President Tran Dai Quang meeting with 100 overseas Vietnamese scientists and tech experts in the Vietnam Innovation Network program

Hello all,

While the eCommerce war here rages on—last month, Sendo announced a >$50M fundraise led by SBI Group — there are players in Vietnam focused on pushing into deeper tech and more complex applications.  For example:

  • VinGroup announced plans to launch an “Institute of Big Data”, with $40M committed to support development of AI capabilities in Hanoi
  • The governments of Ho Chi Minh City and Yamanashi Prefecture (Japan) announced cooperation to develop agri-tech, smart city, and other automation research
  • Various folks including (500-backed founder Thuc Vu) have begun the next iteration of their grassroots effort, VietAI, to educate and build a community of world-class AI talent in Vietnam.

Even so, there is still some way to go.  As Vietnam-born technologist Albert Antoine (co-founder ILOG, acq’d by IBM) noted at Vietnam Startup Day 2018, changes in mindset and a focus on applications (rather than raw R&D) might help Vietnamese engineers catch up faster.

500 Startups Vietnam continues to do our part.  In August, our 29th deal was publicly announced, plus the closing of deals #30, #31, and #32.  This month we will be doubling the size of our team to maintain/increase our rapid investment pace and support to our portfolio companies.  And we’re continuing to take meetings with founders, investors, policymakers, and other ecosystem stakeholders.  Catch Binh in Saigon September 12-25, Eddie in Hanoi September 11-13, or both in San Francisco on October 2 for 500’s annual VC industry conference, “PreMoney”!

Yours,
Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

Vietnam in the News

 

  • How Vietnam Fell in Love with John McCain. “We consider him to be the man who started reconciliation and re-establishing diplomatic relations and normalisation between the US and Vietnam”. SCMP. 08/31
  • Can Vietnam Avoid Getting Hurt in the U.S.-China Tariff Crossfire?“Together, the U.S. and China accounted for 35 percent of Vietnam’s exports in 2017. When the trade war broke out, so did the ominous headlines…But soon another sort of reaction began taking place: many foreign companies with stakes in China have started shifting production to Southeast Asia”. NYT. 08/29
  • From Extreme Turmoil to Calm, Vietnam Stocks Attempt a Comeback. Vietnam’s stock market seems to be entering a calmer period after a few months of macroeconomic turbulence stemming from trade war contagion fears and a higher U.S. dollar. Bloomberg. 08/28
  • Vietnam may reach new foreign investment record in 2018. In the first eight months of 2018, foreign investors spent a total of $24.35 billion to “register new and added capital as well as to contribute capital and purchase shares”. Vietnam Investment Review. 09/04
  • Vietnam pushes for development of domestic private sector.Previously dependent on export-oriented manufacturing, Vietnam is now actively developing its domestic private sector as a key driver of growth. Channel NewsAsia. 08/15
  • Inside the ambitious 1,545km high-speed railway project that links Saigon with Hanoi. The project is estimated to cost almost $60 billion and, once completed, can reduce the Saigon-Hanoi trip duration from over 30 hours to just around 8 hours. Saigoneer. 09/04

 

Vietnam Tech in the News

 

  • 7 women VC warriors to watch in Vietnam. The current tech wave in Vietnam is being powered in part by several outstanding women VCs, including 500’s own Hau Ly, Eddie notes.  LinkedIn.  08/22
  • Billionaire’s firm to launch US$44M fund for machine learning, AI in Vietnam. VinGroup’s intention to become a tech-centric corporation is illustrated by its upcoming launch of the Institute of Big Data. The institute aims to train students and scientists in applied science as well as funds research projects. VnExpress. 08/23
  • Vietnamese C2C portal Sendo nets US$51M from SoftBank, SBI, and others. The funds raised will be used to improve Sendo’s current C2C portal and launch its new B2C marketplace, Senmall. Tech in Asia. 08/16
  • Startup Viet Partners announces US$5M fund. Backed by 10 local Vietnamese LPs with networks and experience in various industries in Vietnam, SV Partners hopes to help startups better serve the needs of local businesses. e27. 08/24
  • VC fund VinaCapital Ventures launches in Vietnam. The VC fund, VinaCapital’s second VC fund, will typically write checks ranging from US$2–10M and has invested in two Vietnamese startups. Yahoo! News. 08/30
  • Vietnam’s online travel app Vntrip raises third round from Swiss IHAG Holding. Vietnam’s Expedia clone has plans to increase its resources and grab greater share in the online air ticket sector. DealStreetAsia. 08/20
  • Grab partners with Vietnamese firm for payment service. Grab’s deal with Moca, the Vietnamese mobile payment startup, further solidifies its grip of the regional fintech market. Reuters. 09/11
  • Vietnamese logistics startup LOGIVAN raises US$1.75M to expand services. LOGIVAN, a Hanoi-based logistics startup, offers a platform that connects freights with truckers. e27. 08/29

Upcoming Events

 

PreMoney, 10/02, San Francisco. 
PreMoney is a one-day conference, produced by 500 Startups, about the most disruptive strategies, models, & technologies for the future of venture capital.
Event Page
Vietnam AWS Community Day 2018, 09/17, HCMC. 
A full day event featuring strategic and technical discussions led by expert AWS users and community leaders in Asia Pacific. Event Page
Google Demo Day Asia, 09/20, Shanghai, China.
Google’s first-ever Demo Day in Asia will highlight innovative technology and drive investment. Event Page
Vietnam Frontier Summit, 10/06, Hanoi. 
The summit, supported by Ministry of Science and Technology, will discuss trends and impacts of frontier technologies such as AI, VR/AR, Blockchain, and IoT. Event Page

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