Vietnam’s fledging startup ecosystem is worth your closer look. This blog is, and will be, telling you why.
Riding the wave of starting up new tech-based businesses, Vietnam is emerging as a rising star for being a tech hub in the Southeast Asia region.
We have noticed that not many media are covering startup stories in Vietnam with an angle that international audience are searching for. This blog aims to bring you the insights of what is happening around the Vietnamese startup ecosystem, including startup profiles, sovereign management, investment groups and any kind of startup activities.
So these are what have triggered our interest to write about startups and entrepreneurship in Vietnam:
1/ The country was said to be the first in SEA to declare a unicorn, gaming and internet firm VNG Corporation. That was one of the first exposures of Vietnam’s startups to the world.
Founded in 2004 as an online game developer, VNG is still one of the pioneers in ICT trends in the country. It has built a conglomerate of various services, from gaming to e-commerce, media and social apps. In addition, the company is also known locally for its “startup culture” rather than a “corporate culture”.
The unicorn was even crowned before its Singaporean peer Garena.
Even though there has not been any successor in Vietnam after VNG, and there is a limited number of startups that are worth hundred millions of dollars, VNG’s story has relayed an important message to the world.
2/ From a maiden number of three venture Capital (VC) firms – IDG Ventures, Cyberagent Ventures and VinaCapital DFJ, what we are seeing now in the Vietnamese funding landscape is the participation of a larger pool of investors.
500 Startups has already spent some of its $10 million Vietnam-dedicated fund, which was launched in March 2016, while Vietnamese startups have also raised funding from a lot of other regional and global VCs, including Golden Gate Ventures, Gobi Partners, IMJ Venture Partners and Cassia Investment, along with angel investors and homegrown VCs and venture builders that sprang up only a couple of years ago.
Corporate M&A within the startup space is increasing, as investors make exit and companies search for growth through consolidation. In addition to seed stage backers, later stage VCs are also eyeing this market, namely Singapore’s NSI Ventures and Monks’ Hill. The fertile opportunities have made VinaCapital DFJ think of raising capital for a new fund, after the initial fund has been used up, according to a report on Deal Street Asia.
3/ Support from agencies and government
A decade ago, Vietnamese entrepreneurs started their business with a DIY manner, before getting any funded money. Now, there are incubators, accelerators, venture builders and a slew of support agencies.
The government has also recognized the voice of the startup community and is building assistance. Seriously, Vietnam is one of the most supportive governments to startups!
4/ Entrepreneurship in every corner in Vietnam, from households on the street to schools and entrepreneur expats.
If you walk down the street in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, or I would say, in any cities in Vietnam, you can see small shops next to each other. The war has pulled the country back years of development. But that is also what has fueled local people to do business to seek wealth.
The impetus for people here to become entrepreneurs is initially to become rich, as most agree. Gradually, I believe innovation-based enterprises, or startups, will be the next power to drive growth in this country.
FYI: “V” in VStartup stands for “Vietnam” and for “Victory”