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TVS, GEE nurture Vietnam's potential unicorns

By Phong Van   January 5, 2022 | 11:00 pm PT
Winning big from investing in Warburg-backed e-wallet MoMo, the TVS and GEE ecosystem are eager to see the next unicorns of Vietnam.

On Dec. 21, 2021, Online Mobile Services JSC (M-Service), the governing body of MoMo e-wallet, announced it had completed the 5th fund-raising round (Series E) after receiving a $200 million investment from global investors including Mizuho, Ward Ferry, Goodwater Capital, and Kora Management.

After the deal, M-Service's valuation reached $2.27 billion, qualifying it to become a tech "unicorn".

M-Service is an investment of Thien Viet Securities JSC (TVS), one of the founding shareholders of Galaxy Entertainment & Education Platform (GEE), formerly known as Galaxy Group.

The TVS share price began to jump since early 2021 when the e-wallet completed a Series D funding round with a $100-million investment. According to data from the stock market, since the beginning of 2021, the TVS share price has increased by nearly 500 percent.

After MoMo became a unicorn, the TVS share price of Thien Viet Securities kept increasing over 7 consecutive sessions (as of Dec. 24, 2021), bringing the price range from VND46,000 ($2) to VND67,000 ($3). Liquidity spiked to nearly 500,000 to 1 million units per session.

TVS is also an angel investor of a promising fintech company - Finhay Vietnam JSC, the governing body of Finhay, a mobile application for financial investment. TVS has helped Finhay improve its governance capacity and supported the startup in developing personal financial management products and services.

TVS and Galaxy Entertainment & Education Platform (GEE) have the same founding team with solid financial and banking backgrounds and who graduated from prestigious universities. GEE creates an ecosystem for film production (Galaxy Production), cinema - film distribution (Galaxy Studio), an online movie platform (Galaxy Play), Galaxy Media, Galaxy Education, Galaxy Communications.

Inside the GEE ecosystem, Galaxy Play has a pioneering role among Vietnam's online movie platforms. Since its inception in 2015, Galaxy Play has been constantly growing in revenue. In 2021, Galaxy Play’s revenue doubled after gaining more than 2 million new users. Currently, the platform has over 7 million users with 4.5 million applying the cumulative paying method.

Galaxy Play offers exclusive Vietnamese movies via technical platform. Photo by Galaxy Play

Galaxy Play offers exclusive Vietnamese movies via a technical platform. Photo by Galaxy Play

"We have the largest store of exclusive Vietnamese movies, which is always updated. In addition to the advanced technical platform, convenient and easy-to-use application, Galaxy Play has strengths in its content specially designed for Vietnamese audiences. We aim to serve Vietnamese living in Vietnam and around the world," said Luu Thanh Lan, general director of Galaxy Play.

Thanks to the backing from Galaxy Production and Galaxy Studio, the largest film production and distribution companies in Vietnam, Galaxy Play holds the exclusive right to distribute online blockbusters including Dad I’m Sorry, Face Off, Dreamy Eyes (Golden Lotus Award 2021)... and the upcoming movie project Em & Trinh, which is expected to make a big splash when it comes out in April 2022.

Since 2020, Galaxy Play has regularly produced exclusive series like Sugar Daddy & Sugar Baby, Sugar Mommy & Sugar Boy, A Phoenix From The Ashes, Honey, We Need To Talk... With elaborate investment and content that closely follows the tastes of Vietnamese audiences, Galaxy Play’s exclusive series are always at the top of the most-loved products on the platform.

In order to successfully "hatch" a new "unicorn", GEE had to combine the ecosystems of both Galaxy Play and Galaxy Education, which have more than 10 million users. In 2015, Galaxy Play invested millions of U.S. dollars to conduct research and develop its cloud and streaming infrastructure.

Like TVS, GEE has ambitions in incubating unicorns as it actively implements digital transformation strategies in entertainment and education.

Investing in Hoc Mai was the first door for Galaxy Education to join the online education segment, focusing on all grades from preschool, high school to university, vocational training... Galaxy Education is a large online school that satisfies all education demands for students from 2-18 years old.

GEE entered education segment by investing in Hoc Mai. Photo by Hoc Mai

GEE has entered the education segment by investing in Hoc Mai. Photo by Hoc Mai

During the past two years, the number of Galaxy Education users soared impressively with a 200 percent growth. The number of paid users increased by more than 100 percent. The platform has more than 5.5 million users, three times more than its second-ranked competitor.

Galaxy Education plays a dominant role in a market with over 200 participating companies. The startup has an ambitious goal in driving user and commercial revenue growth to serve all Vietnamese learners.

In addition, the online education platform has a comprehensive learning ecosystem with several products, cross-platform, from online to face-to-face for learners from 2 to 18 years old. The firm has clear branding, marketing, and content strategies. Galaxy Education is the leading startup with 15 years of experience in online education, especially in the general education segment.

Vietnam is currently among the top 10 edtech markets with the fastest growing pace in the world, at 44.3 percent in 2018. According to Ken Research, Vietnam's edtech market value could reach $3 billion by 2023.

"Vietnam is one of the most attractive investment destinations in the region. In the coming years, investors will focus heavily on three areas including financial technology (fintech), education technology (edtech) and health technology (healthtech). Nurturing startups in these exciting fields to become unicorns like MoMo is also our goal as well as many investment funds," said Nguyen Thanh Thao, general director of TVS.

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