Vietnamese startups bag $889m in investments in 2018: Report

Fintech startups cornered the most funding last year, surpassing e-commerce and other sectors

Vietnam Photo by Georgios Domouchtsidis on Unsplash

Vietnamese startups cornered a record US$889 million in investment deal value in 2018, with fintech accounting for the largest chunk of the funding, according to the latest data by local accelerator Topica Founder Institute.

The total funding in 2018 was three times higher than the US$291 million reported in 2017, but the number of deals plateaued at 92. But even with similar deal counts, last year’s total value was much higher, buoyed by some mega-deals. The top 10 deals brought in US$734 million, or 83% of the total.

Based on the Topica data, fintech startups cornered the most funding last year, surpassing e-commerce and other sectors. Fintech saw 8 deals worth US$117 million, followed by e-commerce, which posted 5 deals worth approximately US$104 million in value. Travel-related startups took the 3rd spot with 8 deals worth US$64 million while logistics and edtech saw deals worth more than US$50 million.

Notable startup investments in Vietnam last year include Yeah1 Network, a youth-focused digital video firm that bagged an estimated US$100 million in its Pre-IPO round. Early this month, the firm acquired US-based digital talent agency ScaleLab for US$20 million.

Sendo, a Vietnamese e-commerce site that offers clothing, homeware, cosmetics, and tech accessories, among other things, raised US$51 million in its Series B funding round. Singapore-headquartered private equity firm Northstar Group’s US$50 million investment in Topica Edtech’s Series D round was also among the biggest in the country last year.

The Topica data also revealed that seven undisclosed deals combined received an estimated US$533 million in 2018.

2018 marked several milestones for Vietnam’s startup scene, including the IPO of a digital company – Yeah1’s debut on HOSE at above US$500 million valuation. Topica’s report also highlighted VNG, one of Vietnam’s oldest internet and gaming firm, saying that it was on track to be Vietnam’s first unicorn with a valuation at over US$1 billion. Other sources have said the company already hit this mark years ago.

Additionally, Vietnam saw a number of M&A deals. These included Grab’s acquisition of Moca, Sea’s purchase of Foody & Giaohangtietkiem, Batdongsan’s sale to PropertyGuru, Vntrip’s merger with Atadi, Scroll Corporation’s investment in Cat Dong JSV, and Yeah1’s acquisition of Netlink.

Last year also witnessed the debut of local venture funds with nearly US$500 million in their coffers. In addition, existing early stage VCs – 500VN, VIISA, and ESP – expanded last year, which means, according to the report, that there is currently no shortage of local startup capital.

KrASIA reported in December that Vietnam has become Asia’s hottest investment destination after attracting US$17 billion in FDI commitments in 2017 and US$13.48 billion as of August 2018.

Editor: Nadine Freischlad