In a country with over 98 million people, only 73.5 million (75%) use the internet for money transactions, and roughly 3.14 million invest in stocks (3.2%). While capital investing penetration remains relatively low, it is 3x higher than Indonesia with nearly 1% penetration. And the number is growing especially among millennials. In fact, approximately 500,000 trading accounts opened in the first five months of 2021, a 20% record jump from the full year 2020 number, according to the Vietnam Securities Depository.
The unprecedented surge in capital market participation results from a combination of factors prompted in part by the pandemic: increasing digital adoption during various stages of lockdowns, emerging interests in diversified asset portfolio to hedge against post-pandemic uncertainty, and a series of interest rates cut by the Central Bank which shied people away from term deposits to look for higher returns elsewhere.
Infina, Vietnam’s leading digital investment platform formerly known as RealStake, taps into a growing opportunity in the retail investing space in the country. To address the rising demand, Infina is building the ‘Robinhood of Vietnam’ to make investment accessible, easy, and engaging for the country’s middle and lower classes, as announced by Infina Founder and CEO James Vuong.
Launched in January 2021 by an engineer-turned-VC-turned-startup-founder with a track record in Silicon Valley and Vietnam, Infina comes with an easy-to-use user interface and in-app educational content. The “Robinhood of Vietnam” currently serves tens of thousands of users. Infina’s customers are primarily millennials aged 25 to 40 who would save or invest their disposable income on family planning, child education, early retirement, and so on.
Before Infina, the majority of Vietnamese previously let their money sit in risk-free checking accounts or freeze in long-term real estate. Yes, risk-free but frozen.
However, millennial investors are the braver ones, the risk-takers, and they are shifting toward higher-yield asset categories with smaller required investments. “As such, Infina allows users to make a contribution for as low as US$25 into a broad range of assets including savings, term deposits, mutual funds, and fractionalized real estate”, added James.
“Investing is no longer daunting and is now accessible to everyone”
Amid the pandemic, Infina has been faring well with assets under management rallying fourfold.
It is the latest to join the boom of investment apps across the region and recently just closed an oversubscribed $2M seed funding — which was made in two rounds that attracted the participation of some of Southeast Asia’s biggest investors like Saison Capital, Venturra Discovery, 1982 Ventures, 500 Startups, Nextrans, executives at Google and Netflix, and other global angel investors.
The fresh funding will be used to fuel the digital investment platform’s growth and expand product offerings. Although Infina is built with regional aspirations, it continues to focus on Vietnam as there are plenty of growth opportunities right here.
The investment app segment is attracting investors’ attention as democratizing investment shows the scalability of a previously constrained market segment of HNWIs and institutions. China’s Futu, India’s Groww, and Indonesia’s Ajaib and Stockbit have also seen more capital poured into their businesses recently.
Seeing the massive potential of Infina, Saison Capital, a Tokyo-listed $30B AUM consumer finance company and one of the largest credit card issuers in Japan, is one of those that paved the way for Vietnam’s Robinhood app.
“Retail investing in Vietnam is at an inflection point and we have seen multiple other emerging markets reach this break-out point. With an experienced team that is passionate about financial literacy and education, Infina is well-positioned to ride this wave of growth,” said Chris Sirise, Partner of Saison Capital.
With its focus on internet companies that are ready to expand internationally, Venturra Discovery believes Infina can deliver the solution to make investing a little less intimidating, especially to the younger generations.
“We live in a world where retail investors’ participation in the capital market is the highest in history. Despite that, this segment is largely underserved in emerging markets including Vietnam. Led by industry veterans, Infina is devoted to offering a sorely needed solution where investing is no longer daunting and is now accessible to everyone,” said Raditya Pramana, Partner of Venturra Discovery.
1982 Ventures, the leading seed fund investing in fintech startups in Southeast Asia, trusts the dedication and experience Infina is offering to its users.
“Vietnam is the most promising market in Southeast Asia for the next wave of retail investing. Infina is at the forefront of the retail investing revolution in Vietnam and has quickly become the most trusted brand with millennial investors. Their commitment and experience building online communities is the key differentiator that makes Infina special,” said Herston Powers, Managing Partner of 1982 Ventures.
Infina’s financial partners include some of the country’s largest fund managers, including Dragon Capital, ACB Capital, Mirae Asset Fund Management, and Viet Capital Asset Management.