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

Champagne being poured. Pixabay.

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.

Also read:

Cocoon Capital, 500 Startups lead funding in Vietnamese platform Hiip

Vietnam: Accelerator VIISA launches second cohort, pushes to build global teams

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.