It’s now official. 500 Startups has announced the setting up of its latest regional micro fund, 500 Startups Vietnam, with a corpus of $10 million, and is targeting investments across across 100-150 Vietnam-connected startups.
500 Startups’ dedicated $10-million Vietnam fund development was exclusively reported by DEALSTREETASIA in November last year.
The Vietnam fund is the latest addition from 500 Startups’ stables which recently launched a $25-million ‘Kulfi fund’ to invest in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. The US accelerator and investment fund already has 500 Durians for Southeast Asia and 500 TukTuks for Thailand.
500 Startups Vietnam will sign cheques from $100,000 to as high as $250,000 from the new fund. Eddie Thai and Binh Tran, who joined the VC last year as investment partners, will lead the $10 million vehicle.
Apart from funding, portfolio companies will have access to 500 Startups’ international network of 3,000 mentors and founders, $1.5 million of credits with partners like Amazon and Facebook, and other support to help them scale their business, it said, in a statement.
Vietnam-connected companies, who are already part of its portfolio, include Ipsy (the beauty startup co-founded by Michelle Phan that closed a $100 million Series B last year), Lightbox (social photography app acquired by Facebook) and DataRank (social intelligence platform acquired by Simply Measured).
There are also startups that leverage low-cost, high-tech talent in Vietnam: ELSA (language pronunciation training mobile app), Ticketbox (leading event ticketing platform in Vietnam) and Tappy (hyperlocal social networking app, acquired by Weeby.co).
“We believe there are many interesting near-term investment opportunities in B-to-B and enterprise SaaS, fintech, and e-commerce, but ultimately we are “vertical agnostic, returns religious,” 500 Startups said in its announcement.
“Vietnam is a vibrant and growing country, with many talented entrepreneurs and engineers. 500 Startups plans to work together with Vietnamese investors and the local tech community to build a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem. Eddie and Binh are experienced operators who combine Silicon Valley know-how with Vietnamese hustle, and they are going to invest aggressively in the best and brightest founders all over the country,” commented the fund’s founding partner Dave McClure.
However, the country is under-served by seed stage venture capital firms, 500 Startups stated, even as US News has recently granted it the third spot in “Best Countries to Invest In” list.