatly with those who are directly harmed by it every day all around the world, in every industry.  So to hear about it coming from someone “so close to home” makes it all the more disappointing and shocking to us.

That said, 500 Startups is much bigger than any one person.  We have no reason to believe that there is a pattern of harassment at our company. Moreover, we think the company remains committed to our shared and enduring belief that innovation can come from anyone, anywhere.   This belief is reflected in how half of our managing partners are women and more than 400 of our portfolio companies are female-founded.  This is also reflected in a number of women coming out with their own stories of support.  For example, as shared by Ran Ma (co-founder, Siren Care, Batch 18):

“I believe that 500 Startups stood for and continues to stand as a bastion of inclusiveness in tech. 500 may have been founded by Dave McClure, but today, 500 is made up of 100+ diverse individuals, and 1000s of diverse founders. 500 serves as a vital source of early stage funding and a welcoming community for many female, minority, international, LGBTQ and otherwise underrepresented founders. Let us remember this.”

Such stories in no way condone or excuse Dave’s behavior that has come to light.  But they do serve as helpful reminders of our efforts, just as Dave’s behavior reminds us that there’s still a lot of work to do.  We eagerly roll up our sleeves and get back to work.

Yours,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Vietnam In The News

 

  • Vietnam Rejoins Club of 6%-GDP-Growth Nations as Exports Surge. Bloomberg. 6/29
  • Vietnam manufacturing picks up in June. “Vietnam’s manufacturing sector picked up last month…thanks to a sharp rise in new orders and production.” Financial Times. 7/2
  • Vietnam named among world’s fastest growing travel destinations. A report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization ranked Vietnam’s tourism growth as seventh in the world. VN Express International. 6/30
  • How Vietnam learned to stop poaching and love its beasts. An OZY feature on the decline of the poaching trade in Vietnam. OZY. 6/28.

 

500 Startups + INSEAD: VC Unlocked Asia
November 6-10 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.

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • Focus on impacting human lives rather than trying to be a unicorn. Eddie is interviewed by e27 regarding Vietnam’s dynamic startup culture, 500 Startups’ future plans, and his key learnings. e27. 6/21
  • Turner makes ‘significant’ minority stake investment in POPS Worldwide. POPs manages the country’s top YouTube channel with a music station that boasts 3.3 million subscribers and 3.6 billion lifetime views. e27. 6/23
  • Uber and Grab Changing Vietnam’s Motorbike Culture. Some Xe Om, or motorbike taxi, drivers lose out on business. VOA. 6/28

From the 500 Startups Vietnam Blog

 

Upcoming Events

 

SURF 2017, July 21-22, Da Nang.
Hosted by the Da Nang Business Incubator (DNES), SURF features businesses and startups in Da Nang, Vietnam and other emerging communities.
Event Page

 

Batch 21 Demo Day, August 1, Computer History Museum, Mountain View. 
A one-day event for active & accredited investors to check out our hottest accelerator & Series A portfolio companies.
Event Page

 

Pre-Money, September 7, San Francisco, CA.
A one-day event about the most disruptive strategies, models & technologies for the future of venture capital.
Event Page

 

Innovatube Frontier Summit, July 30, Hanoi.
Covering 4 sectors of smart tech, including AI, IoT, Blockchain and VR/AR. This event gathers bright minds to share their knowledge in frontier technologies & how to implement them in real-world projects.
Event Page

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

© 2010-2019 500 Startups

June 2017 Newsletter

June 2017 Newsletter

The big recent news was that VNG — the Vietnamese tech company that began as a game developer & distributor but has since moved into OTT messaging, e-commerce, etc. — has begun exploring an IPO on NASDAQ.  It’s just the beginning of a long process and nobody can predict the result, but nonetheless VNG’s team deserves big congratulations. It’s been a long journey since being founded in 2004 — i.e. in a much younger time of Vietnam’s digital economy — and to get to the point where it could even explore a listing on NASDAQ is a testament to their hard work.

