Southeast Asia’s super app Grab has launched Grab Ventures Ignite in Vietnam, an accelerator programme for early-stage startups as part of the ‘Grab for Good’ development roadmap in the country.
Vietnam is the first country where Grab introduced Grab Ventures Ignite (GVI), even as the Singapore-headquartered firm kicked off its regional post-seed startup programme Grab Ventures Velocity in 2018, which has supported 15 startups across two batches.
“Grab Ventures Ignite will nurture and support promising Vietnamese startups in their journey to become national champions in Vietnam’s tech startup ecosystem, in line with the government’s national strategy to create 10 technology unicorns by 2030,” Grab said in a statement.
The six-month accelerator programme has signed a strategic partnership with Vietnam’s National Innovation Center, an entity under the local investment ministry, to jointly execute the initiative.
GVI has also collaborated with Gobi Partners, Vietnam-based Toong Coworking Space, law firm YKVN and Amazon Web Services to provide support to startups.
In addition, participating startups will also benefit from a curated immersion programme hosted in Singapore by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority and cross-border sharing with Singapore-based startups.
Programme winners will be offered investments and in-kind benefits, Grab said.
“The startup ecosystem in Vietnam is growing incredibly fast, and tech clusters are also expanding geographically. We are proud to be part of this growth story and actively contributing to it, whether that’s through our R&D centre in Ho Chi Minh City, investing in partnerships with local startups like Moca, or enabling millions of people in Vietnam to have greater access to digital services,” said Nguyen Thai Hai Van, the newly appointed managing director of Grab Vietnam.
“Vietnam’s startup ecosystem is very well poised for digital disruption by startups, with investments increasing sharply over the last year, we believe that we are in a strong position to propel it to the next chapters through Grab Ventures Ignite,” added Chris Yeo, head of Grab Ventures.
GVI will select up to five winners out of the programme, each of whom will have a chance of securing an up to $150,000 investment.
“Our firm has already invested in Vietnam and we see the country’s value and potential: their technical talent is strong and supporting their startup scene fits our investment thesis of investing in emerging markets,” said Dan Chong, managing director of Gobi Partners.
All startups in the first cohort of GVI will be entitled to the opportunity to raise more funding from external investors during the programme’s Demo Day.
The application process is open until 10 April, 2020. GVI said it will evaluate startups based on a range of criteria such as core team strength, sector attractiveness, value proposition, business model and possible synergies with Grab’s ecosystem, among others.
While the target sectors are not limited, GVI encourages startups focusing on mobility, food, payments, financial services, logistics, e-commerce or artificial intelligence.
In August 2019, Grab announced its $500-million commitment to Vietnam over the course of five years, after it had invested about $200 million in the country since its foray in 2014.
The new investment commitment was said to tap opportunities in fintech, new mobility solutions and logistics in Vietnam.
The regional decacorn has won the Vietnamese ride-sharing market with a 73 per cent market share in terms of completed trips in 2019, according to research firm ABI.
Grab said its local payment partner, Moca, saw the total payments volume on the Grab app grow 131 per cent in 2019, with monthly active users growing more than 121 per cent. GrabExpress enjoyed a growth of 97 per cent, while GrabFood’s delivery orders jumped nearly 1,800 per cent.
In October 2019, Grab also launched two GrabKitchens in Ho Chi Minh City.