Image: A Đông Hồ folk woodcut painting in process

Hello all,

We all just got back from our Lunar New Year break and are thrilled to start the Year of the Pig. According to the Chinese zodiac and Vietnamese aunties & uncles, the Pig represents good fortune and prosperity. In other words, it’s the year for lucrative investments with steady and consistent returns. Whether you celebrate LNY or not, here’s to a successful year ahead.

In an interesting start to the year for Vietnam, the Trump-Kim summit will take place in Hanoi on February 27-28, carrying political and economic symbolism for both Washington and Pyongyang. “In short: North Korea’s aspiration is Vietnam’s history,” wrote TIME’s Charlie Campbell last month. What Vietnam can get from the summit, besides a moment in the international spotlight, is another matter of speculation.

In the meantime, we forge ahead with our work. In the past 4 weeks we’ve closed 3 more deals: #38 in an insurtech startup, #39 in a food startup, and #40 in a travel tech startup. To help us keep up the pace, we’ve moved to a brand new office in the heart of District 1 and brought on a new investment analyst & an eager-beaver intern. We have just a few slots to fill until the team is complete. Help us find our next startup or next team member and we’ll treat to a nice steak dinner!

Until next month,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam


Vietnam in the News

  • US-China trade war boosts Vietnamese city’s economy. Dan Krassenstein traces one economic boom after another, from Taiwan to China, and now to Vietnam: “Everything I’m seeing now in South Asia and Southeast Asia, it’s like ‘Groundhog Day’. It’s like 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10 years ago.” NPR. 2/12
  • Southeast Asia bucks trend of sinking global foreign investment. Southeast Asia was the world’s “main FDI growth engine” last year, with Vietnam receiving a record $19B in FDI. Nikkei Asian Review. 2/4
  • Top 10 business events that shape Vietnam in 2018 (infographics). Grab’s acquisition of Uber Southeast Asia, World Economic Forum ASEAN, CPTPP ratification, and more. VNExpress. 12/31
  • How Vietnam went from Cold War foe to a host for Trump and Kim’s summit. Why Vietnam? For starters, trust. Washington Post. Moreover, Hanoi may offer example of reform to Pyongyang during summit. North Korea’s economy in recent years is similar to Vietnam’s economy in 1985, a year before it embarked on the Doi Moi route to reform. Voice of America. 2/11
  • ‘Napalm girl’ Kim Phuc receives German prize for peace work. The founder of the Kim Phuc Foundation is being honored for her support of Unesco and children wounded in war, and for speaking out against violence and hatred. The Guardian. 2/11


Vietnam Tech in the News

  • Momo, Vietnam’s top payment app, lands big Series C investment led by Warburg Pincus. The round size is rumored to be as high as $100M. Standard Chartered led a $28M round in 2016 while Goldman Sachs invested $5.8M back in 2013. TechCrunch. 1/18
  • Logistics startup LOGIVAN raises $5.5M from Alpha JWC, others. To date, the Vietnamese web platform that connects truckers with shipping capacity has raised a total of $7.9M. DealStreetAsia. 2/11
  • Cinnamon raises $15M in Series B for US expansion. Based in Tokyo and Vietnam, Cinnamon develops AI application products and expects to establish a presence in Silicon Valley. VietnamNews. 1/28
  • Media giant Yeah1 continues buying spree, acquires Thai operations of US company. Yeah1 has acquired Thoughtful Media Group’s Thai subsidiary for $1.6M. Earlier, on January 10, it paid $20M to buy Hollywood-based ScaleLab. VNExpress. 1/28
  • Vietnam-based restaurant tech startup KAMEREO raises $500K. KAMEREO allows restaurants to source and procure essential supplies online. Currently, it has over 120 suppliers and 200 restaurants signed up. Yahoo News. 1/7
  • South Korean unicorn to enter local food delivery market in 2019. Woowa Brothers would be a serious competitor to GrabFood and, which dominate the $33M food delivery market after Lalamove left. VIR. 1/30


Upcoming Events


Australian Business Award 2019, 3/8, HCMC

Hosted by the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, the award ceremony recognizes Australian connected businesses and individuals operating in Vietnam. Event Page


Echelon Roadshow 2019: Ho Chi Minh, 3/12, HCMC

Hosted by e27 in anticipation of Echelon Asia Summit in May, the event features startup insights, networking opportunities, and Echelon’s TOP100 APAC 2019 Qualifier winners from Vietnam. Event Page

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