Hey, Vstartup is back. Happy Rooster Year!
Having attended the Topica Founder Institute’s 5th Anniversary night on February 28, I decided to feature the efforts of my friends at TFI in helping build an ecosystem for Vietnamese startups.
There are cool pictures to see too.
I would say TFI is the pioneer and most effective accelerator in Vietnam throughout the past five years.
A lot of successful startups are rooted from the program, having developed recognized products and services, built nice offices and raised million USD funding rounds.
Okay, so this is me next to one of TFI directors, and beautiful PGs, at its 5th birthday ceremony
TFI has incubated five batches of startups with 60 companies having graduated, some of whom attracted a total of $20 million funding and valued at $100 million combined.
Mobile content startups represent the most attractive TFI portfolio by receiving some $10 million VC funding so far. But my off-record data indicate a higher number.
You might have heard of several TFI startups that have recently made some exposure, including Beeketing (funded by 500 Startups), Kyna (funded by Cyberagent Ventures), Monkey Junior (winning top prizes in international contests) and MimosaTEK (funded by Captii Ventures).
Future investments and development are expected to be announced soon.
TFI founders and directors
As an adopted franchise, TFI is run by Unitus Impact-backed Topica Edtech Group. It has siblings under the roof of Topica Edtech, which are the talent acquisition programs 22 Future CEOs and 18 Founders in Residence.
Topica has offices across Southeast Asia, and the program itself has reached Thailand with the first cohort being completed recently.
Given the ability of Vietnamese startups and the nascent stage of the local ecosystem, Vietnam needs a strong push.
While the startup ecosystems in other countries have been shaped, with proven track record of startups as well as a good connection between stakeholders, things in Vietnam are just a beginning.
But the country is really at it. Over the years, TFI has played a significant role.
The interest of venture capital funds into Vietnam has a root of partnership with TFI, acting as mentors and investors for its startups. Each senior individuals in the program is also actively working as lobbyist to the government, as well as coordinating with large companies, the process that has resulted in a spate of state policies and corporate support to nurture the tech sector and small businesses in Vietnam.
From the government side, a startup support initiative called Scheme 844 was introduced only three months post proposal. Once the terms of the Scheme 884 are put into practice, Vietnamese startups will get significant help in terms of technology development, capital and access to the market.
Less than a decade ago, when Vietnam got its early exposure to tech business, a regional presence was just a dream to local founders. Now, many of them have expanded throughout the region or are even globally operated.