How do startups measure success? Many new founders believe “having a positive impact on the world” is the right answer. Those who’ve been around for a little longer would say, “high retention rate, low customer acquisition cost, and high monthly recurring revenue.” They’re all correct.
But before all growth and success metrics can be measured, a startup needs financial capital to begin operations or sell products. The funding could come from the founder’s pocket, but more often than not, a significant part of the capital is poured by venture capitalists and angel investors. Raising capital usually means the difference between success and failure.
In a previous article, Vietcetera discussed startup funding as an obligation rather than an accomplishment. With the multi-million dollar investment coming from other entities, a startup’s responsibility widens — the bigger the money invested, the more stakeholders, the greater the pressure.
However, considering all the challenges and sleepless nights startup founders go through to prepare their pitches, getting that most coveted “yes” (and, of course, the check) from investors is always worth celebrating. Securing funding deals isn’t just about the amount that goes to new product launches or hiring talents; it is about gaining the trust of venture capital firms and angel investors who have seen a startup’s growth potential and the founder’s determination to create disruptive change.
As the year 2022 comes to an end, we highlight some of the biggest startup funding deals in Vietnam that further established the country as a regional leader in innovation and entrepreneurship.
The spyware attack against Vietnam-based blockchain gaming startup Sky Mavis in March didn’t just prove its resilience; it also reaffirmed the trust venture capitalists have in the startup. Just a week after the $620-million hack — the biggest hack in crypto history — Sky Mavis raised $150 million to restore its funds and build a more secure and sustainable global gaming ecosystem.
With the funding led by Binance, with the participation of Animoca Brands, a16z, Dialectic, Paradigm, and Accel, and funds from Sky Mavis’ balance sheet, all affected users have already been reimbursed in June. The firm has now implemented rigorous internal security measures to prevent future attacks.
Amidst the challenges, the gaming startup remains in a good position and continues to lead the fledgling crypto-gaming ecosystem. The company has made incredible milestones throughout the year, including a series of new features and products for its NFT breakout title Axie Infinity. It’s also collaborating with Binance NFT on exclusive projects.
The coming year will be an exciting time for fans of all Sky Mavis games as the firm shifts its focus from “play to earn” to “play to own,” highlighting entertainment and fun as the real value of the games they create.
Trusting Social, a Singapore- and Vietnam-based fintech startup, raised $65 million in a series C funding round from Sherpa Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Masan Group. Masan now holds a 25% stake in the company after the investment.
The strategic collaboration between Trusting Social and Masan intends to develop an AI-powered consumer tech platform that will offer customized retail and consumer financial products to serve 27 million families in Vietnam.
The investment also broadens Trusting Social’s platform from credit access to consumer life solutions. It now provides personalized fintech solutions for Masan’s consumers, including retail store selection, demand and supply planning, product assortment and development.
Trusting Social is an AI fintech company aspiring to democratize financial services through AI-based consumer insights and embedded finance. Trusting Social drives financial inclusion by providing credit insights covering over a billion consumers to over 170 financial institutions across Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and the Philippines.
The startup was granted $25 million through its seed and series A rounds in 2019 and another $19 million in series B round in 2020.
E-commerce enabler OnPoint bagged $50 million Series B funding in June, led by SeaTown Holdings, an indirect subsidiary of Temasek Holdings. Onpoint is considered one of the pioneers in building Southeast Asia’s e-commerce ecosystem with its customer-centric solutions and continuous technological development to unlock the most ROI-effective solutions for its clients.
The company is using the fresh capital to expand its e-commerce enabling ecosystem, strengthen talent and capabilities, and develop emerging technologies with a data-driven approach.
Founded in 2017 by Tran Vu Quang, OnPoint provides a one-stop solution that enables consumer brands to accelerate their online growth on multiple channels, including e-commerce marketplaces, social media platforms, and brand-owned websites.
The startup focuses on developing proprietary technologies to integrate and coordinate a network of service partners, utilizing data and automating processes to streamline their operations.