Around the same time, Eric Schmidt (executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company) visited Vietnam in late May.  He addressed digital literacy (attending the inaugural ceremony of a Google-sponsored initiative to train tens of thousands of Vietnamese farmers) and social media topics.  Fun fact revealed: Vietnam ranks #2 globally in using YouTube.  More substantive perhaps was the discussion on content & censorship.  Over the past few months the Vietnamese government had been stepping up pressure to control “toxic information”.  After a meeting between the Prime Minister and Schmidt, the government released a statement saying that Schmidt “will tightly cooperate with Vietnam to remove toxic information violating Vietnamese laws.” Meanwhile a Google spokesperson noted, “We have clear policies for removal requests from governments around the world, and those policies have not changed.”  There appears to be a delicate dance ongoing.

Eddie was invited to join a lunch with Schmidt, U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius, and others but could not attend due to a previously-scheduled commitment: attending Harvard’s Commencement featuring speaker Mark Zuckerberg.  “I’m not here to give you the standard commencement about finding your purpose. I’m here to tell you finding your purpose isn’t enough. The challenge for our generation is creating a world where everyone has a sense of purpose: by taking on big meaningful projects together, by redefining equality so everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose, and by building community across the world.” (abridged; full text here)

Creating a world where everyone has the freedom to pursue purpose. That’s what Google is trying to do, what Facebook is trying to do, and what we’re trying to do here in Vietnam and beyond.  At AVCJ’s first-ever Private Equity and Venture Capital Forum in Vietnam, Binh chaired a panel on Vietnam’s startup ecosystem.  It was a good opportunity to educate investors and encourage more of them to seek opportunities.  Meanwhile, in the 5 weeks ending May 31, we closed 3 new investments, 2 of which clearly aim at expanding access for the bottom half of the pyramid.  Not all of our investments will have this type of impact focus, but it’s always been clear to us that at a lot of our potential value will be in supporting teams whose purpose is to solve emerging markets problems.

Regards,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Vietnam In The News

 

  • Vietnam’s Prime Minister looks to salvage Obama trade gains in Trump visit. “Hanoi’s leaders want to reduce Vietnam’s economic dependence on China while further integrating with global markets, including the U.S.” Bloomberg. 5/30

  • VietJet seeks Vietnam’s first overseas listing. Vietjet, which controls almost half of Vietnam’s domestic airline market is currently in talks with stock exchanges in London, Hong Kong and Singapore. DealStreetAsia. 5/29

  • Vietnam’s Prime Minister suggests Google open rep. office in Vietnam. Welcoming Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt in Hanoi, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc suggested that Google open an official representative office in Vietnam to jointly handle issues that may arise. Voice of Vietnam. 5/26

 

VC Unlocked: 500 Startups’ Investor Training Program
Join us at the next session of 500 Startups-Stanford joint investor training program #VCUnlocked: Secrets of Silicon Valley Investing 7/24-8/04. Spots are limited. Apply now at: education.500.co/stanford

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • VNG signs MoU to list via IPO on NASDAQ. VNG, “founded in 2004 and based in Ho Chi Minh City, forecasts 2017 revenue of $180 million.” Bloomberg. 5/21

  • Can Vietnam Become a Global Tech Hub? Eddie is interviewed by Yale School of Management regarding Vietnam’s challenges and opportunities on the road to reaching its full potential. Yale Insights. 6/7

  • POPS completes series B round, in talks to raise series C. “Currently, POPS has over 1,500 content partners, over two billion views per month across its multi-platform network and more than 25 million subscribers.” DealStreetAsia. 5/24

  • Genesia Ventures invests in Vietnam’s Airbnb-like startup Luxstay. Luxstay allows customers to rent short-term villas, apartments and high-end homestays owned by local people across Southeast Asian countries. DealStreetAsia. 5/26

  • Vietnamese doctor consulting app gets Google’s support. Through Google’s LaunchPad Accelerator program, eDoctor will receive a sponsor package worth US$50k. Viet Nam News. 5/25

From the 500 Startups Vietnam Blog

 

 

Upcoming Events

 

Innovatube Frontier Summit, July 30, Hanoi.
Covering 4 sectors of smart tech, including AI, IoT, Blockchain and VR/AR. This event gathers bright minds to share their knowledge in frontier technologies & how to implement them in real-world projects.
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Woomentum: Pitch Differently, June 17, HCMC.

Join Woomentum at their workshop and learn how to pitch to get investors and the crowd to line up for you!
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