Japanese VCs expand tranche of investment

September 29, 2023 | 09:44
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Despite headwinds in capital mobilisation, Japanese venture funds are doubling down on Vietnam’s startup ecosystem, underscoring the nation’s pivotal role in their quest to cultivate a vibrant Southeast Asian startup landscape.
Japanese VCs expand tranche of investment
Photo: Le Toan

Vietnamese recruitment platform TopCV officially garnered a multi-million dollar investment from Japan’s human resources heavyweight, Mynavi Corporation, earlier in September. While official figures remain undisclosed, sources from DealStreetAsia in late August estimated the investment to be at least $10 million.

This marks the second tranche of investment that Mynavi has funnelled into the startup since its initial sponsorship in 2021.

This collaboration is anticipated to propel TopCV in technological integration, enhance its talent pool, and establish its prominence in Vietnam’s burgeoning human resources tech landscape.

A representative from Mynavi said, “Our decision to collaborate and invest in TopCV emanates from a shared mission - to forge a better society for all. TopCV’s distinct advantage, rooted in its vast technological potential, its valuable ecosystem, and its passionate team, resonated with us. We are confident that this will serve as a sturdy launchpad for our partner’s sustainable growth in the future.”

Mynavi’s investment portfolio is not limited to TopCV. The corporation has been actively backing other promising startups across the Southeast Asian region, spanning sectors including edtech, fintech, and SaaS.

In late May, 1Office, another Vietnamese startup offering digital transformation solutions, successfully raised millions in a Series A funding round led by Mynavi. Though the exact value of these investments is undisclosed, Mynavi is believed to routinely invest around $5 million per deal.

Le Viet Thang, CEO of 1Office said, “A staggering 95 per cent of Vietnamese enterprises are small- and medium-sized enterprises. Most business leaders are not entirely acquainted with the operations of individual departments.”

Rather than seeking expensive solutions from abroad, Thang suggests smaller businesses utilise products like 1Office for efficient business operations at a fraction of the price.

“With its cloud computing foundation, 1Office has crafted an online work environment accessible anytime, anywhere for companies,” he added

In Vietnam, the Japanese firm has extended its support to other startups like ITViec and Jobhopin. Apart from infusing capital into HR-focused startups, Mynavi is also a prominent investor in MindX, an edtech startup, as well as in proptech enterprise, Homedy.

Japan’s investment interest in Vietnam is not isolated to Mynavi. Genesia Ventures, another Japanese fund, finalised its fundraising for its third fund in May, amassing a robust total of approximately $110 million.

In Vietnam, Genesia Ventures has invested in 12 startups across various funds. With its newly acquired $110 million capital, the fund aims to invest in the region’s most promising companies that align with its vision and objectives.

Since its second fund in 2020, Genesia Ventures invested in a total of 59 startups, primarily in Japan, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Hoang Thi Kim Dung, Vietnam’s country manager for Genesia Ventures, said, “The third round demonstrates the resilience and confidence in the fund’s investment strategy.”

Further deepening Japan’s foothold in the Vietnamese startup ecosystem, one of Japan’s megabanks, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), unveiled a $210 million investment fund in July, geared towards nurturing startups into unicorns, according to Nikkei Asia.

Although there is no specific data on the fund’s activity in Vietnam, SMFG’s strategic investment ties with VPBank and FE Credit suggest more investment deals in Vietnam’s startup ecosystem could be on the horizon.

In the fintech sector, SMBC, a bank within SMFG, co-founded the Asia Rising Fund in May in partnership with Incubate Fund, aiming to bolster business growth and partner relations by investing in high-potential Asian startups. With a fund management commitment of $200 million over a decade, SMBC intends to back startups that contribute to the conglomerate’s business growth.

Earlier in March, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group – a strategic investor of VietinBank – set up an investment fund of about $375 million to support startups.

Reflecting on the potential trajectory of the region, Akitaka Wilhelm Fujii, chairman of Real Tech Holding, said, “Many prominent Japanese corporations are investing in our funds because they’re looking for new business opportunities and research and development ideas. For our global fund, there are plenty of Japanese companies who are looking to expand to Southeast Asia.”

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By Luu Huong

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