Vietnam-based POPS bags $30m led by Mirae-Naver fund, EastBridge

Vietnamese digital media firm POPS has secured a $30-million funding round led by Mirae Asset – Naver Asia Growth Fund and Seoul-headquartered private equity firm EastBridge Partners.

The investors will have a significant minority stake in POPS, the latter said in an announcement.

This is the second disclosed funding by the $1-billion joint fund between Mirae Asset and Naver in Vietnam, following its investment in Ho Chi Minh City-headquartered VinaCapital Ventures.

A mid-market pan-Asia private equity firm, EastBridge Partners has offices in Seoul, Singapore and Ho Chi Minh City. Its local representative in Vietnam is Tran Huu Nam, former STIC Investments representative in the country.

Established in 2008, POPS has been providing online entertainment and kid content through multiple digital platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon. The company is launching its POPS App which will deliver its original series, shows, events, movies and others.

“The investment will be used to scale our direct to consumer strategy through our POPS OTT application across the region as well as enter into new markets,” said Esther Nguyen, CEO and founder of POPS.

POPS has already been present in the Thai market. It plans to foray into the Philippines next year and Indonesia later, the company revealed to DealStreetAsia.

POPS said it will also feature more shows and premium stories from global studios.

In 2017, the company raised an undisclosed sum from Turner Asia Pacific, the Asian branch of Time Warner.

Ji-Kwang Chung, managing director of Mirae Asset Capital, said: “We believe in the sustainable competitiveness of POPS after their great success over the last 10 years on digital entertainment in Vietnam and Thailand. We share their belief that POPS’ opportunities in the region are enormous.”

Apart from VinaCapital Ventures and POPS, Mirae Asset and Naver have separately closed a lot of investments in Vietnam. They have also been active in other Southeast Asian markets, with investments in Grab, Indonesian e-commerce startup Bukalapak, budget hotel operator RedDoorz, HappyFresh and BigBasket.