2019 Vietnam startup investment look back

Just some of my random notes about world startup investment and Vietnam so please make sure that you double check when I use my article.

Six years ago, Aileen Lee – founder of Cowboy Venture created the term “Unicorn” to illustrate the start-up companies which have the value of over $1 billions. 

At this time there were not many companies which were worth a billion dollars. Thus “Unicorn” was the dream name for many start-up since this term was introduced. However, the industry landscape has changed dramatically. The world of venture capital has been blooming, there has been a huge amount of money invested in the start-up company. 

In recent years, the number of “Unicorn” has increased exponentially. Total investment in the unicorn companies is up to 1.1 thousand of dollars. 

 

An analysis about 326 unicorns in the world

  • Overview about “Unicorn” in 2019

According to CB Insights of Unicorn of Unicorn Tracker – the company does research about the unicorn according to their industry, valuation and country. 

ByteDance is currently the largest unicorn with the valuation of 75 billion dollars. The China-based company operates many products such as: Vigo, Toutiao, TopBuzz and more, but the most special raising platform which is currently used by many millennia’s: TikTok. ByteDance uses AI to adjust the content to fit with the customer behavior. 

Source: Pixabay

Expert estimates that in 2019, there are more than 100 unicorns will conduct IPO – (The Initial Public Offering), including Uber and AirBnb. Recently, Lyft and Pinterest have conducted IPO. Another Unicorn is Zoom Video – an online video call platform is also in the IPO process, with the stock price increasing at 120% since its impressive release in the middle of April. 

  • Unicorn start-up by industry 

Internet Software and Service and E-commerce are the most popular industries with many potential start-up. On-demand services such as Uber, Didi  Chuxing and DoorDash attract more investors to invest in this area. 

  • Unicorn start-up by geography 

Over a half of unicorns come from the USA, but China has many start-up companies which have high value. While most of the unicorns come from 6 countries: USA, China, UK, India, Germany and Korea, other countries in the world have 32 unicorns approximately 10% of total unicorn in the world.

  • Unicorn by the valuation
    Uber, Wework, AirBnB and ByteDance have the largest amount up to 30% of total unicorn worldwide.  

According to the pyramid, there are 280 unicorns at the bottom – unicorns which have value from 1-5 billion dollars. The sum of those are 461 billion dollars, as 43% of the total unicorns. 

  • Vietnam Startup Investment Overview vs world investment

In 2019, the amount of capital flowing into technology startups in Vietnam accounts for 18% of all of Southeast Asia, while that of Singapore is 17%. However, as a whole, the remaining startups only raised US $ 670M, much less than in 2018 (nearly US $ 890M). This fact shows that the start-up race has entered the stage of refinement, many emerging industries have also led to the recession of many old and expensive businesses of investors.

In January 2019, Momo successfully raised funds  in the Series C 100 USD from Warburg Pincus funding. Momo is the first payment-app with more than 12 million users in Vietnam. 

In January 2019, Lefair – an ecommerce site which sells boutiques, has called for $7 million in the Series B from GSShop and Belt Road Capital Management. This success has helped the company total investment round to 12M USD. However, they just announced to quit the Vietnam market on 2020.

In February 2019, Elsa has raised fund successfully $7M USD Series A from Gradient Ventures – the specialized fund for AI of Google. Now, the total investment for the company is $12M. 

In March 2019, Tiki raised $75M from NorthStar Group and are the top 2 players in the e-commerce Vietnam market. Tiki is on its way to focus on increasing its service quality and user experiences. 

In April 2019, Jio Health has raised $5M Series A from Monk’s Hill Venture. 

In May 2019, Uber has failed since its first stock issues, which causes the loss of $6.5B. 

In June 2019, Logivan – 4.0 logistic service, which connects the shipper and the empty returned truck nationwide, raised successfully $5.5M from Matrix Partners, David Su and Alpha JWC Ventures. 

In August 2019, Wework – the largest co-working space US-based, which has an unpredictable fate. Although Softbank has invested $10B in Wework, they have stopped working with each other. 

In August 2019, KiotViet – a start-up providing software solutions for POS managing, announced receiving $6M Series A from Jungle Venture.  

In September 2019, Compass – a real-estate buy and sell start losing its direction, although Softbank has invested $450M and later fundraising $775M.  

