Eddie Thai and Binh Tran, who launched Ascend Vietnam Ventures last year, highlight the changing dynamics between venture capital (VC) firms and limited partners (LPs) over the past few years.
“When I first started talking to LPs in 2016, very few knew anything about Vietnam or the possibilities in the tech sector. It was a slow process to even raise our first $5 million,” said Ascend Vietnam Ventures’s General Partner Thai, reminiscing his early days at 500 Startups Vietnam.
“Vietnam is still seen as early compared to Indonesia but it has moved quite quickly in the last several years – quicker than even I imagined. And now, more LPs realize the potential. They have started believing that coming to Vietnam now is better than coming too late.”
Ascend Vietnam Ventures is understood to be in the process of closing its first fund, said industry sources, who had earlier pegged the fund size to be about $50 million.
However, when asked, Thai declined to comment on the development.
Both Thai and Tran have been associated with 500 Startups Vietnam since 2016, having a long track record of working with startups.
“Some LPs may be too late now to enter Indonesia. Indonesia is very competitive, the valuations are unreasonable in many cases. There’s a lot more LP interest in Vietnam now,” said Thai.
Ascend Vietnam Ventures is looking to invest between $500K and $2 million in 25 startups over the next three years. A third of those companies are expected to receive further investment from the VC going forward.
Edited excerpts from an interview with Thai: