The Assembly Program: FEBE Ventures Connects Vietnam Founders With Tried-And-Tested Business Models
FEBE Ventures, an early-stage VC firm with headquarters in Singapore, has a soft spot for entrepreneurs. As a company founded by serial entrepreneurs (FEBE stands for For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs), it exclusively invests in startups with a “founders-friendly” cap table ensuring founders avoid excessive dilution at an early stage.
This understanding of founders’ pain points helps FEBE to build trust, solve problems and scale businesses quickly by sharing key learnings from the fund’s founders’ past successes and failures.
FEBE’s core expertise is in building and scaling companies in Vietnam and Southeast Asia as well as prior investing and operating experience in tech startups in Asia, Europe and South America. The company is sector and business model agnostic and is looking for startups that can scale exponentially and quickly dominate their market.
Why Vietnam and why now?
FEBE believes that Vietnam’s tech ecosystem is ripe for disruption and that timing for startup formation cannot be better, even in today’s uncertain times. According to FEBE, in the past two years, VCs in the Southeast Asia region have raised more than $4 billion, ready to be deployed to quality startups.
This belief informed FEBE’s decision to roll out the “Assembly” program connecting successful business models that are systematically proven in other emerging markets with outstanding Vietnamese founders from top networks searching for startup ideas. For now, the plan is to complete two assembly investments per year.
On the back of the program announcement, Vietcetera sits down with FEBE Ventures’ Co-founder and Managing Partner Olivier Raussin. Prior to joining FEBE, Olivier was General Partner at Project A Ventures. He also held executive roles at Google, YouTube, Microsoft and Yahoo!, in addition to a stint as a tech entrepreneur in Europe.
Tell us about some of the first founders participating in Assembly. Why partner with them and who are they?
We see “Assembly” as a white-glove approach for triple-A talents from top MBA, Consulting (BCG / McKinsey), top tech (Facebook, Google, Amazon) networks, CTOs and/or Industry experts. There is no batch or application deadline as this is rather an ongoing program. We welcome any Vietnamese talents who are looking to make the jump into entrepreneurship. So far, we’re in the early stage of working with two amazing individuals.
What’s the inspiration behind the word ‘Assembly’?
Assembly simply means matching top-notch founders with successful business models already proven in other emerging markets.
What areas do you see in Vietnam that are yet to be tapped into that you hope the Assembly can disrupt?
Earlier this year, our team has benchmarked and analyzed more than 1800 startups in Brazil, Indonesia, India and others large emerging markets and have shortlisted around 30 successful business models that are a high fit with Vietnam and Southeast Asia in various industries: fintech, healthtech, SaaS, mobility, real estate tech, insurance.
Our goal is to connect these promising ideas with talented people to hopefully inspire and support more startup formation!
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room. COVID, what are your prospects for the Vietnam market? How will it have an edge over other emerging markets given its performance in reigning in COVID?
We feel lucky to be in Vietnam, where government interventions have been largely successful. We are optimistic that Vietnam will be one of the first economies to begin the recovery phase.
We are living through a complex and critical situation, so we remain humble in our assessment of the situation and our advice to founders. Even if Vietnam has a big head-start in terms of recovery, our economy will still be impacted as we are in an open global economy with many interactions between markets.
Looking longer term, we remain confident of the digitalization of the Vietnam and Southeast Asian economies in the years to come. In fact, COVID has accelerated this trend.
Crisis often brings a change of habits and offers great opportunities for creative and flexible startups. Out of necessity, new startups will be born, providing new products and services to serve the new way of life: in daily consumption, work, advertising, communication, education, etc.
And for those that aren’t familiar with FEBE yet, what companies have you invested to date?
Since our launch in December 2019, we have invested in four startups and are closing two new deals in the next weeks in various categories like healtech, real estate, fintech, logistics, etc.
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