South Korea’s Lotte Accelerator commits to invest at least $1 million in Vietnamese startups through an alliance with Vietnam Silicon Valley Accelerator (VSVA).
The alliance launched an early stage venture capital fund on Thursday as they signed a strategic cooperation to catalyze investment into Vietnamese tech companies.
“Vietnam is one of the fastest yet stably growing economies in the world, where Lotte Group has established a strong footprint in various sectors, from real estate, retail, distribution, to commerce and IT. It is a big market and startups are potential. That is why we want to invest,” said Jin Sung Rhee, CEO of Lotte Accelerator.
Lotte entered Vietnam in 1998 and has since then expanded in the country with 12 subsidiaries. It started to explore the opportunities in this Southeast Asian nation’s startup space in 2016 with the “Lotte Accelerator Awards”.
Founded in 2015, the South Korean chaebol launched its $85 million Lotte Accelerator Fund I. It invests 20 million to 50 million Korean won ($17,700-44,200) in each startup.
“The foray into venture capital will transform the group towards innovation. Meanwhile, we have a strong commerce infrastructure to facilitate startups in enhancing the products, and making them the products that we will use,” Rhee said.
Lotte Accelerator pledges to help Vietnamese startups commercialise and expand, by leveraging the network in both Vietnam and South Korea. Rhee said the accelerator will multiply the model in other countries that Lotte is present, to synergize its non-financial support for young tech firms.
“In Vietnam, VSVA with the local expertise will help us screen qualified startups,” he added.
The Vietnam Silicon Valley project was introduced in 2013 as part of the Vietnamese government’s push to promote the country’s tech sector. It has incubated 50 companies, several of which attracted next rounds of funding from regional venture capital firms.