The startup ecosystem in Vietnam is attracting increasing attention from the outside world. Investors are coming in to enrich their portfolios. Experts are coming in to fortify their career as influencers. Companies are coming in to seek partners and exploit the growing digitalized market.
2016 was a year that Vietnam witnessed lots of development in the startup arena. It’s not easy to bundle up all of the occurrings in the year within a post. Here are some top events that either inspired Vietnamese startups or were most talked about.
500 Startups Vietnam
The presence of 500 Startups in Vietnam really fits the country’s early stage startup scene. This development is also significant in the sense that after several years, more foreign VC investors start to set up full-time operation here, other than just IDG, DFJ and Cyberagent Ventures.
Alibaba making way to Vietnam
The Chinese e-commerce giant entered Vietnam through the buyout of Lazada’s ops in Southeast Asia. Alipay was also rumored to stand behind the acquisition of VNPT-Epay and the intention to foray in Vietnam via acquiring Ascend Money.
Before local policy makers agreed to abolish Article 292 in the Penal Code, it had been a step back for the Vietnamese startup space to regulate those providing services on the Internet without prior permission as criminal.
In 2016, three startup award ceremonies took place to honor the selected best companies and founders, including the Ricebowl Startup Awards, VnExpress Award and Vietnam Startup Festival.
'Startup Queen' fighting cancer
32-year-old Truong Thanh Thuy, the Vietnamese women founder of several US-based startups, who was called “Vietnam’s Startup Queen”, shocked us by telling she had lung cancer. The tech influencer has launched her own campaign called Salt Cancer Initiative to support patients like her. Be strong, Thuy Muoi!
The KAfe CEO departure
Dao Chi Anh is no longer the CEO of fusion food chain The KAfe, the one she founded and raised multi-million dollar funding from private equity firms. She resigned from the company only a year after the $5.5 million Cassia Investments financing round, which ruled media front pages for quite a long time.
Startup stock exchange
Vietnamese startups are not enthused by the idea that there will be a stock exchange dedicated for them. The country’s effort to set up such platform might not come into shape any time soon, given the very early stage of the startups.
National startup scheme
2016 was picked by the local government as the “Year of Startup”. It is the year that Vietnam commenced new proposals, including the stock exchange idea, venture capital investment norms and some liberation in doing tech. The country has also started to work with outsiders to build the ecosystem.