Back in December, Vietcetera wrote about the prospects of 2021 being a billion-dollar year for capital investment. It turns out that was an underestimation, with Vietnamese startups attracting around US$1.3 billion throughout the year.
It’s looking likely that 2022 could bring at least the same amount, as the country’s startup ecosystem keeps on flourishing, and is well on course to become the third most valuable in Southeast Asia.
Despite the range of industries in which the country’s startups operate, it’s worth noting that Fintech has been the big winner when it comes to receiving investment; Fintech startups accounted for a huge 70% of all investment in 2021, according to Expara’s Khiem Tran as reported in a recent Vietnam Insider article.
However, with the likes of consumer micro-investment company Finhay, VNPay, and the newly US$2 billion valued MoMo beginning to consolidate their position at the top of the market, it could be the case that investors both foreign and domestic will soon look for other avenues to sow their seeds.
Why Green Initiatives Could Be The Next Big Investment Frontier
According to early-stage startup investment fund ITI’s Fund Managing Director Ngo Dinh Dat, in an interview with Vietnam Investment Review, “The prominent startup trend in Vietnam is centered on business projects that contribute to community development and sustainability such as clean energy, recycling, reduced energy consumption, and jobs for the disadvantaged.”
This trend is in keeping with the government’s plan to become carbon neutral by 2050, as well as Vietnam’s emergence as a potential renewable energy hub, given its region-leading solar power capacity and strong offshore wind energy capabilities, which reached 600MW at the end of 2020.
Just as the success of Fintech startups is due in part to the government’s commitment to financial inclusion in Vietnam, with a plan to have 80% of the adult population formally ‘banked’ by 2025, it’s the dovetailing of national policy, corporate strategy, and grassroots entrepreneurialism that’s key.
The fact that four Vietnamese “Green-Tech” startups traveled to Germany for the AsiaBerlin summit in 2021 to present solutions and outline opportunities for growth within the industry further illustrates the importance of the grassroots movement – a budding cultural and civil shift that values environmental preservation.
5 Green Startups In Vietnam To Watch In 2022
Founded by Dang Xuan Truong, Hanoi-based smart agriculture company Hachi leverages IoT (Internet of Things) technology to provide solutions for urban agriculture and irrigation. The company provides a complete turnkey system that includes a membrane house, microclimate system, NFT hydroponic system, and a drip irrigation system. From a mobile app, farmers can easily monitor and control all their growing operations remotely. As well as their full construction service and counterpart app, Hachi’s product range also includes automated indoor plant growing robots, LED growing lights and watering timers.
As the name suggests, ITemVn also leverages IoT technology, with an aim to enable increased energy efficiency, and lower spending, in apartments, houses and commercial buildings. The company provides three main products: an energy monitoring system and counterpart app that allow customers to gain a better understanding of their energy spend; a Smart Control System which automates devices in the house to save electricity; and an Adaptive Gardening System, which operates similarly to Hachi’s offering but is targeted at households, allowing automatic and remote watering control.
Son Nguyen founded the Electric Motorcycle company Dat Bike in 2018 to offer a greener, cleaner motorbike to the Vietnamese public, and eventually have all gasoline-powered motorcycles in Southeast Asia replaced by electric ones.
As lofty an ambition as it is, it was given a great boost in April 2021 when Jungle Ventures led a US$2.6 million pre-Series A funding round. Dat Bikes models are made in Vietnam, almost entirely with repurposed and recycled parts. The company’s edge is the fact that their motorbikes don’t lack performance, aesthetics, or price when compared to the gasoline models.
PlasticPeople upcycles discarded plastic and transforms it into practical, aesthetically pleasing products. Part design company, part materials manufacture, part social and corporate awareness initiative, PlasticPeople sorts plastic waste into complementary classifications, before crushing it, melting it down and molding it into a building and design materials, without any further use of dyes or chemicals.
The company’s materials have been used in Marou chocolate's newly-launched “Marou Stations”, at Pizza 4Ps Cambodia, as well as Rice Studios Furniture.
The second electric vehicle manufacturer on this list, Hanoi-based Selex Motors has very recently raised US$2.1 million in seed funding to escalate its in-house productions, as reported by e27.
Selex has been around since 2018, and the fact that it has patents on certain technologies including battery packs and swapping systems may be what is drawing so much interest from potential investors. That the company is targeting the logistics sector in particular, with a heavy-duty delivery bike, is also interesting given the boom of last-mile delivery companies in Vietnam. Among Selex’s customers are Viettel Post as well as Lazada, both of whom have availed of electric delivery vehicles as well as batter swapping points for easier use.