Vietnam government’s proposed venture capital (VC) fund aims to co-invest in local startups with private VC firms, a government official said on Wednesday.
The country will revise its regulations regardimg investment and small enterprises – acknowledging the presence of angel investors and VC firms, said the deputy minister of investment Dang Huy Dong during a workshop co-hosted by FPT Corporation, the Hanoi City People’s Committee and the Israeli Embassy.
“What we are lacking in the ecosystem today is the recognition of angel investors and venture capital funds, which are the most critical capital source for startups,” he pointed out.
Dong also suggested that the law should make sure VC funds invest in startup companies instead of raising capital for other purposes. “That’s the ultimate goal of the government to facilitate investment activities in startups,” Dong said.
Dong emphasised that the proposed (government VC) fund will be just an initial step to spur social interest in investing. “Once the society realizes the function and efficiency of venture capital investment, the government should not get involved in investing then.”
While it is in a planning stage, Dong said the government fund will not invest alone. The rationale percentage is that the government early stage investment arm will put a maximum of 30 per cent of a funding round, according to the deputy minister. The 70 per cent balance is meant for private backers.
Vietnam aims to be a ‘startup nation’ by 2020 and is looking at bolstering technology innovation. It had earlier contemplated an equity exchange platform for its startup companies.
It will not be viable to regulate that initiative by the securities law, said the minister. “There are very different characteristics between listing and investing in the idea stage. Startups cannot get access to a financing route as stock exchange listing,” Dong added.
Around 20 VC firms are interested in Vietnam, according to the data revealed in the workshop. These include the likes of Cyberagent Ventures, IDG Ventures, 500 Startups and local players FPT Ventures and Seedcom.
Most of these investors do not have a local office in Vietnam.
“The number of funds which are keen on investing in Vietnam is increasing. However, they are still hesitate because of some uncertainties,” said an executive at FPT Corp.