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!

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, 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’ 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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