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.

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



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