In October 2019, Scommerce – logistic provider with 4 business units: GHN Express, Ahamove, GHN Logistic and GIDO has received $100M from Temasek – Singapore government investment fund. 

In November 2019, Softbank poured $500M into Fair – a car leasing company which is revolutionizing the car-as-a-service concept. However, Fair has failed and cut 40% of employees in the not “Fair” way. 

Also in November, Sendo announced its raising fund successfully with total investment in Series C is $61M from EV Growth, Kasikornbank, SBI Group, BEENOS, SoftBank Ventures Asia, Daiwa PI Partners and Digital Garage. 

This month, Lozi has also raised $10M+ from Smilegate Korea. 

Vnlife – mother company of VNPAY has become the second unicorn in Vietnam after VNG with $300M investment of Softbank Vision Fund and GIC Singapore 

In December 2019, Telio – Vietnam’s first B2B platform has raised $25M Series A from Tiger Global, Sequoia India, GGV Capital, and RTP Global.

In January 2020, OYO – a hotel booking start-up received $1.5B from Softbank has lost 65000 rooms and cut off 3000 employees. 

The world 2019 economic climate has significant slowdown, however Vietnam’s economy is growing.

Vietnam economic growth is projected to decrease in 2020

Collected from many sources:  Jeff Desjardins, Visual Capitalist, WEF, May 2019, ESP Capital

FIRST CROWDPITCH VIETNAM 2019: TRAVEL STARTUPS ARISE, WHILE ENVIRONMENTAL ONE DRAW MORE ATTENTION

I reposted the content of some events that my company ran in order to spread the message further.  In the 1st CrowdPitch Vietnam 2019, 5 Vietnamese startups had presented their ideas, learned from expert mentors in the ecosystem and gained exposure, as well as built and engaged with the community.

Mr. Thang Huynh – CEO & Co-Founder Innovation Lab

Most-voted: Saving environment solution

Vietnam is one of the worst polluters of ocean plastic waste in Asia and the globe, with 13 million tonnes of waste released to the ocean every year. Fortunately, Vietnamese starts to get aware of this massive pollution and therefore, green initiatives emerge. Obviously, eco-minded entrepreneurs in Vietnam are not out of the picture.

Ms. Linh Le – Founder & CEO AYACUP

Startup AYA – REUSABLE CUP with the plastic waste solution was the most-voted idea in 1st CrowdPitch Vietnam 2019. AYA REUSABLE CUPS creates convenience idea for users which enable them to use and return the cup rather than throwing single-use plastic cup.  More specifically, with AYA you can request an eco-friendly cup at any participating coffee shop or smoothie bar with your ID code. With the so-called “Life Time Membership Pass”, you also can drop the AYACUP at any participating locations. AYA has achieved 85 vendors, 135 locations and 5,495 plastic cups saved.

Linh Le, Founder of AYA Reusable cups shared that she was very surprised and happy when people were very interested in her project and concerned about the environment. It is a good sign that more people want to change their habits to protect the environment.

According to the report 2018 by UN Environment, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute around the world; up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once – and then thrown away.

Mr. Tuan Tran – Founder Airiot VietNam

With the same mission to save the environment; startup Airiot VietNam provides solutions to save energy for Airbnb hosts by a self-designed device. With IOT device working based on Bluetooth low energy 4.0, Airiot helps Airbnb hosts to turn off the air-conditioner automatically when people are not in the accommodation.

Travel tech – Top trendy startups in Vietnam

According to a report recently released by Topica Founder Institute (TFI), eight major travel tech deals worth $64 million were signed last year. The travel tech market is full of potential as increasing numbers of Vietnamese seek to travel and enjoy life.

The trend was well demonstrated in May section of CrowdPitch Vietnam as 3 out of 5 start-up ideas is technology-based travel startups including LandedVibe, Gody.vn and CheepCheep.

Mr. Le Duy Hoang – Founder LandedVibe

Becoming the winner chosen by judges, LandedVibe offers a platform for diversified offline skill-sharing and entertainment activities. They build a network where anyone can turn shareable values of their profession, skill or hobby into payable activities for locals, expats and travelers alike to book, via a sharing-economy platform.

