Resilience vital for startups to attain long-term success

November 08, 2023 | 15:45
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Vietnam’s potential for growth in this country is boundless. However, startups and founders must be strong in adversity to reach the promised land.

I made a bold move for Golden Gate Ventures by moving my family to Vietnam to open our office here. It has been an incredible learning experience and I feel very fortunate to live here.

Resilience vital for startups to attain long-term success
Vinnie Lauria
Co-founder, Golden Gate Ventures

I travel the globe monthly to meet with other investors, and one question that always comes up is “Why Vietnam?”. To me, the answer is simple: it’s the people.

The talent here is unmatched, and the resources put into education is some of the highest in the world. The average Vietnamese family spends more of a percentage of their income on their children’s education than in Singapore. When you mix highly educated individuals with a highly motivated work force, the potential for growth in this country is boundless.

The growth we’re forecasting in the startup ecosystem over the next decade will come from university students graduating this year. And their growth will have been built on the shoulders of many of the entrepreneurs and investors you are going to hear from on stage today.

When global investors press me a bit more to understand what is it about Vietnamese entrepreneurs that makes it stand out on a global stage, I boil it down to one word, and that is resilience.

Vietnam has a history and culture of resilience. And in today’s global environment, startups need founders who are resilient, which is reflected through strength in adversity, including adaptability, recovery capability, and perseverance.

Challenges from adversity are what make for great entrepreneurs. Everyone’s heard of thinking outside the box, but it’s only when the box starts shrinking when the truly great thinkers and innovators see new opportunities. The adversity that comes from challenges is the catalyst for innovation. It forces us to think creatively, adapt swiftly, and seize opportunities when they arise.

In the world of venture capital, it’s these thinkers who are pushing forward new ideas before others can even see them as opportunities. It is this vision that drives the success of entirely new industries.

The next part of resiliency is adaptability. Successful founders need to be adaptable, either to changing external environments, or more frequently, being attuned to customer needs and adapting their product in real time to be hyper-focused on solving specific pain points. It is through this adaptability that the small startup can compete with, and ultimately disrupt, the more established competition.

As for recovery capability, we only have to look at the recent pandemic and how Vietnam rebounded with one of the fastest growing GDPs in the entire world.

Lastly, we have perseverance. Perseverance emphasises the determination to continue despite obstacles and setbacks. This is a requirement of every successful founder – just ask any venture capital from Silicon Valley (present company included).

This year has been one in which Vietnam has demonstrated its economic resilience. It marked a new phase in Vietnam’s position as a global economic powerhouse as it strengthened global partnerships. Most recently, it elevated its relations with the United States to a comprehensive strategic partnership, marking a new era of enhanced bilateral cooperation.

Around 14 per cent of Vietnam’s labour force is in manufacturing, the highest in Asia, and that is a statistic that garners envy from its ASEAN neighbours. And thanks to the education sector focusing on maths and science, this manufacturing is now shifting to the high-tech arena thanks to expansion here by Intel, Google, Foxconn, Apple, and Samsung.

These strategic global partnerships create a long-term runway for Vietnam not only as a leading manufacturing hub but as a centre for high-value foreign direct investment.

Vietnam has written its own playbook for success thanks to a well-educated and highly skilled labour force, supportive government policies for innovation, growing international trade ties, and an effective startup ecosystem that has spurred investment flow from overseas and accelerated the sophistication of the country’s startups.

Innovation not only thrives, but it excels in the face of adversity. With that, I encourage all founders in Vietnam to embrace resilience in the own ventures.

Vietnam's tech startups secure $50 million in funding in Q3 Vietnam's tech startups secure $50 million in funding in Q3

In the third quarter of 2023, Vietnam's tech startups secured a total of $50.1 million in funding—a tremendous 504 per cent increase compared with the second quarter of 2023, according to a report by Tracxn, a leading global SaaS-based market intelligence platform.

By Vinnie Lauria

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