Vietnam Startup Overview

A brief about Vietnam Startup Scene

Vietnam – a country of 100M citizen but if you search “list of startups in Vietnam” or similar key words/ phrase in Google or even Quora. You hardly find any accurate or sufficient resource for Vietnam startup scene. If there is, it is normally from overseas media. Why?

The start of Vietnam Startup Ecosystem

Startup in Vietnam has gone over 3 generations since 2000 (meaning I am in the 3rd gen). Actually, even I was surprised to learn this as I used to assume to exist only 2 gens. During the first 2 gens when people in the world kept an eye on America, what happened in Vietnam did not catch much attention from the world. This resulted in most contents were in paper media (of course there were online contents but not much) and we could not track it. Now when people change focus on Asia including Vietnam, which also caused the tremendous appearance of 7 startups in media focusing on tech & startup to cover the scene here within 1 year (Yes, in 2012!). Unfortunately, all of them are in Vietnamese and most of them serve local community’s needs. Hence, they race to catch up with latest news and trends in the world, not looking up in the past making a big gap in the view of foreigners about funding landscape. As Gwendolyn from SGEntrepreneurs said in a conversation with me in late Jan 2013: “Vietnam is still a Black Hole to many”.

Back from 6 months adventure in Singapore startup community last year, I came to realize that the community here needs a lot of exposure and appearance to outsiders. As I experience the same problem, I made a decision to start the mission of clearing the “Black Hole” and help overseas interested parties who are in the same situation

Another reason is that I want to give back to the community, the entrepreneurs who gave me opportunity to learn and to experience entrepreneurship. I hope the below slide can give you an overview of current startup scene in Vietnam.

 

How is the current Vietnam startup scence?

Up to this points, there are up to 500 startups including all 3 gens (Surprise!!) in Vietnam and I expect it to continue to increase. The startup community has started to boom since 2011 from the first StartupWeekend. From 1 event per 6 months in 2000 (kind of) to more than 2 events every week! One of important elements of startup ecosystem is co-working space and fortunately, there are the first 5 coworking space which are based in Ho Chi Minh and Ha Noi. Well, two is not enough, there must be more. Does anyone plan to invest in opening more co-working space here? I must say the current incubators are not effective enough to create meaningful impact.

What’s more? In 2012, there were a lot of visits from overseas media, incubator, investment funds, startups and university regarding E27, TechInAsia, JFDI, StartupLabs, Expara, Chartio, RackSpace, SoftLayer , Golden Gate Venture and Stanford University. Stay tune to learn more about Vietnam.

As a matter of fact, beta version is not perfect, therefore, I welcome all feedback and correction.

Thank you for your time and interest !

Have a successful and happy Chinese New Year !

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