Vietnam’s startup ecosystem could develop strongly over the next five years with venture capital and government assistance, Eddie Thai, general partner of the venture capital firm 500 Startups Vietnam,
said at a Startup Viet Summit held yesterday in HCM City.
|A discussion at Startup Viet Summit on how to raise the value of Vietnamese startups in HCM City. VNS Photo Gia Loc|
The startup ecosystem would grow like “a dense forest” from its “desert” origins in 2013 when venture capital was under US$50 million and the government offered little assistance, Thai said.
At that time, many foreign investors had yet to pay much attention to Vietnamese startups.
“The ecosystem’s sprout” started in 2016 with a boom in the consumption market, attracting foreign investment. Also, the government began to build a 'startup nation'," Thai said.
Venture capital for startups has increased to more than $500 million in the country, according to Thai.
By 2025, Vietnam’s Internet economy could exceed $40 billion, leading to more startups in e-commerce, financial technologies and other fields.
The country could become a hub of innovation for the developing world, Thai said, adding that other fields could also be ripe for startups.
Le Huynh Kim Ngan, founder and CEO of Twenty.vn, who is known as a tech startup community builder since 2010, said that Vietnamese startups should focus on rapid growth, a business market fit, and non-stop innovation to become unicorns - startups with value of more than one billion dollars.
Ngan has worked for 10 years with more than 1,000 startups and conducted research on many startups in Southeast Asia.
Unicorn startups often have a good founder who has a flexible mindset and is ready to change and adapt for investors, according to Ngan.
Timing is very important for startups, who should know when their product and business should be introduced in the market.
They also should take part in startup events in the region and the rest of the world to learn about markets.
Most startups in Vietnam have two or three co-founders. Ngan said that the chief technology officer would be as important as the CEO.
Ngo Hoang Gia Khanh, vice president of corporate development at e-commerce platform Tiki, said that startups should have good products and services, and pay attention to hiring talented staff.
Nguyen Thanh Nam, chairman of Endeavor Vietnam, which is part of Endeavor Global’s network that mentors high-impact entrepreneurs, said that startups must develop their human resources and manage them effectively.
Nam said that he did not need to go abroad to learn about human resource management. Instead, he went to Bat Trang Ceramics Village near Hanoi, which has thousands of workers, to learn about good management at low costs. VNS
Most Vietnamese startups find it difficult to call for investment, especially foreign investment.
The startup ecosystem has been developing very strongly over the last 15 years, but no other unicorn startup has appeared, except VNG, which was valued at $1 billion in 2014.