Vietnam’s homegrown fund QueenBee invests in iCheck

Traceability mobile app iCheck has sealed a seed funding from Vietnamese homegrown investment fund QueenBee, a startup-dedicated fund led by a former deputy director of Vietnam’s state-owned telco VNPT.

The details of the investment are undisclosed, but iCheck said the proceeds will substantially increase the spread of its application.

iCheck, launched in August 2015, provides traceability of origin and price information of goods via barcode scanning. About 6 million people are using the app, with an average of 700,000 visits per day.

Its competitor in the local market is TraceVerified, initially a project backed by the Danish government and run by a Vietnamese team.

Hanoi-based QueenBee Inc, established in June 2016, is the latest local investment firm that is mandated to invest in Vietnamese tech startups. The fund chairman, Nguyen Van Hai, said he wanted to support startups that create social values, and iCheck was one of them. With the backing of QueenBee, Hai said iCheck will more swiftly realize its mission of solving the product safety and transparency issue in Vietnam, and hopefully bring the product to overseas markets.

The 38-year-old Hai resigned from VinaPhone, the third largest mobile network run by the Vietnam Post and Telecommunications Group (VNPT), last month.

He used to serve as director of two VNPT units, Vietnam Data Communication Company and digital content provider VASC.

Following the increasing deal flow into local startups, which has even driven the government to think of establishing a national venture capital fund, a lot of Vietnamese entrepreneurs have built their own investment vehicles. Prior to Hai, Dinh Anh Huan gave up his senior position at Vietnam’s largest electronic retailer Mobile World to head Seedcom, which has invested in a spate of local e-commerce platforms.

Vietnam has also recently witnessed the establishment of new venture builders and accelerators such as FPT Ventures, NOVAON Fund and Vietnam Innovative Startup Accelerator.

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