Investment in startups up 48 pct

By Dat Nguyen    September 3, 2019 | 08:42 pm PT
Investment in startups up 48 pct
Entrepreneurs speak to business experts at a startup competition in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress.
Investment in Vietnamese startups in the first half of the year rose 48 percent year-on-year to reach $246 million with South Korea the top investor.

The capital was raised in 56 deals, according to a recent report by Ho Chi Minh City-based venture capital ESP Capital and Singapore's Cento Ventures.

Researchers estimate the investment in startups to reach $800 million this year, almost double that of last year’s $444 million.

The first six months of this year saw South Korea become the top investor participating in almost 30 percent of all deals, while the corresponding top spot for the last two years were taken by Singapore and Japan respectively.

The country is seeing a growth in large-size deals, the report said, noting that both last year and this year, Vietnamese startups raised between $50-100 million per round.

If this trend continues, there could be more Vietnamese companies approaching $500 million and eventually $1 billion valuation mark in the years to come, it added.

E-payment app Momo pulled in about $100 million from American private equity company Warburg Pincus in January, one of the largest single round investments ever raised by a Vietnamese startup.

E-commerce company Tiki reportedly raised $75 million in March from investors led by Singaporean private equity company Northstar Group.

Prominent among the smaller deals were $4.5 million raised by room sharing startup Luxstay, and $6 million last month by point-of-sale system operator KiotViet.

The report said that the amount of invested capital and the number of technology deals done have grown six-fold from the first half of 2017. 

The reason for the increasing interest in Vietnam is that the country is in an "important period when key components of a strong digital economy are beginning to shape up," the report said.

The fact that 60 percent Vietnam’s population is aged under 35 with a growing mobile and internet penetration rate are factors that will benefit the digital economy, the report said, adding that over 10 million more consumers will go online by 2023.

Investment in Vietnam accounted for 17 percent of the $5.9 billion invested in the ASEAN-6 (Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam) in the first half of this year, threefold that of five percent for the whole of last year, Cento Ventures said in another report on ASEAN investment.

In only two years, Vietnam jumped from the second least active startup ecosystem among the six largest ASEAN countries into third place, only behind Indonesia and Singapore, it added.

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