Investors show plenty of interest in Vietnam startups: report

Thanh Nien News

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 Vietnam's startup ecosystem in 2015. Photo credit: Topica Founder Institute
At least 67 technology startups in Vietnam received funding last year, a sharp increase from 28 the year before, according to a report Thursday.
The number of deals may have been even higher since not every business published its information, news website Saigon Times said, citing a report released by Topica Founder Institute, an accelerator that offers training courses to startup founders.
About 25.8 percent of the deals were in the form of seed funding, mainly provided by foreign investors, it said, noting the financial and educational technologies sectors continued to attract strong flows.
Four known cases of Series C funding -- a round of funding that takes place once businesses prove to be less risky and shows the potential to scale up -- were worth at least US$10 million each.
The biggest deal was between iCare, a retailer of essential products and services for workers, and San Francisco-based Unitus Impact, rumored to be worth more than $20 million, it said.
It was followed by one between Huy Vietnam and US fund Franklin Templeton, which pumped $15 million into the restaurant chain operator as part of its $3-billion plan for the Vietnamese startup over the next five years.
Coc Coc, a Vietnamese-tailored browser and search engine, received $14 million from German-owned Hubert Burda Media.
The other big deal was between restaurants rating and location website Foody and the US's Tiger Global Investment, though the deal size was not disclosed, Topica said.
Many think that with the economy still recovering, investors would become less interested in startups, but in reality new Vietnamese businesses have become increasingly lucrative in their eyes, Pham Minh Tuan, manager of Topica Edtech Group, told Saigon Times Online.
Besides a $3-million venture fund established by local IT giant FPT, several foreign funds have entered Vietnam with long-term rather than one-off plans, he said.
Silicon Valley venture capital firm 500 Startups, for instance, is now backing eight local companies.
However, he said, 90 percent of recent Vietnamese startups have shut down for various reasons.

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