Cocoon Capital, 500 Startups lead funding in Vietnamese platform Hiip

Cocoon Capital, a $7 million Singapore-based venture capital fund, and 500 Startups have led an undisclosed seed funding round in  Vietnamese influencer platform Hiip.

Hiip’s early backer, in its pre-seed round, Expara Ventures, also participated in the investment.

This deal marks Cocoon Capital’s maiden funding activity in Vietnam.

“Although we rarely invest at this early stage, we were greatly impressed by Hiip’s team and passion for the business and made an exception to join the round,” said Will Klippgen, partner at Cocoon Capital.

Hiip claims itself as Vietnam’s first automated influencer platform, having helped brands like Shiseido, Xiaomi, and Juno – a local fashion accessories company – connect with social influencers.

 The startup’s revenue doubled twice in the last eight months, it said.

“Vietnamese consumers closely follow the tastes of influencers. Yet many advertisers have used these influencers bluntly: charge companies exorbitant commissions to connect with the influencers who have the largest following, matching-be-damned. Hiip represents the next generation of influencer marketing: data-driven connections to tell stories,” noted Eddie Thai, the Vietnamese partner for Silicon Valley-based early stage investor 500 Startups.

Phi Nguyen, co-founder and CEO of Hiip, said the investment will facilitate Hiip in upgrading its product and expansion in the region. In addition, the company has made a key hire of Ha Nguyen, former executive director of PE-backed baby and mom retailer Concung, as COO.

Last year, Hiip graduated from the CLAS Expara Startup Accelerator and bagged pre-seed funding from Expara, a partner of the accelerator, and angel investors.

Cocoon Capital is a pre-Series A fund targeting S$350,000 to S$1 million investments in Southeast Asia companies in Saas, fintech, ecommerce and disruptive tech. It was introduced in December 2016.

US venture capital firm 500 Startups launched its $10 million Vietnam fund in March 2016 and has made 17 investments so far by adding Hiip to the portfolio, according to the fund’s website.

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Vietnamese influencer platform Hiip raises funding from Expara, others

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