#Asia Ecosystem Snapshot: Insights into Vietnam from 6 thought-leaders


Echelon Asia Summit 2016 was a minefield of learnings. We trawl through the best takeaways for you, kicking off the first of our series with a nod to our delegates from Vietnam!

1. On Government support and interest

PHAM HONG QUAT, Director of NATEC – Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam

Pham hails from NATEC, an agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology that supports the development of the ecosystem for entrepreneurship and startups.

There are initial efforts from the government to boost the development of the startup community, as the country is seeking to become a startup nation.

“Last month the Prime Minister issued one National programme to support startups and the ecosystem. It’s a big change in the laws and policies to encourage investors, accelerators and startups. Many things will change in the next [few] years”, says Pham.

Pham and his team also organised TechFest 2015 with over 1000 participants and 100 startups.

Also Read:Vietnam’s Moonwalkers remind us why we got into startups in the first place

2. On getting the foundations for growth right

LANA DUONG, Senior Associate – NSI Ventures

Aside from Singapore and Indonesia, NSI Ventures counts Vietnam as one of its focal markets, with much potential and interest not only from the regional, but also international investors that have begun setting their sights on Vietnam’s startup scene. Lana also believes that Vietnam has a strong tech talent pool.

“I think this is the most fundamental foundation for any of the tech startups to success because the education for IT and Engineering has always been a very strong focus and in favour among the Vietnamese people,” says Lana.

Duong recognises the wave of “western-educated” Vietnamese returning their country – bringing with them a broadened understanding of and experiecne wtih international markets such as the US and UK.

“People in Vietnam are very hungry for development and success,” Lana adds.

Also Read: Here’s why this Swede thinks Vietnam has the tech talent Scandinavia needs

3. On the country’s resilience and potential

SAIKIT NG, Executive Director – Captii Ventures

Saikit is from Captii Ventures. For the past 12-30 months, almost half of Captii’s investments have been directed towards Vietnam.

Saikit believes that fundamentally, Vietnam has really gone through a good long cycle of 20 years of economic growth, and is now just beginning to finding its way back from the 2013 downturn.

“Where we are right now, is basically for us the beginning of a really exciting growth period where the international attention is there. All elements are pointing to just one directions which is what investors are looking at, the X or the multiples”, says Saikit.

4. On youth being the next generation of changemakers

SHUYIN TANG, Principal – Unitus Impact

With a dual mission of improving the livelihoods of the working poor in generating strong financial returns for investors, Unitus Impact manages a 45 million dollar fund focused on Southeast Asia, and Vietnam is one of the big focus areas.

“There’s a lot of interest, everyone wants to be an entrepreneur, college graduates and people returning to Vietnam from overseas. it’s kind of a hot trend, there’s a lot of real activity in the ecosystem, there’s a lot of great business being built.” says Shuyin.

Shuyin sees the hype and creation of value coming from different levels. The Ministry of Science and Technology gives its full support and a big push on startups and entrepreneurship to really drive the next wave of Vietnamese growth.

Also Read: Major edtech players make a move: EasyUni expands into Vietnam

5. On the importance of community support


From one of the 2nd generation startups in Vietnam, Quang’s team has grown from 12 to 250 employees. With the actual experience of the startup evolution, Quang believes that Appota has come a long way.

“We have to work hard from the beginning we focus on what we are trying to do, we pass and fail and try another one but in the final, we focus on what we’re good at”, Quang advised.

Recently Quang notices that the Government is trying to support in pushing for the startup growth by creating different programmes.

“I think it is easier for us than compared to last 2008 to 2011. Now the startups have more information, more network and mental people who in the industry are willing to support them and there’s an amount of capital around from the government”, Quang adds.

6. On Vietnam still being a ‘teenager’ needing guidance

ANH-MINH DO, Director of Communications, Vertex Ventures

Anh-Minh is one of those people who have seen and experienced the major changes in Vietnam.

Vietnam is the kind of place that grows stable, he sees a lot companies that raise 30 million dollars. These other companies seems to be that it’s big but it’s actually just a result of a steady flow that has been going in Vietnam for a long time, so to him it’s just kind of a consistent growth, you don’t have a big explosion because it’s almost restricted by the forces that be.

“There has been a big shift but I would say now that Vietnam is much more like a teenager, not an adult yet. Maybe Singapore is like a young adult, too much money but doesn’t know what to do with it. Vietnam on the other hand is like a teenager, its got allowance but doesn’t have enough money so it doesn’t know what to do at all, it’s still finding itself”, says Anh-Minh

There are big changes in the country that have been unexpected. There’s a very strong solid local and also a globally minded market at the same time so it’s an interesting dynamic for Anh-Minh that he wasn’t able to see.

“Vietnam has that base that has been around for a very long time which is why when you look around at these Vietnamese companies like some of them that are here they are very strong technologically, and when you look across other countries maybe they are not that strong technologically. That’s why you see a very strong gaming market. So I think it’s not fair to say that there’s nothing but definitely, there’s much more on the ecosystem, there’s much more of a community level ecosystem”, Anh-Minh adds.

Echelon returns to Vietnam this September. This is your chance to hear from even more industry leaders and learn more about the next generation of tech pioneers from Asia’s next dragon. Find out more about how you can get involved at http://ift.tt/2a0mbDr

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