Exclusive: 500 Startups looking to make 17 new investments in Vietnam

Visual from 500 Startups' website

US-based seed fund and startup accelerator 500 Startups, which has invested in four companies in Vietnam so far, wants to add 17 more companies from the country to its portfolio, said Khailee Ng, the venture capital fund’s managing partner who takes care of the Southeast Asian region.

Vietnam is early (stage) in its startup ecosystem but growing very fast, said Ng. “This year or next year will be the renaissance age for Vietnam. That is why I want to make about 15-17 investments more,” he said.

Ng said that he has already met a number of mentors, serial entrepreneurs and authorities in Vietnam, who better understand the Vietnamese market and can refer investees.

According to him, although many regional investors are looking at Vietnam, its the Vietnamese entrepreneurs who have to proactively reach out to them.

The four Vietnamese startups, in which the fund in invested, include social app Tappy, which was acquired by the Silicon Valley cloud-based social games platform Weeby.co; healthcare app for mothers and babies Babyme, which also attracted investment from Silicon Straits Saigon; online ticket platform Ticketbox; and lifestyle and event media Pose.com.vn.

500 Startups has recently planned to team up with FPT Corporation to launch  FPT Ventures. The announcement about this was made by FPT chairman Truong Gia Binh.

FPT Ventures was kicked off last month, with an initial capital of $3 million, targeting seed and series A investments in Vietnamese startups. “We want not only 500 Startups but other venture capitalists to assist tech startups. So, for the rest $2 million (FPT Ventures has already raised $1 million), whoever invest one dollar, we will invest another one,” Binh had told DEALSTREETASIA.

FTP Ventures will target early stage startups with valuations below $1 million, and support them in terms of revenue growth, and also offer funding to the tune of $50,000.

Meanwhile, Ng said Southeast Asia posed a “SEA” of opportunities, and the $10 million fund dedicated to the SEA market was set up in 2013, called the “500 Durians”.

The fund has invested in more than 50 startups across the region. It has also beefed up the team to increase SEA focus, by hiring angel investor and former INSEAD Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Arnaud Bonzom, as director of special projects, Southeast Asia. The fund also got board Vishal Harnal, senior associate with law firm Drew & Napier, to be investment manager.

Also read:  FPT Corp, 500 Startups to set up incubator for startups in Vietnam

Vietnam’s FPT Corporation kicks off accelerator & VC arm with $3m seed fund

Silicon Valley’s Weeby.co snaps up Vietnam’s Tappy for a 7-digit sum

500 Startups beefs up South East Asia team with two new hires in Singapore

Startup Review 2014: Vietnam tech firms find success, expand overseas

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.