Vietnam’s digital content distributor platform Appota, which secured an undisclosed series B investment in 2014, is looking at a fundraising in the range of “tens of million US dollars”.
That was revealed by Do Tuan Anh, Appota CEO, at the Global Entrepreneurship Week hosted by the US Embassy in Hanoi. It could probably mean that the firm was planning for a series C round.
Graduated from the Topica Founder Institute’s first batch in 2011, Appota was then valued at $1 million.
Nguyen Ngoc Diep, CEO of Vatgia – a well-known e-commerce company from the so-called first generation of Vietnamese startups, was Appota’s first angel investor, said Tuan Anh. “When you get invested by a reputable investor, your startup will be very valuable,” he said.
Appota, his venture after several news portals, is seen as one of the most successful startups in Vietnam, which is not just a leading mobile content company locally but has also developed its business in other foreign markets, including offices in Singapore and Jakarta.
Sharing his fundraising skills at the event, Tuan Anh said: “There is an art and science in fundraising.”
Earlier in November, a list of the world’s 59 “unicorns”, including Uber, Airbnb, Snapchat and Pinterest shocked us by showing that although those companies are valued at a combined number of $486 billion, the combined profit is zero. But such startups have received billions of US dollars in funding.
“It shows that there is really an art in raising funds,” Tuan Anh said, while the science side is about building business plan and exhibiting the management knowledge and skills of the founders.
“In the end, what investors look at is how you show them as an entrepreneur and a person. They also care who the team are, whether the team are united and have the same vision, and very importantly, there’s a person who is the team leader with the ability to make decision,” he added.
There are three types of institutional investors, according to Tuan Anh. The most popular investors in tech startups are venture capital firms, who are interested in scalable models and scalability of investees.
Second, corporate investors or companies looking at merger and acquisition opportunities to expand their business. Third, private equity investors eye profitability and growth potential or at least stability of performance.
“Each type of investor tends to seek different values for their investments. Generally, startups who are doing fundraising should acknowledge that they have to create value for the investors. To make a success of a funding round, startups ought to understand the funds they are approaching,” Tuan Anh said.
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