KrASIA Startups is a community focused on connecting the Southeast Asia ecosystem and creating new relationships across the region. It provides a dynamic platform for startups to have a voice and share their valuable insights to the wider community. If you would like to share your experiences or find out more, please contact [email protected]
Earlier this year, Grab and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) partnered to launch the Grab Ventures Ignite (GVI) for Singapore-based startups that are interested to venture into Vietnam.
“At IMDA, we are always looking for ways to create new business opportunities for our local tech companies,” said Howie Lau, chief industry development officer at IMDA. “We are excited for this partnership, which will allow Singapore-based startups to gain a foothold in Vietnam.”
Across 14-weeks, two Singapore-based startups were given high quality training and mentorship to prepare them to launch in the Vietnamese market. The program featured expert workshops, one-on-one mentorship from senior Grab leaders, as well as peer learning and networking with access to co-working space and other equipment and facilities at PIXEL.
It was run in parallel with the GVI Vietnam program which allowed the Singaporean startups to gain a better understanding of Vietnam’s culture and business context, as well as build strategic and ecosystem connections with Vietnamese investors and corporate partners. The two startups pitched during the penultimate demo day, in the presence of prominent investors from across the region.
Bossjob, one of the participating companies, is a platform that aims to provide traditional recruitment services in a digital solution with a vast selection of pre-screened and qualified talent. One of the takeaways from the program was to realize the “huge pool of skilled and young talent that Vietnam has compared to neighboring markets in the region, and yet it remains relatively untapped due to language barrier,” said co-founder Quak Kiat How. “We see this as a huge opportunity for Bossjob.”
The company is looking to continue conversations with the connections they have made through the GVI program for potential collaborations while waiting for travel restrictions to be lifted. “We still believe that the best way to understand a market is to be there in person and be immersed with the local culture,” Quak added.
The other participating startup, Accredify, helps organizations create documents that are tamper-proof and verifiable, such as academic credentials and medical records. For founder and CEO Zheng Wei Quah, the program fits perfectly for their plans. “Entering Vietnam was one of our goals in 2020. The GVI program provides us with a launch pad for market entry and equips us with the essential tools to get started,” he said.
It’s difficult to navigate in a new market without prior experience and knowledge, Quah added, and recommended getting a head start with programs such as Grab Ventures Ignite or other local accelerator programs to get the right connections and mentors.
Grab Ventures Ignite is the second startup program after Grab Ventures Velocity (GVV). Both programs aim to foster startup development and the ecosystem in Singapore and the region.
“Grab is committed to help more Singapore startups and micro SMEs build strong digital capabilities, and capture opportunities in the digital economy through leveraging our expansive reach across the region, assets and capabilities and partnerships,” said Chris Yeo, Head of Grab Ventures. “The effort is also aligned to Singapore’s interest to become the global-Asian node for tech, innovation and enterprise. Grab Ventures Velocity and Grab Ventures Ignite are testament of our efforts to drive this agenda forward.”