Vietnamese accelerator ThinkZone seeks to raise $30m VC fund

Nguyen Hue, Vietnam. Photo: Peter Nguyen/unsplash

Vietnam’s early-stage accelerator ThinkZone is seeking to raise a $30-million venture capital fund focused on tech startups in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, according to a top executive with the firm.

The fund, ThinkZone Ventures, is expected to close by the first half of this year. It will focus on investing across industries such as logistics, supply chain, medtech, fintech, edtech, agritech, proptech and AI.

The fund will target seed to Series A stage with an average ticket size of $250,000 to $650,000, ThinkZone CEO Do Bui told DealStreetAsia in an interaction.

According to Do, the gap between early-stage and Series A funding for startups in Southeast Asia is still big. ThinkZone Ventures will invest in about 15-20 startups per year through the accelerator and follow-on investments in the fund’s portfolio companies.

“ThinkZone Ventures has prepared partnerships with LPs who are large multidisciplinary corporations and they have an ecosystem good enough to support startups to expand and develop. Our goal is still to invest and support startups to grow fast but sustainably in terms of finance,” he added.

Established in early 2019, ThinkZone has three divisions: Innovation Lab, ThinkZone Accelerator and ThinkZone Ventures.

ThinkZone is currently operating the second batch accelerator. Its first batch attracted more than 300 applicants and the accelerator has invested in three startups: Smilee – Subscription oral care, Graphene – B2B Graphene production focus on SEA market and Foodhub – platform to connect farm to end-users.

The Vietnamese early-stage startup ecosystem has attracted the interest of several local and overseas accelerators. Invention Lab, a leading startup accelerator in South Korea, is looking to clinch early-stage investments from this year with a $5-million Vietnam fund. It is looking at a ticket size of approximately $200,000 to $300,000.

Shinhan Future’s Labs, another South Korean accelerator, has set aside as much as $25 million for investments in Vietnam and Indonesia in the SE Asian region apart from its home market. The firm, which entered Vietnam in 2016, is slated to start its third batch of accelerator programme later this year.

The Saola Accelerator, named after the rare Vietnamese deer also known as the ‘Asian unicorn’, has closed Batch 1 with investments in six companies with a ticket size of $100,000 to $300,000. Going forward, the startup funding platform is working on its two forthcoming batches.

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.