5 Vietnamese Startups To Watch This Year, According To Venture Capitalists | Vietcetera
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Jan 30, 2023

5 Vietnamese Startups To Watch This Year, According To Venture Capitalists

With thousands of existing and new local startups vying for funding, which ones can weather the funding winter and prove their exponential growth potential? 
5 Vietnamese Startups To Watch This Year, According To Venture Capitalists

Investors’ eyes are still on Vietnam’s rapidly expanding startup ecosystem.

Last year wasn’t so much of a good year for startups globally. The geopolitical tensions and volatile markets had investors holding off multimillion-dollar funding for emerging tech enterprises. Many venture capitalists warned 2023 would be more challenging.

“The era of easy money is already history,” Yinglan Tan, the founding managing partner at Singapore-based Insignia Ventures Partners, told CNBC in December. In Asia Pacific, startups recorded less than $110 billion in VC deals versus the $227 billion the year prior.

But this doesn’t mean there isn’t any money for startups anymore. This year is about investing in high-quality companies with clear visions and sustainable paths to profitability. Tan added that with the “flood of cash now swept away,” it’s now become clear which startups are ready for an increasingly challenging environment.

This year is about the survival of the fittest. Startups that have prepared themselves for the uncertainties would emerge strong and are sure to gain the trust and investment they need from venture capitalists.

And investors’ eyes are still on Vietnam’s rapidly expanding startup ecosystem. Considering the various successful funding in 2022, local tech enterprises have plenty of opportunities to make good lasting impressions. Investment capital in Vietnam is estimated to reach $5 billion during the 2023-2025 period, with 39 venture capital funds already pledging to invest $1.5 billion in local startups in December.

With thousands of existing and new local startups vying for funding, which ones have the actual ability to weather the funding winter and prove their exponential growth potential?

Some of the most active venture capitalists in Vietnam named five Vietnamese startups to watch in 2023 and why they deserve the attention.

MindX Technology School

Source: MindX Technology School

MindX Technology School is an online/offline education platform that prepares students for tech careers. It has grown to become the largest technology school in Vietnam, with 30 centers at the end of 2022.

Beacon Fund, a women-focused investment firm, is helping MindX boost its technology education capabilities to reach more underserved students. Looking at the big gap between the demand and supply of coding and digital skills in Vietnam, the Hanoi-based edtech startup offers technology subjects like programming, graphic design, and UI-UX design for all ages, from 9-year-old kids to students and working professionals.

“MindX’s goal is to put Vietnamese tech talent on the world map,” Shuyin Tang, co-founder of Beacon Fund, told Vietcetera. “It equips its students with practical skills and provides a pathway into top tech jobs while maintaining an affordable price point for its courses.”

“We were blown away by their amazing Net Promoter Score — evidence that they provide an experience and results that really ‘wow’ their customers.”

MindX was founded by Tung Nguyen and Ha Nguyen, who both had seen first-hand the power of technology education to change lives. They demonstrated resourcefulness and discipline during the pandemic as they quickly adapted to the mandatory closures of their centers due to social distancing and putting their foot back on the growth pedal in the second half of 2022.

“As a gender lens investor, we were impressed by their efforts to promote women and girls in tech. They have designed and implemented strategies to increase female enrolments in their courses and have also tried to change stereotypes that a tech career is only for boys/men,” added Shuyin.

M Village

Source: M Village Facebook Page

Founded in May 2021, M Village provides a next-generation housing solution for young professionals in Vietnam with high-quality living standards at affordable prices. The “co-living” setup is aimed at bringing like-minded people into a contemporary collective space and creating a thriving community.

Founder Nguyen Hai Ninh started the journey with the first property in a charming valley in District 3. Within a month, the property had been fully occupied by nearly a hundred residents, who are young professionals living in Saigon. The firm currently has 12 buildings.

Hoang Thi Kim Dung, an associate at Genesia Ventures, said that the startup has a “deep understanding of customer demand, innovation in creating supply, and excellent operation capabilities, proving its business model growing sustainably, with clear PMF (Product -Market- Fit), healthy unit economics, increasing customer stickiness, and achieving profitability along with scalability. This is something currently still hard to find out in the whole startup ecosystem in Vietnam.”

M Village competes with prominent names in the apartment renting sector. But it stands out “because it provides a diverse ecosystem of utilities from working, dining, healthcare, living space, communities, libraries, gardens, restaurants, cafes, and outdoor grills that are all connected by technology to deliver a superior living experience,” Dung further commented.


Source: Fundiin

As one of Vietnam’s leading buy-now, pay-later financial technology players, Fundiin provides the most friendly and flexible payment solution with no interest and no fee for consumers in the country.

The startup raised $5 million in funding from Genesia Ventures, Trihill Capital, and several other investors in October 2022, in addition to a couple of successful funding rounds in 2021.

“Last year, even under the difficult fundraising market overall, the company raised its series A with $5 million, convincing all existing and new investors and those doubting the potential of the BNPL market that the company had achieved its early Product Market Fit, and proved its business model and technology infrastructure being strong and ready for scale-up,” commented Genesia Ventures’ Dung.

Since it launched its BNPL service in mid-2020, the startup has helped its retail partners increase sales by up to 30%, as it allows consumers to pay post-payments free of charge at the point of sale. Fundiin now has more than 100 retail partners, from men's and women’s fashion to education services.


Source: SoBanHang

Founded by brothers Bui Hai Nam and Bui Hai Long, SoBanHang is helping bring micro-sized Vietnamese businesses into the digital era. The startup worked with family-owned small businesses during brutal COVID outbreaks, offering a new product for retailers to create online stores and manage orders.

Their hyper-local approach has allowed them to reach almost 20,000 merchants, many relatively newbies to the e-commerce industry, just months after it launched its services. It now serves over 400,000 small businesses.

By offering a combination of digital bookkeeping, mobile POS, and online storefronts, SoBanHang is solving the accounting, digital payments, and multi-channel management pain points for small businesses with typically less than five employees.

“SoBanHang’s mobile tools have led to hypergrowth within one year of launching and currently serve about half a million micro retailers,” said Olivier Raussin, co-founder and managing partner at Singapore-based FEBE Ventures.

“The team has set an ambitious target of building a business operating system for MSMEs, helping them to serve 100 million customers, and generating $100M in revenue by 2025.”

The platform is suitable for all industries, from retail to restaurants, and even hair salons, allowing small merchants to sell goods and services quickly and manage cash flow conveniently.


Source: Clevai

Clevai, named one of the ten emerging giants blazing the digital trail in Vietnam, is an online teaching platform founded when the world was grappling with the unexpected havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Led by experienced education entrepreneurs, Clevai Math has quickly become Vietnam's largest live math tutoring platform. The company offers 4.8-rated math classes to tens of thousands of K-12 students throughout Vietnam by combining dual-teacher live streaming with celebrity teachers, small-group synchronous tutoring sessions, and AI-enabled adaptive learning technology.

​​The system can analyze each student’s learning history, providing appropriate and personalized resources that equip students with “21st-century skills” such as critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, and self-study skills.

Within two years of launch, Clevai already serves tens of thousands of K-12 students, boasting a 300% year-on-year growth, and receives an average rating of 4.8/5 for its classes.

Early-stage venture capital fund FEBE Ventures has supported Clevai since its inception in 2020. It continues to be its main backer in achieving its vision of becoming the go-to platform for all types of after-school tutoring in Vietnam, offering high-quality instruction at affordable prices for the 14 million students in the market.

“The company has plans for expansion to Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Thailand, led by a management team who has previously built market-leading online education products in Vietnam and Thailand,” shared Olivier.