Vietnam’s Topica launches EdTechLab, to foster disruptive tech in education

Vietnam-based edtech group Topica launched Topica EdTechLab programme in Hanoi, to foster young startups that are looking to apply new technologies in the sector of education.

“Topica EdTechLab  expects to showcase disruptive technologies, which will potentially be applied not only in Vietnam but also in the Southeast Asian region, to improve the education and life of people,” Topica said in a statement.

The lab has invited over 30 well-known CTOs of Vietnam to be mentors of the programme, which will select up to 15 teams to support every year. The developers will own 75 per cent copyright of their projects, while Topica EdTechLab will own 10 per cent. The remaining  15 per cent will be held by the mentors.

Panelists at the launch workshop were of the opinion that Vietnam is poised to capitalise on the trend, and develop apps based on hardwares, such as the virtual reality display Oculus Rift, Microsoft’s Hololens, Telepresence Robot, wi-fi quadricopter Drone and 3D Printer.

The lab also pointed out several promising projects, such as studying foreign languages on smart watch, 3D learning on Oculus and Hololens, remote lectures through Telepresence Robot, and identifying students through typing speed and mouse usage behaviour, to avoid cheating in online learning.

Recently, Vietnam has seen a spate of e-learning platforms being incubated. It is believed that the next-generation hardware will be the game-changer for the local edtech startup space.

Investment up in edtech

Venture capital firms involved in edtech by the second quarter of 2015, grew almost 100 per cent year-on-year, said Mike Michalec, co-founder of Edtech Asia.

In 2014, $2.4 billion was invested in edtech globally, with seed and series A funding predominant. During the first half of 2015, early stage financing dropped 19 per cent, as private equity investment sized up.

A part of the money was meant for impact investment, while financial-first investors eyed edtech more than than multi-sector portfolios.

“There has been an increase in the value of the (edtech) companies, as the popularity of edtech is increasing in the startup space,” Michalec said.

Edtech is booming in Asia; the key drivers include a robust e-commerce market, infrastructure and mobility, and the emerging middle class, he said , adding: “Asia is very young, with a high percentage of well educated people. […] A lot more people are staying in Asia instead of going abroad, so money is being spent on tutoring.”

Related stories:

Topica trains startups to be entrepreneurs: Tran Manh Cong

Exclusive: Vietnam’s ed-tech app Vooy raises $5K in angel investment

Exclusive: Inspire Ventures-backed ad platform SuperAwesome enters Vietnam

Incuvest joins SHO-Zemi Innovation Ventures to invest in ed-tech startup Monkimun

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.