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Vietnam Global Innovation (VGI), powered by Quest Ventures, concluded its extensive three-month program last week. Focused on providing Singaporean startups an accelerated entry into Vietnam, VGI has pushed through the challenges brought on by COVID-19 to provide its 12 participants with knowledge and insights for their next stage of growth.
Vietnam has had a GDP growth rate above 5% for the last ten years and with a population predominately made up of those aged under 35, the local market presents opportunities for Singaporean startups to venture into. The 12 startups have learned many valuable lessons about the local business ecosystem, infrastructure, and cultural differences that will no doubt be extremely useful over the next few months.
Below are the startups that participated:
KewMann is a B2B big data and artificial intelligence (AI) company that combines elements of ‘prediction’ (big data and AI) and ‘influence’ (behavioral science) to make better predictions with higher accuracy and influence customers’ behaviors. With offices in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, Kewmann has a growing list of clients around Asia including Mastercard Asia Pacific, NTUC Income, and CyberSecurity Malaysia.
With expansion experience under his belt, KewMann’s Executive Director and founder Yoke Ling Kew is bullish on Vietnam. “Vietnam is a high growth country now and we believe that it is going to be so for the next 10 years. It is like entering China 20 years ago. Our technologies are likely to be well suited for the large organizations in Vietnam, to help these organizations in capturing the growth. Thus, KewMann matches the trends with our capabilities and needs of the Vietnam market.”
JoyTu.be is an interactive platform that allows videos to provide relevant information to customers and also includes user engagement features such as commenting, bookmarking, sharing and purchasing from within the videos. This increases the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, shorten their sales process and gives consumers a far more engaging overall experience. Founder and Director Dr. Tony Nguyen, when asked what drew joyTu.be to Vietnam, commented, “The biggest attractions are Vietnam’s smart nation & digital transformation investments from business & government sectors. Both sectors need to understand & engage with their customers/stakeholders, increase their efficiencies, and cut costs. Our smart, interactive video solutions can help them in these aspects.”
Hiverlab specializes in virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, as well as data visualization and system integration, to advance communication experiences, enable digital transformation, and redefine human interaction. They have built an impressive portfolio of work with companies such as SMU, OCBC amd DBS. One of the biggest takeaways from VGI according to Hiverlab’s team was learning that “Vietnam is a dynamic country with lots of opportunities and talents. The Vietnamese government is also very welcoming and supportive of foreign startups. These two factors make Vietnam a very attractive market for us.”
EyRIS’s product SELENA+, is an automated system that uses a deep learning system for the early detection of eye diseases including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and age-related macular degeneration. The company was recently awarded a five-year contract for the deployment of SELENA+ in Singapore’s National Screening program for Diabetic Retinopathy. Over the next few months, VP for Business Development Steven Ang shared that they intend on using the momentum gained at VGI to work extensively within Vietnam. “Our partner in Vietnam will be actively increasing the existing pool of customers. In addition, we are actively engaged in providing education to healthcare professionals to adopt our technology. There is a lot of potential for growth in the awareness of the disease among the public. We will be working with local groups to increase the knowledge,” Ang explained.
ProfilePrint offers a food ingredient analysis platform powered by non-destructive AI food fingerprinting technology, which allows for the rapid authentication and prediction of characteristics such as taste profiles. This empowers businesses to better match, source, and sell food ingredients online. ProfilePrint addresses the lack of a common practical ingredient standard and heavy reliance on human judgment which results in billions of man-hours and dollars lost per year. ProfilePrint’s founder and Executive Director Alan Lai has learned many valuable insights about Vietnam with one of the key points being “the need to work closely with the local government as well as businesses concurrently to achieve mutual consensus as Vietnamese have strong collective community spirit, hence solutions would need to be beneficial for the different stakeholders instead of for only one party.”
RushOwl is focused on providing smart mobility services for workers’ commutes. The company’s smart buspooling allows for more efficient and cheaper commuting options for users. The firm already runs a number of routes in Singapore and wants to further expand the reach of its services. Rushowl chief executive officer (CEO) Shin Ng is very excited about the prospects of the Vietnamese market. He explained, “There are many ongoing development areas that seek to be linked up to HCMC, where our on-demand shuttle service could help to set up a digitalized transport infrastructure.” He also added that the biggest insight gained is that “the Vietnam market is growing extremely fast, which also calls for strict regulation measures to cope with a rapid digitalization pace. Thus, especially for the transportation industry, it is an area that will require long checks and test processes before any land transport projects can effectively kick-off.”
Soqqle’s mobile app helps teachers create video assignments to increase their engagement with students. Combining elements of social media and gamification, the app aims to increase critical thinking, reflection, and collaboration amongst peers. Soqqle is already available in multiple schools in Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, with Vietnam the next logical expansion destination according to founder Daniel Shen. “As Soqqle is a social learning mobile application, the rate of social media adoption and internet penetration in Vietnam makes it a viable location for users to benefit from this new learning methodology,” Shen explained.
Lumiere32 is a business-to-business (B2B) online platform for the procurement of medical and dental supplies through its marketplace connecting manufacturers, dealers, and clinicians. The effective consolidation of the medical product supply chain on one platform has proved to be popular. Founded in 2016, Lumierie32 has grown to the point where they can now look at expansion into areas such as Vietnam, which has “Growing healthcare expenditure and a good number of medical device and pharma manufacturers,” according to Lumiere32 co-founder and CEO Raman Chauhan. Chauhan also wants to add a country manager to its growing team and connect more suppliers and sellers to the platform over the next few months.
DDIY is a trusted home concierge subscription platform that combines technology with personal managers to provide and manage a suite of in-home services as well as deliver retail products and experiences right into users’ homes. From grocery shopping and housekeeping to party planning and pet care, DDIY completes weekly to-dos so that its members spend more time living life.
Founder Jeanette Wu plans on expanding into Vietnam and using Ho Chi Minh as their base. “We would then source and partner with trusted and reliable vendors for the respective service verticals such that we build a strong trusted ecosystem for our resident members in Vietnam. We would also be working closely with our building partners with a mission to elevate the residential living experience and drive property performance,” said Wu.
InsureVite is specifically designed for insurance companies to connect with millennials and digital natives using a cloud-based virtual bot assistant combined with process automation solutions. It integrates popular texting apps with insurers’ existing systems to provide real-time insurance information. It’s target customers are legacy insurers, and they help them generate revenue by providing direct access to younger customers while reducing their operational costs by automating processes.
The Singapore-based company provides long-ranged fixed point ultra-fast wireless infrastructure products to be used in Smart City infrastructure and AI applications. CLOP Technologies uses a 60Ghz solution to provide opportunities for businesses to do high-speed data transfer across the air and provides flexible deployment of solutions without expensive fiber cables in the last mile set up.
Gorilla Networks is a next-generation mobile-finance telco that provides affordable seamless mobile connectivity and mobile finance solutions using distributed ledger technology and blockchain. Gorilla is the first mobile network operator in the world that presents a unique fintech-telecom value proposition in the imminent dawn of 5G and transformative growth of the mobile money industry.