Eddie during the session “Start-Ups: Driving Innovation” at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN 2018. Image: WEF / Sikarin Thanachaiary

Hello all,

In September, Vietnam recently hosted this year’s World Economic Forum on ASEAN, bringing together political, business, and civil society leaders to discuss the latest on “Industrial Revolution 4.0”, ASEAN integration, sustainable development, and human rights.

Eddie was invited to join the meeting and speak on a plenary session focused on startups, alongside Tan Hooi Ling (co-founder, Grab), Shailendra Singh (managing partner, Sequoia), and others. Speakers observed that it’s never been easier in Southeast Asia to launch a venture—whether a clone, adaptation, or innovation—but at the same time there was still work to ensure inclusivity in access to capital, networks, and other resources.

Towards that end, 500 Startups Vietnam welcomed four new colleagues (i.e. doubling our team size) to support investment, portfolio support, and other operations. Born and raised in different parts of Vietnam, they bring diverse work experience ranging from startups, like Anduin Transactions (backed by 8VC and 500 Startups) and Topica EdTech, to larger companies like Lazada, Deloitte, and KPMG. We’re thrilled to have them! Hopefully folks in Vietnam will have a chance to meet them soon.

In September we also closed investments into company #33 (enterprise fintech), #34 (transportation), and #35 (cross-border ecommerce), bringing the third quarter’s deal count to a record high 8 deals closed! Meanwhile, two portfolio companies reported closing a combined $3M of downstream capital, with participation from investors in Silicon Valley, Asia, and Europe. That brings total downstream capital closed to ~$45M (by our estimation as reported by our portfolio companies) through Q3 2018, exceeding our expectations so far for a portfolio whose average holding period is <9 months. We have several companies fundraising in the next 3-6 months; if you haven’t already shared your investment preferences with us, please don’t hesitate to reach out!


Team 500 Startups Vietnam



Vietnam in the News

  • Vietnam fastest growing ASEAN economy: Standard Chartered Bank. SCB expects Vietnam to maintain the robust GDP growth of 7% and remain the fastest-growing ASEAN economy in 2018 and 2019.  VietnamNews. 10/8
  • Vietnam’s first female president takes over after Tran Dai Quang dies at 61. Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh will be the acting president until the National Assembly elects a new leader. Bloomberg. 9/23
  • Vietnam shines despite Southeast Asia’s struggles with trade and emerging market pressures. With $11.25 billion in FDI from January to August, Vietnam is defying the stress in emerging markets as its Southeast Asian rivals face an uncertain outlook. CNBC. 10/9
  • Prime Minister meets US firms to talk investment in Vietnam. PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc welcomes foreign businesses and investors to Vietnam to tap into local technological and labour advantages. SGGP. 9/28
  • Vietnamese students win record 8 gold medals at int’l science, math contest. The national team with 23 students also won ten silver and five bronze medals. VNExpress. 10/4


Vietnam Tech in the News

  • Fast and serious: Vietnam’s first domestic car manufacturer bets big. “Where else in the world can you do this with this sort of speed?” said Shaun Calvert, vice president of manufacturing at VinFast. Reuters. 10/1
  • Vietnam’s Tima raises US$3M in Series B funding round, nearing US$20M valuation. The consumer finance marketplace and peer-to-peer lending platform raised capital from private equity fund Belt Road Capital Management. e27. 10/1
  • Vietnam reaches for a homegrown tech revolution. Zalo, a messaging app, reportedly has 70 million subscribers and 35 million active users in Vietnam, far more than competitors like China’s WeChat or WhatsApp. Asia Times. 9/27
  • Vietnam’s first car-hailing app FastGo heads overseas. Hanoi-based FastGo is a member of NextTech Group, with sister companies pioneers in fintech, e-commerce, e-logistics and investment across Southeast Asia. Nikkei Asian Review. 10/8
  • Grab announces partnership with local e-wallet app Moca. The Vietnam-based digital payment service will handle cashless payment across Grab’s services in Vietnam. Saigoneer. 9/26
  • Vietnam-based B2B logistics startup EcoTruck raises US$1.7M in Pre-Series A round. EcoTruck assists merchants in contacting vendors, tracking the delivery, managing customs, and loading/unloading. e27. 9/18
  • Southeast Asia’s Logistics Startups Are Winning Big By Tailoring Themselves To Local Markets. Giao Hang Nhanh’s technology backbone provides fast coordination—target delivery time within a metro is two hours max—while keeping costs low. Forbes. 10/5


Upcoming Events


Women’s Summit by Forbes Vietnam, 10/18, HCMC.

The event features keynote speeches, one-on-one interviews, and panel discussions on women leadership and women empowerment in Vietnam. Event Page

WISE Women Innovation Challenge Demo Day, 10/22, HCMC

12 women-founded startups from Vietnam and the Mekong Region compete in the final round, hosted by WISE (Women’s Initiative for Startup and Entrepreneurship). Event Page

Vietnam Digital Economy Forum 2018, 11/1, HCMC

The event themed “Challenges & Strategic Solutions for SMEs in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” draws various stakeholders from national policy-making bodies, academia, and corporates. Event Page

Seamless Vietnam 2018, 11/7-8, HCMC

Over 110 free conference sessions and 40 exhibitors highlight the future of commerce at the event hosted by Fintech Vietnam News. Event Page


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