Capria Ventures looks to make its first commitment in “next big market” Vietnam in 2021

Capria's Dave Richards at DealStreetAsia's at Asia PE-VC Summit 2019. Photo: DealStreetAsia

US-based fund-of-funds Capria Ventures is looking to close its first commitment in Vietnam this year as the Southeast Asian nation continues to build a venture capital track record.

“We are looking to back at least one fund that is either based in, or investing primarily in, Vietnam. We can see us expanding to more funds in the coming years as Vietnam shows attributes of the next big market,” the firm’s managing partner Dave Richards told DealStreetAsia in an interview.

“If you look back, about four years ago, there was only one early-stage venture firm in Vietnam. Now, there are a number of funds being set up, and you’re also seeing private equity groups recognising that technology is where the leverage and scale are going to come from,” he said.

Expand Table

VC funds in Vietnam

Fund Launch Fund sizePortfolio
VSV Capital (an accelerator)2014$7MLoship, LOOP Smart POS, Base.vn, Vibeji, others
500 Startups Vietnam2015$14MBase.vn, Bizzi, CricketOne, Hiip, Intrepid, others
VIC Partners2016N/ACallio, TopCV, Designbold, VLeisure, Cohost.ai, others
ESP Capital2017$20MMindX, Cooky, Luxstay, Canavi, Ecomobi, Homedy
VinaCapital Ventures2018$100MHomebase, Rever, Wee Digital, Gostream, UrBox, Logivan, Ecomobi, others
VietCapital Ventures2018N/AEcotruck, Everest Education, Gene Solutions
Velocity Ventures Vietnam2018N/AKamero, UpGen
ThinkZone Ventures2019$30MEMDDI, FoodHub, HourseCare, Graphene Life, iSalon, Airiot, others
FEBE Ventures2019$25MZenyum, Propzy, Nano, Janio, Vara, Locad, Clevai, Alami
Next1002019$10MAlepay, Tienngay.vn, Botbanhang, Pushsale, cnvloyalty, Boxme, HeyU, TopCV, Schola
Viet Valley Ventures2019N/AJobsGo, WindSoft, Ecom Easy
Do Ventures2020$50MPalexy, F99
Touchstone Partners2021N/AN/A

Unlike Indonesia, which is Southeast Asia’s largest consumer market, Vietnam is more culturally integrated, which makes it easier to treat the country’s 95 million people as a single market, opined Richards.

Other factors that will help drive the Vietnam tech ecosystem include an anticipated faster economic recovery post COVID-19, favourable policies for the tech sector, and good tech talent.

“We’ve seen these cycles and some of the factors that have led to more development of the startup ecosystem in other markets like Brazil, Indonesia, India, and Mexico,” Richards added.

In terms of the addressable market, Vietnam also provides expansion opportunities as Indonesian startups expand into Vietnam and Vietnamese startups expand regionally, according to the fund’s managing partner.

Eye on Asia

Outside of Vietnam, Capria Ventures’ $100 million Capria Emerging Manager Fund continues to look at opportunities in Asia’s emerging markets such as Bangladesh, Nepal, and Cambodia. Richards said the firm’s investment into Myanmar “is going to be on pause” due to the recent coup and subsequent protests in the country.

Richards observes that European development finance institutions, in addition to the International Finance Corporation, are increasingly evincing interest in venture capital in these markets. However, competition among limited partners (LPs) in searching for assets is not too harsh yet.

“It’s still a buyer’s market. There are few venture funds that are oversubscribed in the region that I know of, meaning that the limited partners (LPs) have the upper hand choosing which funds they back,” he said.

Richards said he would look at funds with an investment theme in sectors such as fintech, edtech, agriculture, health tech, logistics, government tech, and job-tech.

Capria Ventures is deploying capital through its current Capria Emerging Manager Fund, having sealed partnerships with 20 fund managers.

Capria Emerging Manager Fund was launched in 2016 and secured a $40 million first close in 2018. LPs in the fund include Vulcan Capital, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), Omidyar Network, OIP Investment Trust and other US-based family offices and foundations.

Prior to this $100 million vehicle, Capria Ventures had raised $5.2 million for its Capria Accelerator Fund, which invested seed capital into general partners, and backed companies via a warehousing facility with equity or equity-linked investments.

Capria Emerging Manager Fund’s portfolio includes Singapore-based venture debt firm Genesis Alternative Ventures and India’s Arkam Ventures, and Unitus Ventures.

Richards revealed that the fund could be fully-deployed this year, and Capria will be raising more capital in 2022.

Capria’s network of investing partners collectively manage more than $400 million in assets deployed in early-stage and early-growth companies in Latin America, Africa and Asia. “We have now set up 20 different partnerships with fund managers so we’ve built a strong pipeline of capacity to deploy capital into both funds and co-investments,” he said.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.