S Korean investor STIC beefs up venture deals in Vietnam, backs Coolmate

Nguyen Hue, Vietnam. Photo: Peter Nguyen/unsplash

South Korea-based investment firm STIC Investments, which has a strong presence in Vietnam’s private equity space, is scouting for more venture deals to tap into the country’s fast-growing startup ecosystem.

Striking its second venture deal in the country this year, STIC Ventures has invested $500,000 in the pre-Series A round for Coolmate, a Vietnamese menswear brand that sells through its own e-commerce store.

The startup will use the proceeds for research, product expansion, investments in technology to upgrade sales/operations & order processing systems and set up new business segments, according to Coolmate founder and CEO Pham Chi Nhu. 

Incorporated in Hanoi in 2019, the company claims to have clocked revenue of VND39 billion ($1.7 million) in 2020, at a growth rate of 15-20% per month. Coolmate has previously raised funding from 500 Startups Vietnam.

The Coolmate deal closely follows STIC Ventures’s $2-million investment in Vietnamese logistics startup in EcoTruck last month.

“Since we have closed a new venture fund recently, we are boosting more venture capital investments in Vietnam with cheque size in a range of $500,000 to $2 million,” a representative of STIC Ventures told DealStreetAsia in an interaction.

STIC Ventures is sourcing startups in Vietnam that showcase growth potential, competent leadership, and sustainable competitive advantages. It has four companies in its Vietnam portfolio including Tiki, Go2Joy, Ecotruck and the latest addition, Coolmate.

Earlier, the investment firm had led a $2.5-million Series A funding round in Go2Joy Vietnam (formerly Appro Mobile), which operates the hotel booking app Go2Joy. Wonik Investment Partners, Wadiz Platform and existing investor KB Investment also participated in this round.

STIC Ventures is also in the cap table of Vietnam’s homegrown e-commerce company Tiki. Last month, DealStreetAsia first reported that Tiki is raising $150-200 million in its latest funding round that is said to close in the next few months.

STIC Ventures, which manages total assets up to $1.38 billion, has invested in 450+ companies in Asia. STIC’s private equity investments in Vietnam include Masan Group, pharma company Nanogen, Viet Uc Seafood JSC and Taseco Air Services.

S Korean VCs continue to show interest in Vietnam followed by overseas investors from Singapore and Japan. The Do Ventures Vietnam Tech report estimates the number of foreign investors entering Vietnam at a record 109 in 2019.

As reported by DealStreetAsia recently, South Korean venture capital firm Nextrans, which invests in early-stage startups, is planning to bet more money on Vietnam’s later-stage firms.

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.