US Embassy to fund seed money for Vietnamese startups

US Ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, and Deputy Secretary Tony Blinken, launch the Entrepreneurship Challenge.

US embassy in Vietnam is planning to organise Entrepreneurship Challenge, which will grant seed money to the winners to hep bring their startup ideas to the market.

This was announced by the US ambassador to Vietnam, Ted Osius, on Thursday

The competition that reflects an increasing international interest in the local startup ecosystem, especially from the US – is expected to bridge the gap in early stage funding for Vietnamese startups

The Thursday event follows the American Innovation Roadshow last month, which brought together US companies with Vietnamese startups to collaborate on how the grow the ecosystem in Vietnam.

Apart from the Entrepreneurship Challenge, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) and other projects and events throughout the year, the US Embassy in Vietnam will host an angel investor study tour to America.

“There is a buzz about Vietnam’s startup community that is reverberating globally, and people outside of the country and the region are starting to take notice. We want to amplify this message, and foster and promote the incredible startup boom in Vietnam,” said Osius.

The problem with the startup ecosystem in Vietnam is that there are medium to large venture capital funds who are willing to pay from $500,000 to $2 million or even more for stake in the startups, while the majority of local startups are in an early stage, opined Han Ngoc Tuan Linh from consultancy firm ATV Vietnam.

“We want to tackle this, how to facilitate the early stage funding for Vietnamese startups,” said Linh, who is manages the Vietnam Silicon Valley project, which has incubated and funded 15 startups since 2014.

The project launched VSV Corner, a co-working space for investors to come and learn about investing in Vietnamese startups.

“As we move on to the future, there will be a lot of problems to be solved, such as exits, but the pain point right now is early stage funding, and we hope to solve it in the short term,” Linh added.

Vietnam has been well known for its low labour cost as an attraction for investment to boost economic growth. However, science and technology innovation has arisen to be the major driver for its growth.

Tony Blinken, the US Deputy Secretary of State, has pledged to bring more investment to the Southeast Asian country, which he sees with “unlimited potential”.

“When I look at this place, I see the presence and the future of Vietnam. But not just Vietnam, the region and the entire world. Because the ideas and innovation, and the products that result from that are going to change the world. It starts by changing Vietnam,” he said.

According to Blinken, US investment into Vietnam is already up to $1.5 billion, and once the Trans Pacific Partnership is finished, the figure is expected to grow tremendously.

Also read:

Exclusive: Need to create Vietnamese version of Silicon Valley: 500 Startups’ Eddie Thai

Vietnam: ASEAN-US innovation centre proposed; $33.3m tech hub granted license

Korean cos keen on Vietnam’s burgeoning startup ecosystem

Google to invest in Vietnam startups

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.