Vietnam is the next tech market for a lot of LPs: Eddie Thai, 500 Startups

Eddie Thai (left).

500 Startups Vietnam is actively rolling out its play in Vietnam’s early-stage investment space with its recent announcement of an oversubscribed fundraise and an accelerator programme that will invest $100,000 in each incubated company – being the largest accelerator commitment to date.

The country-focused fund was closed at $14 million, exceeding the original target of $10 million. It has for the first time revealed its investors, which include S Korea’s GS Shop, HUMAX and NCORE, along with individuals and family offices in Asia, Europe and the US.

Sharing his views with DEALSTREETASIA,  Eddie Thai, one of the two partners operating 500 Startups Vietnam, said, limited partners (LPs) today see less risk [investing] in Southeast Asia, after the region has shown that it can produce several unicorns.

He asserted: “The in-region dynamics have shifted; Singapore and Malaysia are more saturated and mature, and Indonesia has perhaps been too hot. It’s natural for LPs to wonder, “Where’s the next place?”

The magnet that Vietnam possesses, according to Thai, is a combination of a strong economy, exciting demographics, low-cost tech talent and a position as a trade war winner amid the US-China tension.

As the Vietnam tech ecosystem is several years behind regional peers, a lot of work will need to be done to focus on enhancing the quality of startups, Thai said.

“We believe in the transformative power of entrepreneurship, so our global mission includes ‘building thriving startup ecosystems.’ It explains why we set up thematic funds in frontier markets like Vietnam, and also why we work on events and programmes around founder education, investor education, policy advisory and corporate startup engagement.”

Edited excerpts:-

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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.