Finhay, Vietnam’s leading digital investment platform, raised $25 million in June in a Series B round co-led by Openspace Ventures and Vietnam Investment Group.
A clear frontrunner in Vietnam’s booming investment space, Finhay has also fortified its position by the acquisition of securities brokerage Vina Securities. With this new milestone, Finhay is now the first and, so far, the only licensed digital investment platform in the country. Its acquisition of Vina Securities enables the platform to expand its ecosystem of investment products further.
Finhay was founded in 2017 by Huy Nghiem to provide Vietnamese consumers with easy and convenient digital access to financial services. Starting with fund certificates as its sole product when it began, Finhay has now broadened its scope and aimed to be a holistic financial platform for its users.
With fintech drawing attention from both supporters and skeptics — considering the security risks for users’ assets — Finhay has gained the trust of its users by highlighting user-investor transparency.
“Working with partners with good assets, being upfront with clients, and disclosing facts is always the best step to maintaining confidence,” said Huy at the Industry Insights Session hosted by Vietcetera in November.
“Investment involves risk; it doesn’t guarantee a future return. So it’s important to be transparent and disclose in advance. As long as the user-investor understands this and they are happy to use the platform, you better connect with them. That’s what we’ve been doing since the first day.”
Timo’s $20 million funding in the first week of January signaled an excellent year for Vietnamese startups. The investment round was led by Square Peg, with the participation of Jungle Ventures, Granite Oak, FinAccel, existing investor Phoenix Holdings, and other angel investors.
As Vietnam’s first digital bank, Timo — which stands for Time and Money — has steadily evolved to become the country’s leader in digital banking. It partnered with Viet Capital Bank in 2019 to provide a private banking experience for Vietnamese without the hassle of maintaining a huge balance.
Understanding the advantages of digital channels and the importance of smartphones in today’s world, Timo is about “banking-on-the-go,” allowing customers to manage, grow and access their funds anywhere, anytime.
Jio Health, a provider of human-centered and technology-powered healthcare in Vietnam, raised $20M in March after completing the Series B round led by Heritas Capital, a Singapore-based healthcare investor. Other investors include Thailand’s Fuchsia Ventures and Kasikorn Bank Group and existing investor Monk’s Hill Ventures.
The success of this fundraiser has allowed Jio Health to achieve aggressive growth with plans to expand its Smart Clinics and omnichannel ecosystem across Vietnam, its primary market, and eventually pave the way for expansion into regional markets in the coming years.
Jio Health founder and CEO Raghu Rai said they plan to boldly invest in expanding their geographic footprint across the country.
The health tech startup provides on-demand access to healthcare services such as primary care, chronic disease management, pediatrics, and ancillary care services. Because Jio Health has a vertically integrated consumer healthcare value chain, it can provide quality, affordable care wherever consumers are. Their 300+ care providers, engineers, and operators currently operate an online healthcare app and a physical facility in Saigon.
English teaching platform Edupia completed a series A funding round with $14 million in September, a nod to the continuous growth of edtech startups post-pandemic. The fresh capital from Jungle Ventures, Alibaba-backed eWTP Capital, and ThinkZone Ventures brought the total capital raised by the startup to $16 million since its inception in 2018.
With over 5 million users, as the company claims, Edupia aims to bridge the big education gap among students between big cities and lower-tier metropolises, where 90% of Edupia users are from. The startup provides an easy and accessible English-learning platform that “eliminates language-based inequalities” for students from under six to secondary levels.
“Language should not be a barrier to opportunity and access,” startup founder Tran Duc Hung told Deal Street Asia. “We aim to contribute to the English skills of the 20 million K12 students in the country.”
With the support of Jungle Ventures, one of the venture capital firms actively supporting Vietnamese startups, Edupia plans to invest more in new technology features and solutions for its platform, hire key positions and expand to regional markets like Thailand and Indonesia.