Explained about the decision, Mr. Bobby Liu – CrowdPitch Vietnam judge and Co-director of Topica Founder Institute said: “LandedVibe will change the way of travel a lot. It is about the experience, about travelers getting and sharing their own experience. It could be popular with young travelers. Because of that, LandedVibe has development potential and will attract investors.”

Mr. Pham Viet Anh – CEO & Founder CheepCheep

Ms. Ngoc Anh – Founder Gody.vn

Other startups are CheepCheep, an online platform to book attraction tickets through a hundred places in Vietnam, and Gody.vn, a social travel platform to personalize trips based on AI’s recommendations.

2019 CrowdPitch Vietnam is an initiative for startups to raise their brand awareness, identify their market, attract potential investors and engage actively with future customers.

5 startups chosen to pitch each month will receive 1.000USD AWS credits, technical support, and free online training besides the voting cash by audiences’ entrance tickets.

Mr. Bobby Liu emphasized the prominence of CrowdPitch to startups in the ecosystem because of its benefit and recalled himself as a winner of this kind of crowdpitch five years ago.

From the participant’s perspective, Founder of AYA, Linh Le claimed that pitching in CrowdPitch was a valuable opportunity for early-stage startups to validate their idea and cheer them up. “It is also a good place for them to interact with other startups and investors,” Linh said and personally, CrowdPitch made her more confident, gave her great feedback from other entrepreneurs, and connected her with the community.

The 2nd CrowdPitch Vietnam 2019 is going to present on June, 26th 2019.

The CrowdPitch Vietnam is powered by Innovation Lab.

Opening Speech of Final round of Lead the Change 2018 competition

My honor guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is such a pleasure and honor for me to be here and mark the final round of Lead the Change 2018 competition.

As mentioned before, I dream of the Vietnamese young generation with good English and soft skill, great attitude and mindset. UEH Connected was founded with that dream and we have incubation programs and activities that attract not only the Vietnamese but also the foreigners.

Mr Cong-Thang HUYNH, Mr Rick Yvanovich, Mr Eddie Thai, Ms Nguyen Phi Van,Mr Mike Tran, Mr Gaku Echizenya, CG Kyle Nunas & CG Mary Tarnowka –
Lead the Change is the new way of leadership incubation which we used it as a tool to bring the youth abroad. We are proud to share that we brought 32 young Vietnamese to Singapore in July of this year for intensive training
Lead the Change 2018 competition is also a good tool for us to nurture talents with good ideas and potential; and equip them with training, mentorship, networks to open their mindset so that they can lead the change to drive Vietnamese economy.
We have 800 qualified applications this year from more 40 universities and organizations. If someone follows us from the beginning will recognize that it is the big transformative journey for the youth. They came to us with a big dream without necessary skill and right mindset. Through 8 intensive trainings and 8 mentoring sessions covering from business plan, finance to how to make the pitch deck and presentation. They are now totally different and stronger than they were before our competition. You can read hand writing feedback to feel what I meant.
And we can not do it alone without any support. We would like to express our thank you message to
  • Consul General of US Ms Mary Tarnowka  – our good friend
  • US Consulate General
  • Startup Campus from Korean Goverment (Ms Dorothy & Mr Collin),
  • KIMC (Mr Ted Kim),
  • Consulate of Italy,
  • ITP (Information Technology Park) under National University
  • University of Economics Ho Chi Minh city,
  • Arizona State University,
  • RMIT and
  • Ms Nguyen Phi Van – Founder & CEO Retail & Franchise Asia​
  • Mr Rick Yvanovich – Founder & CEO của TRG International​
  • Mr Kyle Nunas – Consul General of Canada
  • Ms Ngo Phuong Thao – Founder  Anbooks
  • Ms Thi Anh Dao – CEO Isobar Vietnam
  • Mr Eddie Thai – Partner 500 Startups​
  • Mr Gaku Echizenya – Chairman of Navigos Group
  • Mr Warren Eng – Leaders create Leaders
, many judges, mentors, trainers of 5 rounds and especially my Lead the change team who spent months for this project and making it happen with me. I know that my thank you message here is never enough for what you have contributed to this community and competition but history will remember you all. 😀
There’s an old African proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” But We can not be slow in this 4.0 industrial revolution, we have to go together further quickly.
Thank you for going together with us and making us stronger day after day.
Hope you will have a great day!!!
Thank you,