Vietnamese VC firm Touchstone Partners launches $50m debut fund

Khanh Tran (left) and Tu Ngo.

Vietnam’s new venture capital firm, Touchstone Partners, has secured a first close of its debut $50 million venture capital fund to invest in early-stage startups.

Limited partners in the fund include Pavilion Capital, Vulcan Capital and other institutional investors and family offices.

Touchstone Partners will focus on fintech, real estate, healthcare, edtech, and technology that enhances efficiency in major Vietnamese value chains such as manufacturing and agriculture, it said in a statement.

The firm is founded by Khanh Tran, former founding partner of the country’s largest venture capital investment vehicle VinaCapital Ventures, and serial entrepreneur Tu Ngo, co-founder and chairwoman of private equity-backed YOLA Education.

“With Touchstone, we want to be a force for positive social development and to set high standards for venture investing in Vietnam,” Tran, who acts as Touchstone’s managing partner, said.

“Having been a founder for more than 10 years, I understand how hard yet meaningful it is to turn ideas into reality. There are gaps in Vietnam that when addressed, we can help founders to go faster while focusing on the right things. Khanh and I have a bias for product-driven teams,” added Ngo, the firm’s general partner.

Touchstone Partners has also roped in Nam Le, who was with McKinsey, Morgan Stanley, Galaxy Studio and YOLA Education, as a principal in the investment team, as well as Bobby Liu, a local well-known ecosystem builder, as director of entrepreneur in residence.

Vietnam has attracted more than $2 billion in startup funding in the past five years, driven by the country’s large base of local technical, engineering and corporate resources, as well as a healthy surge of returnees after years of education and work abroad, Touchstone Partners said, adding that the local ecosystem is “at an important inflection point” for innovation and technology adoption.

Before Touchstone, Vietnam has also seen the birth of a slew of homegrown VC funds to support startups at the early stage such as Do Ventures, FEBE Ventures, 500 Startups Vietnam and ThinkZone Ventures, among others.

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.