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Vietnam Innovators, Vietcetera Media’s weekly business podcast, is stepping up to a whole new level with the launch of the ‘Vietnam Innovators Fund.’
The investment fund will seek to support exclusively Vietnamese startups at seed and Series A funding rounds. The fund is backed by podcast host and Vietcetera CEO Hao Tran, digital media network Vietcetera, and German entrepreneur and investor Horst Geicke.
The Vietnam Innovators Fund’s goal is to address the underserved needs of startups in Vietnam, specifically by helping to create meaningful partnership ecosystems, by providing storytelling know-how, and supporting with annual live event series activations such as the Vietnam Innovators Summit.
With the startup scene expanding and pushing Vietnam’s regional economic standing, the need for a venture capital fund that shares localized support to a new generation of business leaders is higher than ever. The fund will serve and invest only in Vietnam-based startups. “Our unique focus will allow us to build long-term foundations for our portfolio companies while allowing our partners to enjoy unique ecosystem advantages in the market.”
Horst has over 25 years of operating and investing experience in Vietnam and China. He sits as the general partner for the Vietnam Innovators Fund.
The German-born investor is also the founder of VinaCapital and presently the co-investor and chairman of the Deutsches Haus in Ho Chi Minh City. In addition, Horst was one of the first to invest in Vietnam’s first unicorn, VNG Corporation.
“I’m excited by the potential of the next generation of startups in Vietnam. I’ve always been a believer and an early investor in the country,” Horst told Vietcetera. “I want to be able to pave the way for a few of them through this new initiative.”
“Additionally, Vietcetera and the Vietnam Innovators platforms serve as high leverage brand names to support scale in reputation and growth.”
While most deal flow in Vietnam is mostly centered on ‘insiders’ for first checks, Hao believes that through Vietcetera’s platform and content “we can be Vietnam’s top-of-mind startup and innovation hub and to involve other investors and partners into Vietnam’s highest potential companies.”
“I am thrilled to get things going,” the Vietcetera CEO added. “This is a massive opportunity not just for us at Vietcetera but for the Vietnamese startup ecosystem as a whole. We have exciting online and offline programs lined up in the coming months to activate the potential of Vietnamese startups.”
Kicking off the fund, the team is starting by investing in Vietnam-based audiobook and audio content app Fonos. Fonos has partnered with the largest local and international publishers across all genres.
Two other deals have been made, but have not yet been disclosed.
Typical deal sizes will range from a minimum of $100,000 to $250,000 into 5-10 startups annually. The fund plans to renew annually as it deploys funds into startups. The fund intends to be sector agnostic, though has a strong interest in new media technologies, fintech, and generally B2C companies.
The fund intends to expand in 2023 to include other limited partners.
Later this year, the live event series Vietnam Innovators Summit will take place, completing the three-part ecosystem of Vietcetera’s Vietnam Innovators brand - the other two being the Vietnam Innovators podcast and the newly announced fund.
As one of Vietnam’s top-rated podcasts, Vietnam Innovators has become a platform for business leaders in Vietnam to share their insights and perspectives on innovation, digital transformation, and Vietnam’s economic development. Launched in October 2020, the podcast has so far produced two seasons and is currently on its third, releasing more than 100 episodes.
Both the English and Vietnamese versions of the podcast show have featured guests from brand names such as the CEO of HSBC Vietnam, the Managing Partner of McKinsey Vietnam, the Country Managers of Gojek, Mastercard, Sanofi, Meta, and more. On the startup side, guests from the most exciting startups in Vietnam have been featured on the show such as Sky Mavis, Kilo, Anfin, Infina, Fonos, and Katalon.