Exclusive: Indian social incubator Villgro enters Vietnam

Villgro logo

Indian social enterprise incubator Villgro is planning to enter the Vietnamese startup ecosystem, its first country in Southeast Asia, by seeking for partners in nurturing local impact investment.

The fund is expected to finance a social startup with up to $250,000 once it is established.

In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, Ngoc Huynh, who is working in Villgro’s initiative to replicate the fund’s model in Vietnam, revealed that the India’s oldest social enterprise incubator will appear in the local market through the franchising model.

Therefore, it is looking for Vietnamese entrepreneurs, who are keen on joining the global Villgro Impact Incubators Network (VIIN), to be directors of its Vietnam unit.

The Indian model offers funding from $10,000 to $250,000 for three stages of a social startup development – including pre-product, pre-revenue and pre-scale stages.

It is also targeting four sectors of education, healthcare, agriculture and energy.

According to Ngoc Huynh, Villgro Vietnam aims at funding the startups until a series A round before investment exits, normally a time frame of three years. “By that time, the companies will become attractive enough for venture capitalists. Our main goal is to spur up the awareness of social impacts among Vietnamese enterprises and to prove that social startup can succeed,” she said.

For the pipeline, founders of Villgro Vietnam are expected to be chosen in July so that the fund can disburse by the end of this year. It plans to support some three projects within the first year of operation. Villgro’s replication team in India, headed by founder and CEO Paul Basil, will support the founders in Vietnam to set up the incubator and transfer knowledge on the incubation process.

Growth of Villgro Vietnam will be sustained through a mix of revenue streams, such as grants, exits from investments, fees, etc.

Since 2001, Villgro has supported 103 innovators, secured $14 million in follow-on funding, created 4,000 jobs and touched over 6.8 million lives. Out of the Indian territory, it has reached Kenya. For Vietnam, it says to position Villgro Vietnam brand as a trusted, efficient incubator of social enterprises.

Although the franchise will allow the Vietnam-based unit to operate as an independent fund, Ngoc Huynh revealed that a mutual fund, which will facilitate for social startups in Villgro’s VIIN system, has been on the Indian innovation consortium’s schedule.

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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.