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.
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.