Exclusive: Vietnam to launch a national venture capital fund by year-end

The Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology is exploring the possibility of establishing a national venture capital (VC) fund, to foster the growth of local startups and build a strong ecosystem, DEAL STREET ASIA has learnt.

The ministry has founded a number of supporting organisations, such as the National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED), the National Technology Innovation Fund (NATIF), the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialisation Development  (NATEC) – which hosted the Techfest last month, Vietnam Startup Fund and the Vietnam Silicon Valley project. Ministry officials are of the view that it was now time the country to launch a ‘made in Vietnam’, national scaled VC fund.

Vietnam has not issued any detailed regulations and incentives for the establishment of such funds, the local Institute of Science and Technology Policies and Strategies (NISTPASS) said. The majority of private equity and venture capital funds headquartered in Vietnam are investment firms, such as Mekong Capital, VinaCapital, Dragon Capital etc, which target expanding and listed businesses. In addition, the verticals of investment of these units focus on consumer goods, real estate, retail and entertainment and media.

“There is a lack of local VC funds to support early stage tech startups. Thus, a national VC fund will be a prime solution for mobilising resources, helping them invest in and innovate new ideas,” the NISTPASS added.

It has studied overseas models from the US, Israel and China. Unlike the US, where venture capitalists are mostly private investors, the fund in Vietnam will have a feature of a catalyst to create a boost for startups. Some Chinese and Israeli funds are operated in the same pattern, in which the government plays an active role as the founder and provider of seed financing, in addition to forming a regulatory system.

However, the government will need to collaborate with private funds to minimise the risk of losing investment capital. The national fund can jointly offer seed funding with private units, or invest in startups that have been picked by other VC funds. This is the model that has been followed by Singapore.

The NISTPASS and the ministry will continue to seek expertise from foreign experts and also look at partnership with the private sector. The aim is to lunch the fund by the year-end.

DEALSTREETASIA has also learnt that  eligible startups that this yet to be launched fund plans to support, will be those that have a track record of being established for at least six to 18 months, and have ideas in the fields of the nation’s priorities.

Also read: Hanoi’s Techfest 2015 to promote Vietnam’s startup ecosystem

Vietnam startup scene poised to take off as ecosystem comes together

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

Exclusive: Vietnam needs more serial entrepreneurs: Mekong Capital’s Chris Freund

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

VCs in Vietnam: Scope for domestic development

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.