500 Startups Vietnam, GS Shop launch accelerator programme

Photo courtesy: 500 Startups.

500 Startups Vietnam has launched a new accelerator programme for 2019 with $100,000 investment in each company of the coming three batches of Vietnam-connected startups, according to a release.

The programme is named The Saola Accelerator after the rare Vietnamese deer also known as the “Asian unicorn.”

Under the programme, each participating company will receive access to more than $500,000 worth of free perks and discounts from twenty 500 Startups partners including Amazon Web Services, Google, and Microsoft.

According to the Silicon Valley-based venture fund, the Saola Accelerator is its latest step to back talented entrepreneurs anywhere, help them build companies at scale, and develop thriving startup ecosystems around the world.

“We’ve learned a lot from working with 1,000 companies in more than 40 growth programme batches around the world. We’re excited to bring that experience to Vietnam,” said Marvin Liao, Partner at 500 Startups and head of its flagship accelerator programme in San Francisco.

In addition to capital, the Saola Accelerator will offer enhanced programming including 500’s signature Growth Hell Week plus hands-on support for growth.

The programme will conclude with a Demo Day where companies will share about their products and progress to an invite-only audience of regional venture investors.

The accelerator programme is a partnership with Korean multimedia retailer GS Shop, which is also a limited partner in the 500 Startups Vietnam Fund. The retailer plans to match 500 Startups Vietnam’s investment in select batch companies, bringing the potential investment per company to up to $200,000.

“We believe Vietnam’s existing incubators and accelerators have played an important role in nurturing startups in their earliest stages. Our program is aimed at companies ready to break out and become Asian unicorns – saolas,” Eddie Thai, a lead partner of 500 Startups Vietnam, explained.

500 Startups Vietnam has recently closed its Vietnam fund at $14 million, surpassing the original target of $10 million. The fund, led by Eddie Thai and Binh Tran, was launched in 2016 and has since then invested $3 million in 36 Vietnam-connected tech startups.

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