500 Startups, the most active venture capital investor in Vietnam, has made 15 new investments in 2020 so far, increasing its portfolio to more than 70 companies.
|Vietnamese startups pitch to global investors at 500 Startups Vietnam's Demo Day |
“In the past five years, the tech entrepreneurial ecosystem has evolved even faster than we could have even imagined. And yet there’s still a lot of room to run and grow. We’re thrilled and honoured to be a part of the journey,” said Eddie Thai, general partner at 500 Startups.
The venture capital fund is often featured among the most active VC investors in Southeast Asia by market researchers at Preqin, White Star Capital, and elsewhere.
Most recently, 500 Startups has hosted on Friday its latest startup Demo Day to showcase rising stars in its portfolio. Most of the nine presenting startups have graduated from the three-month Saola Accelerator programme, where 500 Startups Vietnam invested up to $150,000 in each participating company. Collectively, the nine presenting startups are doing business in 17 markets across the Asia-Pacific, Europe, and North America. Launched in 2019, Saola Accelerator has hosted three batches with a total of 17 startups, including a mix of fintech, edtech, and e-commerce businesses.
Bizzi is an intelligent accounts payable automation platform. By July 2022, all Vietnamese businesses will be required by law to adopt e-invoicing. Bizzi was born to help local SMEs comply with the regulation and further digitise their cash flow management. Since its launch in February, they have signed 100+ clients including a top 3 convenience store chain and a leading pharmacy chain.
Meanwhile, CoolMate is a digital wardrobe for men that helps men stock up on daily essentials easily. Via CoolMate, customers can order up to 10 quality items like t-shirts, underwear, and socks for under $20. With 100,000 orders delivered to date, they are determined to revolutionise the retail experience for Vietnamese men.
Another startup Cricket One is classic protein for the modern world. Crickets are the protein of tomorrow – tasty and sustainable. Cricket One has figured out the secret to farm and produce crickets efficiently and at scale. Claiming to have the largest production capacity in the world, they are already exporting to 12 countries in three continents and are well on their way to feed the future.
Other startups include PI.EXCHANGE (Virtual data scientist for enterprises) and ProSpark (Learning platform for upskilling and reskilling the workforce in Southeast Asia). There are also Staple (AI data capture layer for finance, banking, and healthcare), TradingFoe (B2B marketplace for Nordics and Southeast Asia trading), Tribee (employee experience app), as well as Voiz (an audiobook and podcast app for Vietnam and beyond).
At the same event, 500 Startups Vietnam introduced its newly-minted edtech unicorn, ApplyBoard. The platform aims to help international students access quality higher education in the US, the UK, and Canada. ApplyBoard Vietnam country manager Duong Pham noted, “Vietnam is one of the largest sources of international students in the world and is predicted to grow sustainably. ApplyBoard aims to be the market share leader in the recruitment market by 2021.”