Despite the obstacles caused by COVID-19, Vietnam’s venture capital fund alliance is committing over $815 million to support the country’s startup ecosystem over the next four years.
An agreement to that effect was signed between the Vietnamese government and local and international VC firms at the Vietnam Venture Summit on Tuesday.
Thirty-three investment funds have committed to support startups in the country, including active local and foreign investors such as 500 Startups, VinaCapital Ventures, Access Ventures, BEENEXT, CyberAgent Capital, DO Ventures, FEBE Ventures, Genesia Ventures, Monk’s Hill Ventures, Next100, NexTrans, Viet Capital Ventures, Vietnam Investment Group, ThinkZone, Cocoon Capital, KK Fund, Smilegate Investment, and Jungle Ventures.
Vietnam Venture Summit is an initiative co-hosted by Vietnam’s ministries of investment and technology and science and the Singapore-based Golden Gate Ventures. In 2019, at the first Vietnam Venture Summit, VC investors had committed $425 million to startups between 2019 and 2021.
Vietnam received over $200 million investment from VC investors in 2020, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam at the event on Tuesday.
He emphasised that Vietnam’s startup ecosystem is also witnessing the rise of local startups such as Tiki, and Sendo in the e-commerce sector. The deputy prime minister added that the government in recent years promoted community projects which hope to bring participation of startups and investment funds.
“We have always been, and continue to be, supportive of Vietnam’s tech ecosystem with boots-on-the-ground from early on. We continue to see strong mission-driven founders tackling complex problems despite the challenging environment this year,” Justin Nguyen, partner at Monk’s Hill Ventures, told DealStreetAsia on the sidelines of the event.
“Coupled with more follow-on rounds we’re seeing this year from startups, this only builds our confidence in the resilience, growing maturity, and innovation from founders and startups in Vietnam,” he added.
“We believe that Vietnam will be the next destination for capital flow into Southeast Asia because of not only market potentials and crucial trend rising but also the open ecosystem and highly supportive government. It’s the best time for “farming” and seeing your investments blossom in next few years,” said Le Han Tue Lam, General Manager at NexTrans.
“Genesia Ventures started investing in Vietnam in 2017 and has since poured over $5m in seven startups. We consider Vietnam a great destination, as it is one of fastest-growing countries with a young talented population, along with great support from the government. We would like to be a bridge between Japan and Vietnam…and therefore would like to continue investing and actively supporting Vietnamese startups,” said Yuto Kono, Principal at Genesia Ventures.
Meanwhile, ThinkZone Ventures still invests and accompanies early-stage startups from pre-seed to Series A, with a focus on logistics, transportation, education, fintech, and deeptech such as Emddi, Gimo, and Graphenel, according to Do Bui, Partner at ThinkZone, which is raising $30 million for its venture capital fund.
“By managing many funds at different stages, as well as working closely with co-investors, ThinkZone believes that it will help early startups continue to grow and develop rapidly but sustainably,” he added.
Vietnam’s investment proceeds in the first half of 2020 decreased by 22 per cent year-on-year to $222 million, as travel restrictions and uncertainties disrupted deal-making activities, according to the latest report of Do Ventures.
The number of foreign investors entering Vietnam spiked to a record 109 in 2019. Korean VCs continued to show great interest and accounted for the most, followed by Singaporean and Japanese ones.
In H1 2020, the number of active investors was nearly the same as last year, but only a limited number of new investors entered the Vietnam market as most early-stage deals in 2020 were conducted by local investors or foreign investors with personnel based in Vietnam.
Investments in Southeast Asia’s startups declined for the third straight quarter this year as the impact of COVID-19 on dealmaking and investor sentiment became more apparent.
According to the latest report by DealStreetAsia – Research & Analytics, startups based in the region raised at least $1.8 billion in funding in the third quarter, a drop of 34 per cent quarter-on-quarter and close to 40 per cent year-on-year.