Microsoft, Singapore VC Expara, CLAS launch startup accelerator in Vietnam

Vu Minh Tri, general director of Microsoft Vietnam. Visual from the company's website.

Vietnamese startups stand a chance to mop up funding of up to $500,000 from Microsoft Vietnam, Singapore-based venture capital firm Expara and Ho Chi Minh City-based Customer Loyalty and Acquisition Services (CLAS), as the three launched their CLAS Expara Startup Accelerator programmed earlier this week.

The programme is receiving applications until November 20 this year and will grant sponsorship to eight startup teams.

Joining the 120-day initiative, startups will enjoy free services of using Microsoft technologies through the giant’s Bizspark and Bizspark Plus packages, which amounts to $147,000 within three years. Through these packages, Microsoft Vietnam has been supporting over 100 local startups with free access to coding tools and other technical products.

In addition, Microsoft Vietnam will co-sell with startups, whose solutions meet the needs of its customers.

CLAS and Expara will facilitate the selected startups with consulting services, fundraising, and hands-on expertise in realising ideas into businesses. CLAS itself was founded from the SHTP Microsoft Vietnam Innovation Centre, aiming to make the most use of the state-of-the-art internet and mobile technology to serve businesses’ marketing requirements.

Under the initiative, Expara Ventures III Fund, which is designated to target seed to series A investments in scalable companies in Southeast Asia, will invest $10,000 in promising startups after a mid-point review and as much as $500,000 in successful graduates after the programme’s Demo Day.

Vu Minh Tri, general director of Microsoft Vietnam, reportedly said during the launching ceremony: “Vietnam is an important emerging market for Microsoft in Southeast Asia with great growth potential with its large, young, proactive, talented population. We believe that Vietnamese enterprises have many creative ideas, and the things they need are capital, market and specialised knowledge. Therefore, we are striving to empower Vietnamese startups to transform the future and continue contributing to the national economic growth through this programme”.

For Douglas Abrams, Expara CEO, Vietnam is one of the most exciting startup and venture capital markets in South East Asia that the firm is looking at. “Microsoft and CLAS are absolutely the best partners we could have to launch our first accelerator in Vietnam.  We are looking forward to helping Vietnamese startups to scale and to contributing to the growth of the enterprise ecosystem in Vietnam,” he said.

Also read:

Impact investor Lotus Fund teams up with Vietnam’s Da Nang University to launch innovation hub

Policy support, angel networks & replication of global models key enablers for Vietnam startups

Hanoi to bankroll ‘incorporated-in-Vietnam’ startups to kickstart tech ecosystem

Vietnam’s startup ecosystem attracting fresh VC interest

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.