Vietnam has been well placed for its tech talents, even before startup activities were shaped.
The country is seen 15 years ahead developed nations like US, Australia and UK in science and math, according to the OECD.
A lot of international investors and companies, including both startups and large conglomerates, are heading to Vietnam not only for the advantages of the economic expenditures and increasing middle class, but also for the tech people.
TEKY STEAM* Academy, initiated by NextTech – which is previously known as Peacesoft Corp, has emerged as a kickstarter to nurture programming skills in K-12 students.
Although TEKY was launched just recently, the idea had been incepted as early as 2014 when it founders started to do researches on the demand for learning computer programming in the country.
“We operated trial coding classes for kids from 6 and we realized that computer science is not only the globally trendy subject but also a necessary skill for the next generation of Vietnamese,” TEKY responded in an email interview.
Given the tech talent popularity as well as the increasing quality of education in the country, the company believes supplemented training in computering will drive the economy in the digital age.
“Our mission is to provide professional environment for digital literacy and computational thinking skills development, in order to have better preparation to shape their future career path,” the company said.
With an original start within Vietnam, TEKY seeks to inspire kids across ASEAN countries to apply innovations into real life.
“STEM education, as part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, has seen heavy investment from the US and European countries and even more advanced economies in Asia. This is a really potential industry,” it said.
TEKY estimates the market for IT training at some $500 million in Vietnam, with approximately 21 million K-12 students, 40 per cent of whom are from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
However, the actually demand for IT education remained low, the company said, adding that its initial effort was to focus on changing how people perceive about studying programming.
Originally starting up as an e-commerce player, NextTech has developed itself into a platform comprising of marketplaces, payment methods as well as logistics.
With the launch of TEKY, it is really pushing the target of creating the “next generation of technopreneurs”. But building an education business means facing tremendous requirements in terms of budget, human resources and the diversity in curated yet preference-fitted content.
Meanwhile, several competitors have also been present to tailor market demand and capture future opportunities, such as DTT (STEM Academy), Bee Code, Maker Hanoi and STEM Edu Center.
TEKY is planning to go big, with ambition to close a series A investment and deploy five training facilities across Vietnam by the end of 2017.
The roadmap for another year later includes a Serie B round and bringing TEKY STEAM Academy to the ASEAN region and going online.
TEKY has been selected as the only Vietnamese representative in the top 10 best projects applying for the Australia-ASEAN Emerging Leaders Program, after five TEKY junior coders, all under 10 years old, won medals from regional competition WeCode 2016.