A discussion at Startup Việt Summit on how to raise the value of Vietnamese startups in HCM City. VNS Photo Gia Lộc
HCM CITY— Việt Nam’s startup ecosystem could develop strongly over the next five years with venture capital and government assistance, Eddie Thái, general partner of the venture capital firm 500 Startups Vietnam, said at a Startup Việt Summit held yesterday in HCM City.
The startup ecosystem would grow like “a dense forest” from its “desert” origins in 2013 when venture capital was under US$50 million and the government offered little assistance, Thái said.
At that time, many foreign investors had yet to pay much attention to Vietnamese startups.
“The ecosystem’s sprout” started in 2016 with a boom in the consumption market, attracting foreign investment. Also, the government began to build a 'startup nation'," Thái said.
Venture capital for startups has increased to more than $500 million in the country, according to Thái.
By 2025, Việt Nam’s Internet economy could exceed $40 billion, leading to more startups in e-commerce, financial technologies and other fields.
The country could become a hub of innovation for the developing world, Thái said, adding that other fields could also be ripe for startups.
Lê Huỳnh Kim Ngân, founder and CEO of Twenty.vn, who is known as a tech startup community builder since 2010, said that Vietnamese startups should focus on rapid growth, a business market fit, and non-stop innovation to become unicorns - startups with value of more than one billion dollars.
Ngân has worked for 10 years with more than 1,000 startups and conducted research on many startups in Southeast Asia.
Unicorn startups often have a good founder who has a flexible mindset and is ready to change and adapt for investors, according to Ngân.
Timing is very important for startups, who should know when their product and business should be introduced in the market.
They also should take part in startup events in the region and the rest of the world to learn about markets.
Most startups in Việt Nam have two or three co-founders. Ngân said that the chief technology officer would be as important as the CEO.
Ngô Hoàng Gia Khánh, vice president of corporate development at e-commerce platform Tiki, said that startups should have good products and services, and pay attention to hiring talented staff.
Nguyễn Thành Nam, chairman of Endeavor Việt Nam, which is part of Endeavor Global’s network that mentors high-impact entrepreneurs, said that startups must develop their human resources and manage them effectively.
Nam said that he did not need to go abroad to learn about human resource management. Instead, he went to Bát Tràng Ceramics Village near Hà Nội, which has thousands of workers, to learn about good management at low costs. VNS