From industries ranging from transport and AI to fintech, Vietnam’s dynamic startup landscape has nearly doubled in size since the start of COVID-19. As a result, it has attracted a large number of foreign venture capitalists (VCs) in the country, as well as fostered local growth for venture capital creation. This has created a highly favorable ecosystem for startups, making Vietnam one of the most attractive emerging markets for startup growth and funding. This has further perpetually boosted the economy to be one of the youngest and world’s fastest-growing, set to overtake Singapore in 2036.
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New entrepreneurs in Vietnam with a lack of experience aren’t always sure what they’re looking for. Hence, VCs help these startups by providing mentorship and financial support. To access the right VC firm, it is imperative to conduct due diligence. In this article, we will cite some of the top VC firms in Vietnam and their contributions to the country’s growing economy.
Top 5 Venture Capitalist Firms in Vietnam
500 Startups Vietnam is part of the 500 Startups Network, the world’s “most active early stage investor”.
This USD 14 million fund invests in networking companies from industries such as FinTech, SMB Productivity, Healthcare & Biotech, Media & Entertainment, AgTech, EdTech & Talent and eCommerce. 500 Startups Vietnam aims to turn Vietnam into a technology hub through investments in a variety of fields, provided a fair return on investment. The fund’s portfolio includes one of Vietnam’s unicorns, Axie Infinity, among other thriving names like Coolmate and Elsa.
This investment firm generally looks for a small cross-functional team that combines technical expertise, creative talent, marketing know-how, or at least two out of the three criteria. It has a significant preference towards startups whose goods have been released and validated for use (beyond just friends and family).
Having started with USD 16m and eight personnel in 1994, Dragon Capital is now Vietnam’s longest-standing independent asset manager for the use of listed equities, clean-tech, fixed incomes, and properties, for international pension funds and sovereign wealth funds and endowments.
With a current value of USD 2.9bn, Dragon Capital has been delivering consistently on behalf of its investors, partners, and stakeholders for over two decades. The group uses its unique experience and capacity to collaborate with local firms that actively manage and advise investments and/or financial services.
The first domestic asset management firm in Vietnam was founded by Dragon Capital. Moreover, the Ho Chi Minh City Securities Company was set up by Dragon Capital with a 30% interest in the joint venture government of the HCMC. In the 2014 Wealth Briefing Asia Awards, the company was named Fund Manager of the Year.
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3. VinaCapital Ventures (VCV)
VinaCapital Ventures is a USD 100 million Vietnam-based venture capital platform, established by VinaCapital Group that focuses on investment, development, and incorporation in a comprehensive digital ecosystem of world-class technology firms.
They empower entrepreneurs with great ideas and help them to develop enterprises that leave a major impact on people’s lives in and beyond Vietnam.
VCV allies with startups to encourage them with capital, and access to its vast business network, mentorship from years of its experience in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.
Mekong Capital is a private equity company based in Vietnam and has been operational since 2001. It is one of the first Vietnamese private equity companies to make 32 private equity investments in the country through 4 funds with over 30 workers full-time. The capital of Mekong has its headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City.
Mekong Capital focused on manufacturing firms until 2005, then shifted its focus on consumer-driven enterprises, such as food vendors, retailers, distributors, etc. The private equity company has invested heavily in developing the corporate cultures of its portfolio companies.
Led by Vietnamese Shark Tank’s Nguyen Manh Dung, CyberAgent Ventures (CAV), or CyberAgent Capital, is one of the go-to VCs for cloud-based tech startups. The Japan-based investment enterprise has established presence across APAC and backed multiple fast-growing successful startups in Vietnam such as CleverAds, Foody, VNG and VMG.
Most of CyberAgent’s investments are in seed and early-stage funding, although it also has shares in well established startups (Topica) and unicorns (TIKI).
Golden Gate Ventures is among the newest names in Vietnam’s venture capitalist space, having opened two new offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in 2022. The fund, whose founders are from Silicon Valley, has been operating across Southeast Asia for over a decade. It specializes in early-stage funding for Fintech, Edtech, E-commerce and SaaS.
Some of the startups that were backed by the firm includes Appota, Lozi, and NinjaVan. Golden Gate Ventures also invests in Funding Societies, Southeast Asia’s largest SME (small-and-medium enterprises) digital financing gateway.
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