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Vietnamese e-wallet MoMo picks up local AI startup in first acquisition deal

Written by Tech in Asia Published on   2 mins read

The acquisition was made through MoMo Innovation Ventures, which was launched this year.

Vietnam’s top payment startup MoMo has made its first acquisition with the purchase of local AI startup Pique in a push to better capitalize the data of its 25 million registered users.

The company, which is backed by global investors such as Warburg Pincus and Goodwater Capital, announced that the transaction was done through its new fund, MoMo Innovation Ventures. The fund was launched when MoMo completed its series D round earlier this year.

In a statement, MoMo said it has bought all of Pique’s intellectual property and hired its data science and engineering team, including Trinh Xuan Tuan, the AI startup’s founder.

Established in 2016, Pique was formerly known as Next Smartly. It develops AI-enabled recommendation services for businesses that do not have the resources of Amazon or Netflix to do so. In 2017, Trinh co-authored this paper detailing how his solution generates real-time recommendations even when a platform doesn’t capture enough data on past transactions.

Prior to being acquired by MoMo, Pique worked with clients seeking to increase the number of visitors searching for their products and to boost the purchase rate and order value via appropriate product recommendations.

Pique previously raised funds from 500 Startups Vietnam and South Korea’s GS Shop, as well as angel investors including Tina Ju, who was an early backer of Alibaba and Baidu in China.

The acquisition is expected to help MoMo better personalize its products and services based on each user’s needs.

According to Tech in Asia data, MoMo has raised about USD 232.7 million to date. The company is facing intense competition at home as Vietnam has become a fintech battleground for regional competitors that want a slice of the country’s booming digital economy.

MoMo was founded in 2007 by a group of Vietnamese entrepreneurs. The company, which is known to follow the Alipay model, has been looking to move beyond the pure-play digital wallet business model to eventually turn profitable.

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This article was originally published by Tech in Asia.


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