July 2019 Newsletter

500 Startups Vietnam

Tháng Bảy 09, 2019

Dear all,

The inaugural batch of our SF-inspired, Saigon-based accelerator program kicked off last month. Here’s a quick look at the first two weeks by the numbers:

  • 25 participating founders & senior team members of 6 nationalities
  • 50% of the teams have female participants
  • 24 lectures and workshops

Topics ranged from “growth mindset” and narratives to analytics and experimentation. The teams are now hard at work putting their lessons into action, supported by regular office hours with our London-based program director and the 500VN team.

As part of our mission to support the broader Vietnam startup ecosystem, our program director will be having a public talk on “Secrets to a Great Growth Funnel” in HCMC on July 24. Scroll down to find out more!

Additionally, in June, 500VN closed investments into startups #43 (developer tool) and #44 (fintech). And at the end of the month we joined our international colleagues at our annual global team offsite, this year in Thailand, where we celebrated another sister fund’s oversubscribed final close (our firm’s 3rd oversubscribed final close in the past 9 months) as well as the firm’s milestone of >$500M in committed capital globally.

All in all, a good first half of 2019. On to the second half!


Until next month,

Team 500 Startups Vietnam

Saola Sighting

We’re pleased to introduce Saalim Chowdhury, Saola’s director and mentor extraordinaire. Saalim is a partner at 500 Startups who specialises in advising on growth strategies and running global founder programs, sharing his experience having been a successful founder himself. He’s led and architected 500’s flagship global programs for startups as well as working with 500’s strategic and limited partners to develop startup-like transformation in their organisations. In the past 4 years he’s worked hands-on with over 250 startups from 25 countries across 4 continents, and keynoted at major conferences including Web Summit and Slush.

A startup veteran, notable exits he’s been part of include Internet Security firm ScanSafe to Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) for $183M and Machine-Learning Talent Platform Skillbridge to Toptal (An A16z Unicorn). Outside of entrepreneurship he’s held, he has also held senior leadership positions at News Corporation (NYSE:NWS) and Trinity Mirror Group (LON:TNI). His career started at the Boston Consulting Group. He was educated at Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics.

 Inside a workshop on pitching

To meet with Saalim, sign up for his talk on July 24 in Ho Chi Minh City (“Secrets to a great growth funnel”). For more saola sightings in Saigon, follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. Stay tuned for more saola (“Asian unicorn”) sighting.


500 Startups Vietnam in the News

Stably’s StableUSD becomes the first stablecoin listed on Binance DEX. A new era of liquidity on the decentralized exchange. Coinspeaker. 6/24

Leflair among the next big things coming out of frontier markets. Founded in December 2015, Leflair follows the flash-sales model that has proven successful in Europe. In total the company has raised $12M. e27. 6/25

Forbes recommends Copper Cow Coffee for a more thoughtful cup of coffee. It comes with condensed milk to transport you to a hot, humid afternoon on the streets of Hanoi. Forbes. 6/29

while Refinery29 thinks their Rose Latte Pour Over might be this summer’s biggest coffee trend. Refinery29. 6/20 

VCs commit $425M for investments in Vietnamese startups over the next 3 years. Investors who are looking to invest more in the burgeoning startup ecosystem in Vietnam include 500 Startups, Golden Gate Ventures, Access Ventures, Burda Principal Investments, Jungle Ventures, Cyberagent Ventures, among others. DealStreetAsia. 6/10

Vietnam in the news

Vietnam, EU sign free trade agreement. Once the deal takes effect, the EU will lift 85% of its tariffs on Vietnamese goods. Vietnam is the EU’s second-largest trading partner in Southeast Asia, with trade turnover of $56B last year. Washington Post. 6/30 

Vietnam economy grows nearly 7% on trade war tailwinds. Haiphong, a major shipping hub near the Chinese border, logged a 16% jump in real GDP last year. Nikkei Asian Review. 6/29

Vietnam buys more US goods after Trump calls the country trade abuser. Vietnam’s trade surplus with the US reached $39.5B last year, the highest in records going back to 1990. Vietnam’s trade ministry will sign an MOU with the U.S. Energy Department that includes buying “large volumes” of liquefied natural gas from the US. Bloomberg. 6/29

Made in Vietnam: US-China tensions spark a manufacturing shift but not without growing pains. Plus an inside look into the manufacturing process behind products like Adidas and Nike produced in Vietnam (video). CNBC. 6/25

Vietnam and India see explosion in direct investment from China as tech suppliers shift production overseas, says Goldman Sachs. Vietnam’s FDI from China jumped 4.6x year on year to reach US$1.56B during the first 5 months of 2019. SCMP. 6/24

Vietnam gets tougher on YouTube as citizens see anti-government content…Google has tried to shut down about 8,000 videos as ordered. “They care a lot about the Hong Kong situation, because they wonder whether the matter in Hong Kong could happen in the future in Vietnam,” said Tai Wan-ping, Southeast Asia-specialized international business professor. Voice of America. 6/28

…and authorities said they have identified at least 100 brands whose ads were shown alongside law-violating clips to Vietnamese viewers, including ads from Grab, Shopee, and Huawei. The YouTube crackdown is part of the country’s broader efforts to regulate global tech companies to minimize tax losses in digital cross-border transactions. KrAsia. 6/25


Vietnam tech in the news

E-commerce major Tiki set to raise over $100M. The round could reach $150M with the backing of the firm’s existing Korean investors. The latest financing for Tiki follows a $44M investment led by JD.com. Nikkei Asian Review. 6/21

Online real estate platform Rever raises $4M from VinaCapital. Rever offers price preference tools using real market data analytics. The company will add loan brokerage, digital furniture fitting and smart-home solutions, to become a one-stop shop for all accommodation-related needs. DealStreetAsia. 6/12

Oyo launches in Vietnam, commits $50M investment. The SoftBank-backed hotel chain aims to have 20,000 rooms in 10 cities in Vietnam by the end of 2020. KrAsia. 7/2

Vietnam’s mPOS and e-wallet VIMO merge, herald consolidation for Vietnam’s fragmented digital payments market. There were 29 licensed non-bank payment intermediary services in Vietnam as of February, with around 20 of these services offering e-wallets. More than 40 banks also provide mobile payment services. Nikkei Asian Review. 6/17

Abivin taps AI to ease logistics headaches. Logistic costs account for 15-20% of Vietnam’s GDP. After winning the $1M top prize at the 2019 Startup World Cup in Silicon Valley, Abivin is eyeing expansion to new markets including Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. Nikkei Asian Review. 6/20




Secrets to a Great Growth Funnel, HCMC, 7/24

Saalim Chowdhury, partner at 500 Startups and director of the Saola Accelerator program, will be talking about the secrets to a great growth funnel. Come to understand the elements of a growth mindset, and network with the Saola batch companies at the event co-hosted by 500 Startups Vietnam and Kafnu. Event

Vietnam Deep Tech Ecosystem Meetup, 7/18, HCMC

Network with representatives from SGInnovate and YellowBlocks, together with other Vietnam ecosystem stakeholders in deep tech. Event

San Francisco
814 Mission St., 6th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

© 2010-2019 500 Startups

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