What is the startup market in Vietnam like?
Vietnam has been one of the fastest-growing economies in the Asia region. In the past few years, there has been an influx of new startups that range from AI (Artificial Intelligence) to Fintech, transportation and logistics, manufacturing and e-commerce. This has seen a rising number of venture capital firms riding on the wave of the fast-developing eco-system in Vietnam.
Why are Venture Capital firms so demanded?
As Vietnam is a growing market, there is still a lack of experienced entrepreneurs and startup owners. Venture capital firms are able to provide their expertise and knowledge to these companies with proper support in finance and operations. This is mostly due to the extremely fast-growing and rapidly evolving ecosystem with the large workforce and labor market in the Vietnam economy.
Who are the top Venture Capitalist Firms in Vietnam?
Below are among the most active Venture Capital firms in Vietnam.
500 Startups Vietnam
This is one of the top venture capital firms in the region. In Vietnam, 500 Startups focuses on areas like technology, creatives and marketing and businesses that are already launched and running. Looking at firms with good potential, 500 Startups invests in areas like healthcare, media & entertainment, education technology, e-commerce and fintech, among others. To date, it has more than 75 investments under its management.
Dragon Capital is one of the most established venture capital firms in Vietnam. It started out back in 1994 with 8 people and some USD$16 million of funds and is now worth about USD$3 billion. It is now among the most experienced asset manager that handles international pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, fixed incomes and properties. Among its prominent investments include the Ho Chi Minh City Securities Company.
Established by the VinaCapital Group, this is among the most active venture capitalist firms in the country that works with startups to expand their operations. VinaCapital Ventures or VCV provides access through mentorship and other assistance to grow local startups in various areas of segments.
Mekong Capital is based in Ho Chi Minh City and has been around since 2001. Then, the private equity company emphasized mostly on the manufacturing industry before venturing into more consumer-driven segments after 2005. This venture capital firm is among the earliest in the country to use 4 funds in delivering 32 private equity investments. Among the companies that Mekong Capital invested in include Mutosi Group and Marou Chocolate.
Zone Startups Ventures
Generally, Zone Startups Ventures look for startups that are more established with potential. It provides seed-stage funds for businesses with some proven records and products that have the potential for growth in the tech sectors. This is provided for businesses in any sector as long as they can provide the relevant promise.
DFJ VinaCapital is one of the earliest and most established venture capital firms in Vietnam. It is a collaboration between VinaCapital and the Draper Fisher Jurvetson firms. Through this venture capital, firms that are targeting the Vietnam market and use the local workforce for goods and services are able to find funding and assistance to help them get off the ground. Among the investments that DFJ VinaCapital has been involved in include Chicilon, directwithhotels.com, GapIT and Yeah1.
FPT Ventures is a venture capital firm that is part of the larger FPT Group in Vietnam. It provides various types of assistance to startups in Vietnam like funding and investments, marketing and PR, technical support and other areas. Over the years, FPT Ventures have assisted companies in many business areas including new technology platforms like Big Data, Programmatic advertising, wireless solutions and even a next-generation threat detection system. Besides that, the firm also invested in data science, artificial intelligence and mobile applications.
Seedcom is a venture capital firm that focuses on the Vietnam market with a strong emphasis and presence in the tech industry. This includes the various facets of the market like e-commerce, fashion technology, the digital consumer market and others. Established in 2014, Seedcom has already invested and helped many businesses to succeed including the likes of Juno, Haravan, Eway and KiotViet, to name a few.
Kusto Vietnam provides funding and capital to potential businesses since its establishment in 2005. Over the years, Kusto Vietnam has helped more than 10 companies to succeed with revenues that grow about 30% annually. Based with a headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City, Kusto Vietnam focuses on businesses in highly profitable segments like consumer-driven sectors, construction and building materials, real estate, transportation and logistics and retail, among others. Besides Vietnam, Kusto also has a presence in other parts of the world including Thailand, Russia, Turkey, Canada and Georgia.
Ascent Vietnam is one of the latest additions to the ever vibrant and growing venture capital sector in Vietnam. The firm was started by 2 partners from another established Venture capital firm, 500 Startups, Binh Tran and Eddie Thai. Launched in early 2021, they are planning to invest in 25 companies in the coming 3 years with a value between USD$500,000 to USD$2 million. One-third of these companies will each also be provided with further investments of up to USD$4 million.