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‘Golden era’ of Vietnamese start-ups

With the development potential and the ability to catch the technology wave, Vietnamese start-ups have attracted foreign venture capital funds as well as domestic investors.



Wavemaker Partners, a venture fund with headquarters in the US and Singapore, has poured capital into five start-ups, including Foodmap, DatBike, Vigo Retail, MindX and Medici.

Attractive market

In an interview with Bloomberg Asia earlier this year, Mr. Binh Tran, co-founder and representative of Ascend Vietnam Ventures Fund, said the "golden era" of Vietnamese start-ups has arrived.

According to experts, the technology startup ecosystem in Vietnam is only about five years old, but the market has grown strongly as it receives comprehensive support from the Government and human resources from abroad, and is supported by Vietnam’s steady economic growth.

With an accessible technology ecosystem, low cost of living, a safe and stable environment, and a team of talented software engineers with an affordable salary compared to other countries in the region, Vietnam is considered an ideal place for technology companies which are targeting at the emerging Asian market.

Mr. Binh Tran said that some leading foreign investment funds such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z), Goodwater, and Altos are very interested in opportunities in Vietnam.

Great opportunities are in start-ups applying new technologies, such as blockchain games, DeFi (blockchain based - financial applications) and cryptocurrencies. According to a report by Chainalysis, Vietnam tops the list of 154 countries and territories in terms of cryptocurrency adoption rate and ranks second for DeFi.

Rajan Anandan, Managing Director of Sequoia Capital India and Surge, told Investment Newspaper that Vietnam is emerging as an important hub for startups in Southeast Asia.

Many startups play a role of leverage for Vietnam's digital economy, which is expected to reach a value of about US$57 billion by 2025 and rank second in Southeast Asia by 2030 with a scale of about $220 billion.

“We appreciate Vietnam’s potential to become a major innovation center in the region and we look forward to meeting local founders,” said Rajan Anandan.

Meanwhile, Ms. Tran Hoai Phuong, Investment Manager in Vietnam of Wavemaker Partners, a venture capital fund based in the US and Singapore, said that in Southeast Asia, Vietnam is second only to Indonesia in terms attractiveness for venture capital funds with the potential to have "unicorns" (start-ups with a valuation of over $1 billion).

Cooperation between domestic and foreign funds

In Vietnam, Wavemaker Partners has invested into five start-ups, including Foodmap, DatBike, Vigo Retail, MindX and Medici. Hoai Phuong revealed that this year, the fund will invest in three to four startups in Vietnam this year.

At the same time, Sequoia Capital India and Surge have also sought cooperation opportunities in Vietnam, through investing in startups in various fields such as Rino, Trusting Social, Solscan, Galaxy Fight Club, Telio, Infina, Thuocsi, HelloMida, Virtual Internships and Epsilo.

Local experts said that foreign funds have strengths in capital and experience in doing business in the international market, but their resources in the domestic market are limited while this is the advantage of domestic investment funds. Founded by Vietnamese entrepreneurs, domestic funds have a deep understanding of the market, with a large network of partners and resources, so they can provide real support to local startups.

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