Vietnam: Expara Ventures leads $400,000 funding in lifestyle startup WisePass

Singapore-based venture capital firm Expara Ventures has led a $400,000 seed funding round in lifestyle startup WisePass to help it expand to other Southeast Asian countries.

The startup, founded in 2016 by Lam Tran, an ex-Googler, is currently operating in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Vietnam’s two largest cities.

WisePass provides membership that includes a complimentary bottle of wine or spirits, or lunch, or dinner on a daily basis at almost 100 restaurants, 5-star hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs.

Tran said plans were to bring WisePass to Bangkok, Singapore and Hong Kong by early next year.

“We’re connecting with almost 90 per cent of global brands, and we are driving more than 1,000 monthly visits to our partners today,” said Tran.

With the new financing in place for regional expansion, WisePass expects to gain 10,000 monthly visits across 500 venues. The company said it guaranteed a 10X return on marketing costs for brands it was working with, during a typical three to six month campaign engagement.

WisePass had received pre-seed financing from the Vietnam Innovative Startup Accelerator, a partnership of Vietnam’s tech conglomerate FPT Corporation, Dragon Capital and South Korea’s Hanwha Group.

Tran used to be an online sales account strategist at Google, and the head of marketing for e-commerce company Tiki, which received funding from Nasdaq-bound Internet group VNG Corporation.

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