Landmark 81, set to be the tallest building in Southeast Asia upon completion at the end of this year. Photo source: Saigoneer.

On the way from District 1 to District 2, Landmark 81 stands out.  A VinGroup project, it’s set to be the tallest building in Southeast Asia upon completion at the end of this year.  It already pierces the sky far above the rest of the city.  In some ways, the building is emblematic of what’s happening in Vietnam and broader Southeast Asia: breaking out towards its larger potential.  This view seems to be shared by many investors.  The Wall Street Journal recently featured a piece on how “private money is flooding in” to Vietnam.  Perhaps it’s about time?  Per survey results from the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association, Southeast Asia has been seen as the most attractive emerging market in the world over the past decade, yet total capital invested in the region has been limited. (see chart below)

In the meantime, we maintain a steady pace, with investments into companies #22 and #23 closed in April.  We were also pleased to see one of our portfolio companies, AppOnboard, close their $15M Series A, led by Korea Investment Partners and Mirae Asset Management.  This month is trading places: Binh spends most of May in Vietnam and Singapore (catch him at Tech in Asia in Singapore on May 15-16 or AVCJ Vietnam in Saigon on May 24), while Eddie is on the road for meetings in the U.S. and Europe (catch him in Lisbon, London, Paris, Boston, or Miami).

Team 500 Startups Vietnam


Vietnam in the News


  • Vinhomes seeks up to $1.4B in Vietnam’s biggest equity issue. Dominating the high-end property segment in Saigon & Hanoi, the residential property arm of conglomerate Vingroup launched a ~$1.4B equity issue with a market value of $13-13.5B. DealStreetAsia. 04/30
  • Private money is flooding this frontier market.  Global private-equity firms and sovereign wealth funds are pouring record sums of money into Vietnam, fueled by a loosening of ownership restrictions in the communist nation’s largest companies and accelerating economic growth. Wall Street Journal. 04/23
  • 1.5 million Vietnamese join middle class each year. “Expected to account for 33 percent of Vietnam’s population by 2020, the middle class is a major contributor to the country’s development”. Vietnamnet. 04/17
  • Proposed new property tax raises eyebrows in Vietnam. The tax bill is expected to hit the majority of homeowners and might have negative impact on the market. VnExpress. 04/16

Vietnam Tech in the News


  • New zero-commission ride-hailing platform to launch in Vietnam in July. Learn how the Singaporean blockchain-based platform will reignite the ride-hailing war. Saigoneer. 05/07
  • Cybersecurity regulations should ensure business rights. “The draft law on cyber security is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly for discussion at the end of this month.” Vietnam News. 05/09
  • Exit scammers run off with $660 million in ICO earnings. The Vietnamese crypto company Modern Tech vanished after raising $660 million from approximately 32,000 investors. TechCrunch. 04/13
  • Vietnamese fintech space to continue to attract investor interest: EY report. The number of fintech companies in Vietnam receiving investments is projected to increase five times by year-end. DealStreetAsia. 04/13
  • Vietnam’s tech giant VNG apologizes after alleged data breach affecting 163 million accounts. The leaked login info of these gaming accounts was offered for sale on a database trading site. Tuoi Tre News. 04/28


Upcoming Events


WISE Women Innovation Challenge 2018, application deadline: 05/15
The challenge offers women-led startups the opportunity to accelerate their innovations, compete for prizes, gain valuable mentorship, and access capital and market opportunity in the Mekong region. Program Page


Blockchain Festival Vietnam, 05/24&25, HCMC
Join world-class experts and industry leaders to discuss the latest blockchain trends and developments. Event Page


Vietnam Mobile Day, 06/08 Saigon & 06/15 Hanoi 
The largest annual festival for Vietnam’s mobile industry. Event Page


SURF – Da Nang Startup Wave 2018, 06/29, Da Nang 
Organized by Da Nang Business Incubator (DNES) and endorsed by the Da Nang government, SURF is one of the key activities to develop the city towards a thriving innovation hub. Event Page

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