Flappy Bird creator lends a wing to Vietnamese startups

By VnExpress   January 3, 2017 | 10:50 pm PT
Flappy Bird creator lends a wing to Vietnamese startups
Flappy Bird creator Nguyen Ha Dong (L) and Google CEO Sundar Pichai (R) shake hands at a sidewalk café in Hanoi on December 22, 2015. Photo by Reuters
'Just propose those projects to me, no matter how bad it is,' Nguyen Ha Dong writes on Facebook.

The overnight success of mobile game Flappy Bird has turned its creator Nguyen Ha Dong into a star of the local startup scene.

The game, hailed by the industry as one of the milestones of Vietnam's startup history, has brought Dong great fame and fortune, all within a short period of time.

Now Dong is making a pledge to pay it forward and fund Vietnamese startups in the fields of robotics, artificial intelligence, social services, community development and education.

“Just propose those projects to me, no matter how bad it is,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

He did not give specific details about mentoring and funding.

Flappy Bird was released in May 2013 with little fanfare. By February 2014, the sleeper hit topped the charts in more than 100 countries and had been downloaded more than 50 million times. Dong reportedly earned an estimated $50,000 a day.

The Vietnamese government has seen successes like Flappy Bird as an encouraging sign. It is trying hard to cultivate a startup scene where tech entrepreneurs can create products and services that will go global.

Unlike the well-developed startup ecosystem in most other countries, where there are venture capitalists and a strong network of entrepreneurs working together, the system in Vietnam is at a fledgling stage, with many funding difficulties.

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