); ga('send', 'pageview');

500 Vietnam happy hour at Anan Saigon. Photo: VTC10

Chào mọi người,

Saigon’s rainy season has just begun, which for this writer triggers an annual contemplation on the complexities of the city and the broader nation. At the boundaries of breathless coverage of Vietnam’s economic rise on one hand, celebrations & lamentations of conflicts past on another, and nostalgic reminiscences of a pastoral world slipping away on another still, live stories that challenge neatly-drawn narratives and dogmatic axioms. Take a few headlines from April:

  • As Vietnam polices speech, an ex-cop thrives on the art scene (WSJ)
  • Vietnam’s top telecom [military-backed Viettel] to adopt self-developed 5G tech (Nikkei)
  • After China bans plastic imports, Southeast Asia to become the world’s largest recycling plant (Saigoneer)

This writer asserts no particular truth, only hopes that the reader will intermittently look at this landscape and its people with fresh eyes.

That meditation aside, let’s get down to business:

In April, we closed investments #41 (a fintech / enterprise SaaS company) and #42 (an edtech company). Among current portfolio companies, we had another close a Series B, this one a not-yet-announced $20M round. Meanwhile, influencer marketing platform Hiip announced the acquisition of Jakarta-based BP Network to accelerate its regional expansion. Our very own rising influencer Hau Ly was featured in a tightly-edited segment on VTV1 (Vietnam’s most-watched nationwide news channel). Binh completed a whirlwind itinerary on his latest regular visit to Vietnam.

 

Hẹn bạn tháng sau,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

 

500 Startups Vietnam in the News

 

Hiip acquires Jakarta-based BP Network to accelerate its regional expansion. Shintaries Nijerinda, Co-founder and CEO of BP Network, said: “BP Network will rebrand to Hiip Indonesia and become part of this highly successful regional company. This will give our customers and influencers access to Hiip’s proprietary AI technology and international cross-market opportunities.” E27 4/25

500VN portfolio company ELSA featured in leading Japanese business newspaper Nikkei Asian Review. Vu Van thinks ELSA can improve the lives of nonnative English speakers: “We believe that when they speak good English…there’s just a lot more opportunity open to them.” The app’s proprietary voice recognition and AI is “incredibly effective” and “makes their technology difficult to duplicate”, said 500VN’s Binh Tran. Nikkei Asian Review. 4/13

500VN manager Hau Ly featured on national television. “Venture capital is not a male arena.” VTV 4/18

 

Other Vietnam Tech News

 

How Vietnam is embracing the cashless revolution. According to PwC’s Global Consumer Insights Survey 2019, the number of people making mobile payments in stores is growing the fastest in Vietnam, increasing by 24% to reach 61% in a single year. China leads the pack with 86% of its population tapping mobile payments, followed by Thailand at 67%. Entrepreneur. 4/19

Go-Jek brings in Misfit co-founder and ex-Facebook head Christy Trang Le to lead Vietnam business. Bringing in a new leader — and one with the background of Le — looks like a coup, although her role building out Go-Viet’s on-demand business will be quite different from that of anchoring Facebook or running Misfit/Fossil. TechCrunch. 4/22

Shark Tank Vietnam’s co-star talks recent investments and the country’s startup ecosystem. “Many people think of Vietnam as a place to get low-cost production or software development. Vietnam has 100M people with strong consumerism habits, high literacy rate, who are curious and open to change,” said Linh Thai. Forbes. 4/20

Sequoia reveals first cohort for its ‘Surge’ accelerator program in India and Southeast Asia. Two startups from Vietnam are Telio, a B2B commerce platform that aims to digitize the process of brands and wholesalers selling to retailers; and Uiza, a startup that lets publishers and companies develop their own video infrastructure independent of platforms like YouTube. TechCrunch. 4/19

Shopee starts charging commissions in Vietnam. Shopee’s decision to implement this policy in Vietnam, where it is the most popular e-commerce platform, is the next step in a strategy that first focused on gaining market share and now aims at building a more sustainable business model. KrAsia. 4/8

Vietnam’s Vingroup takes aim at Samsung and China’s Oppo. Vietnam’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong, is stepping up his efforts to grab a share of the domestic smartphone market from foreign rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung. Financial Times. 4/28

How Vietnam’s ride-hailing apps are challenging Grab’s local monopoly. Besides Go-Jek, Vietnamese startups including VATO, Aber, FastGo, Be are countering Grab’s stranglehold on the Vietnam market. ASEAN Today. 4/22

IoT Innovation Hub by Ericsson and Vietnam’s Minister of Science and Technology opens in Hanoi. The hub is the first of its kind in Vietnam and is located in Hoa Lac Hi-tech Park. Vietnam News. 4/11

Vietnam’s blockchain startup Utop raises $3M from SBI Holdings, FPT. Utop partners with small businesses to link their reward programs with each other to reduce costs and keep data secure. DealStreetAsia. 4/23

 

Events

 

Nordic Mingle Event, HCMC, 5/8

Meet Eddie and other esteemed panelists at the event hosted by the Nordic Innovation House, in celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Vietnam. RSVP

2nd Open Innovation Vietnam 2019, HCMC, 5/21

Focusing on innovation in Southeast Asia, the panel includes speakers from VNG, HSBC, and Shinhan to name a few. Event

Women’s Summit 2019 by Forbes Vietnam, HCMC, 5/23

With keynote speeches and panel discussions by women leaders in different fields, the event concludes with a ceremony honoring Forbes’ 50 Vietnamese Most Influential Women 2019. Ticket

Echelon Asia Summit 2019, Singapore, 5/23-24

Eddie will be speaking at e27’s 2-day event with 15,000+ attendees, 100+ exhibiting startups, and three stages on Founders, Future, and Capital. Event

RISE.AI Roadshow, HCMC, 5/31

Networking event by RISE.AI, a corporate AI accelerator program that will bring 30 AI startups from all over the world to Southeast Asia. Event

Thành phố San Francisco
Tầng 6, 814 Mission,
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2019 500 Startups